This article was developed to answer a common question about mouth sores. Are canker sores herpes?
A common question searched online is “Are canker sores herpes?” to which the answer is no, canker sores are not herpes. It is true that a canker sore may produce a visible blemish in or around the mouth. This article was developed as a resource to help explain and identify the differences between a canker sore and herpes.
The plain fact is that canker sores are indeed not herpes. There are a number of different ways for you to tell the two apart. However, first it is important to understand each issue (oral herpes and canker sores) to better tell them apart.
What Is Oral Herpes?
An infection in the mouth caused by the herpes simplex virus is termed oral herpes. Herpes is a common virus, affecting most people by adulthood at some subtype level. The human body can fight off some subtypes of the herpes virus, while other types are not manageable. Herpes may be spread from one person to another by touching skin, mucous membranes, or saliva (as in kissing or eating the same foods or drinks).
The most common symptom of oral herpes is a sore on the mouth, commonly referred to as a cold sore. At the beginning stage of oral herpes, you will experience itching, tingling, burning, or pain in or around the mouth. Blisters in clusters then erupt and as they break down, they change in appearance eventually looking more yellow, scabbed or crusted.
The cold sore location of those infected with the herpes virus may occur on the roof of the mouth, the throat, the inside of the cheeks, the front of the tongue, the gums and on the lips.
There are two main subtypes of oral herpes that will produce the types of sores that most people see. The one that causes 80 percent of oral sores is herpes simplex virus, type 1 or herpes-1. The remainder of the herpes cases are caused by herpes simplex virus, type 2 or herpes-2.
Stages of Herpes
The oral herpes virus has three stages of development from contraction to appearance. At the first stage, many people may not even exhibit any symptoms, which makes it hard to determine what or who caused the contraction of the virus. The second stage is the latency period in which the virus moves to nerve tissue in the spine where the virus reproduces but then becomes inactive. The final stage is called recurrence when the virus reactivates, causing physical symptoms due to stress, either physical or emotional.
What Are Canker Sores?
Canker sores appear in the mouth area (tongue, gums, lip) and are small, shallow ulcers that make talking and eating uncomfortable. The two main types of canker sores are complex canker sores and simple canker sores. Complex canker sores is the less common type of canker sore and tends to appear in people who have a history of canker sores. Simple canker sores are common among people aged 10 years old to 20 years old. The simple canker sores may occur 3 to 4 times a year and last up to one week . Using TheraBreath canker sore solutions is a good way to prevent and treat canker sores from reoccurring in both the complex and simple canker sore sufferer.
Most people who have canker sores will experience a sore that is white or gray in color and round in shape with a red border. The sores will be painful inside the cheeks, the back portion of the mouth (soft palate), or on the tongue. Before the appearance of the sores, a person may experience a burning or tingling sensation. In addition to the basic symptoms, those that suffer from more severe canker sores will also experience swollen lymph nodes, physical sluggishness, or fever. Click here to learn more about canker sores.
Canker Sores vs. Oral Herpes
Canker sores and oral herpes have entirely different causes and treatment methods. The causes can often be the defining difference between the two types of sores. Canker sores can be caused by a number of factors that include a sharp tooth surface, braces or other mouth abrasion device. More often, canker sores are caused by a tissue injury in the mouth or stress. Another canker sore cause is foods with a high citrus content such as oranges and tomatoes. Medical issues such as Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or an impaired immune system may also trigger canker sores to appear.
Oral herpes is caused by a virus that is spread through body fluids. Although the symptoms of canker sores and oral herpes may resemble each other, including the painful mouth sores, they are different. Oral herpes will actually exhibit sores on the outside of the mouth, while canker sores, appear on the inside of the mouth.
The two types of sores may be commonly confused due to the same painful, tingling sensation prior to the actual development of physical sores. Sores for both canker sores and oral herpes will look similar at first, but while canker sores may go away within a week or two, sores related to oral herpes will leave a yellowish spot where the sores appeared. Click here to read more about canker sores vs cold sores.
Answer to the question, “Are Canker Sores Herpes?”
Although canker sores and cold sores may appear the same at first glance, they are not. Canker sores are caused by damage to the mouth, foods or an underlying disease, while oral herpes sores are caused by a virus. Eventually, cold sores will become crusted while canker sores will simply go away. The pain associated with cold sores is also more severe whereas the pain with canker sores goes away within a few days. Ultimately, canker sores are not herpes.