Are Canker Sores Contagious?

Some of those that are experiencing a bout of canker sores inside their mouth are wondering, “Are these ulcers contagious?” Although these lesions can be unpleasant and painful, they aren’t contagious. Canker sores can’t be passed on from bodily contact so if a person that has a canker sore touches another healthy person, they will not pass on the infection. A contagious lesion can be transmitted from one person to another, but this isn’t the case with canker sores.

What is a canker sore?

A canker sore is an aphthous ulcer that is usually small in size can appear on the lining of the lips, cheeks and also the inside of your mouth. Normally, they show up as single lesions, but they can sometimes appear in clusters. Canker sores usually begin as a small reddish bump, and after some time it bursts and leaves an open ulcer that has to heal. They can be unpleasant and painful, but they aren’t contagious.

Are Canker Sores ContagiousCold sores are different from canker sores, which occur on the area outside of the mouth and are the result of the presence of a virus. These ulcers are very contagious and you can get them if you do come into contact with someone who is infected, either by kissing, sharing a drink or food. Canker sores usually are painful and they appear for a myriad of reasons, such as smoking, menstruation or eating specific foods, but they aren’t caused by a virus.

Genetics can play a part in the frequency of canker sores in a person and it’s likely that other members of your family have suffered from these lesions as well. Oral hygiene also plays a role in the occurrence of these ulcers so be sure to keep your mouth clean.

What’s the Reason for a Canker Sore?

Canker sores can occur for several reasons, but as we mentioned before it usually isn’t caused by a viral infection. However, these are also common reasons for their appearance:

  • Poor diet
  • Stress
  • Bacteria
  • Genetics
  • Food allergies
  • Iron or vitamin deficiency
  • Hormonal imbalance

How Contagious are Canker Sores?

Are Canker Sores ContagiousContrary to cold sores, these lesions are not transmittable. These ulcers that are located inside the mouth and on the tongue are not contagious and aren’t caused by interacting with a person suffering from them. Viral infections do not play any role in canker sores, so being in contact physically doesn’t really matter because it can’t spread.

Although these sores aren’t contagious, it isn’t advisable to have oral interaction with someone who is suffering from canker sores. The reason behind this is that thanks to the bacteria present in the saliva and mouth, the ulcer can get infected. If it does get infected, the healing process can be delayed and they will hurt more and be more unpleasant.

The Difference Between Canker Sores and Cold Sores

Canker sores and cold sores are very different in that cold sores actually are contagious and are located outside the mouth. Cold sores appear as red small blisters along the face and mouth usually on the corners of your mouth and lips and are very contagious. The Herpes Simplex virus is normally the cause of these lesions. Due to the fact that they are highly contagious, someone with cold sores should avoid contact with someone else while the lesions are present.

If a person wants to know if they have a canker sore or a cold sore, they probably would need to visit a doctor who will examine it and tell them for certain what it is. Since they do look rather alike, it might be difficult to know which is which just by their appearance. The precautions to be taken are really quite simple in order to keep them from spreading, such as avoid physical contact until the cold sores have entirely disappeared.

Treatment for canker sores

Are Canker Sores ContagiousThere’s no reason to worry if you do get a canker sore. Homemade and over-the-counter medicines are available to help you in the healing process of the ulcer. Usually they take a few days or sometimes a couple of weeks to heal, but these remedies can help with the soreness, size and redness of said sores. Menthol and eucalyptol are ingredients found in most treatments to be bought over the counter and they help reduce the soreness and pain caused by these lesions.

Mixing hydrogen peroxide with water and using it to wash your mouth can be helpful since it shrinks and keeps the sore clean. Another for a home remedy is salt water, and it’s extra effective when baking soda is included in the mix.

The food you ingest is also to be considered when there’s a case of canker sores. Acidic or spicy foods and fruit juices are to be avoided since the pain from the sores can be exacerbated by them.

Canker Sore Prevention

Any person that has experienced canker sores is very aware of the pain they cause and how annoying they are when trying to eat and drink. The use of certain toothpastes and rinses can aid you in preventing canker sores. Toothpastes sometimes include sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in their ingredient list as it is used as a foaming agent, but one of its side effects is  irritating canker sores.

If you maintain good oral hygiene, a balanced and varied diet, a stress free life and practice yoga and meditation, there’s a good possibility that canker sores will not occur very frequently. On the other hand, when genetics have a role in your canker sore history, even these prevention tactics might not be enough. You should not be alarmed if a lesion does appear because everyday life activities can be performed without any problem since they aren’t contagious. You should seek medical counselling if a canker sore doesn’t heal after two or three weeks or is recurrent. You might get prescribed a topical medicine for your ulcer to help with the healing process.