Oral Herpes vs. Canker Sores. What is the difference?

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Are you worried because you are not able to tell whether you have canker sores or oral herpes in your mouth? Here are the main differences of these two unwanted dental conditions. Unless you have been making out or have some form of oral sex with a stranger, your chances of getting oral herpes is very small.

What are canker sores?

Canker sores are shallow mouth ulcers that appear in your mouth. You will start to notice when eating or talking becomes slightly uncomfortable. There are two types of canker sores you should be aware of: simple and complex. The main difference between these two types of canker sores is the frequency at which they appear. The simple canker sore can appear a few times a year and may take around a week to heal. As for the complex canker sores, they are not very common and if they do affect you, it’ll take more than a week to heal.

What are oral herpes?

Much like canker sores, oral herpes form in one’s mouth due to the presence of the herpes virus. There are two common ways of contracting oral herpes: physical contact with someone who is infected by the herpes virus, contact with an object that has herpes virus such as towels or cooking utensils. You may have also heard of a condition called cold sores. This usually happens when a herpes virus reactivates itself in a person’s mouth. So what exactly are the differences between these two conditions?

In general, oral herpes or cold sores appear in the form of small red blisters. The outer edges of cold sores tend to be more distinct than those of canker sores. They also appear in different locations. Canker sores tend to appear in areas such as the inside of your lips or cheeks, the floor of the mouth, or the surrounding regions of the tonsil. Oral herpes, on the other hand, appear around the gum tissue that surrounds your teeth. Again, every person’s condition may differ so you should not use this information to confirm what condition you are affected by.

What should I do?

If you haven’t been sexually involved with someone for the past few days or weeks, it is more than likely that you have canker sores. If you have been sexually active, you should treat the condition as if it is oral herpes. They are not life threatening but you have a duty to not spread it to others. First, make sure you are not sharing anything (e.g. food, kitchen utensils, toothpaste) while the sores are healing. The best way to tackle oral herpes is to visit a medical professional who will prescribe you with antiviral medications.

While you are recovering, it is also important that you fortify your immune system. If you have not already been doing so, add more vegetables and fruits to your daily diet. Not only will this quicken your recovery, it will also help prevent other viral infections from affecting you in the future.

Last but not least, do not slack with maintaining your oral hygiene. If it turns out to be a canker sore, there is a good chance it will return if you don’t brush or floss your teeth. One excellent way of keeping your teeth clean and fresh is by using a water pick. Click here to read more about a water pick can help you save hundreds of dollars in dentist fees.