Canker Sores Information

What are Canker Sores?

A common problem, canker sores are oral lesions or breaks in the tissue inside the mouth or upper throat. They can make it hard or painful to eat and speak. Unlike cold sores, which, in most cases, appear on the face outside of the mouth (also sometimes called fever blisters), canker sores are not caused by a virus and can’t be passed to others.

The two main types are called “simple” and “complex.” Simple canker sores most often appear in teens and those in their twenties. The sores may show up a few times a year, and they can last for a week or so. Complex canker sores come back more often, though fewer people have this type.

What causes Canker Sores?

No one knows just what causes many canker sores to appear. Yet there are ideas about what may lead to them. Common suspects include trauma or tissue injury from a rough tooth surface or dental appliance.

Emotional stress, eating acidic foods, not getting the right amount of sleep, sudden loss of weight, allergies or deficiencies in diet, and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are also among the suspected causes of canker sores.

What are the symptoms of Canker Sores?

Common canker sore symptoms include:

  • There may be a burning or tingling sensation before a canker sore appears
  • When the sore or sores do appear, they are inside the mouth on the tongue, on the cheeks, or on the roof of the mouth near the back (the soft palate)
  • The sores are round and appear white or gray with a reddish boundary
  • In severe cases, symptoms may include swollen lymph nodes, a temperature, and feeling tired or sluggish

To learn more, talk to your dentist or doctor.