I always know when the seasons are changing because I am inevitably infected with canker sores. Canker sores are these painful ulcers on the inside of the mouth; I have always had these and if history is any guide, I always will have these. An infection of canker sore on the inside of my mouth will pop up around 4 times a year. But what are canker sores? Are canker sores the same as cold sores? How are canker sores spread? How are canker sores treated?
What are canker sores: Because of their similar traits, many times canker sores and cold sores or fever blisters are confused. As WebMD (1) reminds us, cold sores and canker sores are not the same thing. “Cold sores….are groups of painful, fluid filled blisters.” Another identifying characteristic is how the two are transmitted. Cold sores also usually appear outside of the mouth “…usually, under the nose, around the lips, or under the chin while canker sores occur inside the mouth.” I have never had an external blister; my canker sores are always inside my mouth; typically along the inside bottom lip. Sometimes my canker sores are all the way at the bottom of my gum line where my face meets my bone. When my canker sores appear that low they are indeed quite painful.
What Causes Canker Sores: Canker sores cause remains a mystery. As soon as I notice I have a canker sore I try and play back everything I’d recently done with my mouth. Often times though I’ll go to sleep with a clean mouth and wake up with a fledgling painful canker sore. WebMD suggests that canker sores may be caused by “stress…tissue injury…certain foods including citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables (such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples figs, tomatoes, and strawberries).” I eat quite a bit of citrus, strawberry, and tomato so I couldn’t accurately place that influence.
How are canker sores spread: Another big difference between cold sores and canker sores is the way in which they’re spread. Cold sores are highly contagious as they are caused by a virus. The exact cause of canker sores, on the other hand, remains a mystery. So if we don’t know how they’re gotten we can’t know how they’re spread. I still kiss my wife when I have canker sores and I’ve never spread them to her.
How are canker sores treated: There is only one product I’ve come into contact with, Kanka-A Mouth Pain Liquid (2) which effectively treats canker sores. All Kank-A really does though is mask the pain in a dense tasting medicine. I have not noticed a speeding progression of the length of canker sores with medicine as opposed to without. Still Kank-A has saved me many days of pain every year for as far back as I can remember. The problem when you get canker sores is that they’re on the inside of your mouth; this makes eating or drinking most anything a real pain. The only thing I can really ingest without pain is plain hot black tea with nothing added or plain hot water. Canker sores last several days; a diet of hot water for several days is not going to pass muster.
Canker sores are a real pain in the mouth and don’t really do anyone any good. However if you have some medicine to mask the pain and you’re able to plan to have the medicine at the ready, you should be okay.