Are Canker Sores Contagious?

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Canker sores also known as mouth ulcer are small painful ulcers in the mucous membranes that form the inner lining of the mouth or at the base of your gum. They can make eating, drinking, and talking uncomfortable. Women, adolescents, and people with a family history of mouth ulcers are at higher risk of developing mouth ulcers. The cause of canker sores is unclear as no viral or bacterial cause has been proven. Researchers think that they occur or are triggered to occur in individuals when a certain set of circumstances arise such as:

  • Emotional stress or lack of sleep
  • Hormonal changes
  • Allergies
  • Certain diseases (including Crohn’s disease and celiac disease)
  • A lack of certain nutrients and vitamins,
  • Sensitivity to certain chemicals in foods or drinks ,
  • Even minor trauma while brushing the teeth or other minor mouth trauma.
  • Fungal infections etc.

Canker sores are sometimes confused with cold sores, but cold sores are caused by the herpes viruses and are contagious, while canker sores are not contagious and there is no person-to-person spread. Thankfully, you can’t catch canker sores from kissing or sharing food or toothbrushes. However, the Nemours Foundation warns that susceptibility to aphthous ulcers runs in family, so if your parents get them, you probably will too.

Canker sores seem to develop in an individual when certain triggers occur. Triggers of canker sores differ from person to person as what triggers it in one person may not be the same as that of the next person.

Symptoms of canker sores is a Shallow painful ulcer with a reddish border which appears on the soft palate, tonsil areas, tongue, and gums of the mouth.

Canker sores are recurrent and may seem to spread in an individual if the mechanisms that trigger canker sore development recurs frequently in an individual.

There is also no known cure for canker sores. There is only treatment for the painful symptoms. However, most minor canker sore problems last between 7 to 10 days while major canker sores may last weeks to months and may leave scars.

Most minor canker sores do not require a doctor to treat them. However large canker sores should be seen by a health-care professional. In addition, rapidly reoccurring sores (new canker sores occurring before older sores heal), that persist longer than two weeks cause problems with either eating or drinking, and sores associated with high fevers should be seen urgently by a physician.

Source: healthline.com and MedicineNet.com

By Mercy Kukah

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