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Canker Sores

What is a Canker Sore?

A canker sore is an open sore in the mouth. They can occur on your tongue, on your soft palate, inside your cheeks or lips, and at the base of your gums.

Canker sores are very common and can occur at any age. Canker sores are also called aphthous ulcers.

Symptoms of a Canker Sore

The most common symptoms of a canker sore are:

  • Painful sore or sores inside your mouth
  • Tingling or burning sensation prior to appearance of the sores
  • Round, whitish appearance to sores, with a red edge or halo

What does a Canker Sore Look Like?

A canker sore looks like a shallow ulcer with a white or whitish/yellow base surrounded by a reddish border. Canker sores are very common.

A canker sore is also called an aphthous ulcer. Canker sores can occur at any age.

Difference between a Canker Sore and a Cold Sore

Canker sores occur in the soft tissues of your mouth and aren't contagious. Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus, are very contagious and occur on the outside of your mouth.

What Causes Canker Sores?

The exact cause of canker sores is unknown.

Can Canker Sores be Treated?

Usually, treatment is not necessary. Pain should decrease after several days, and canker sores usually heal within one to three weeks. A severe canker sore can be larger than 1 centimeter in diameter or last longer than two weeks.


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