The question whether canker sores are herpes is commonly asked. Is canker sores a form of herpes? The answer is no. People think that these two mouth diseases are similar because they have the same symptoms in a way that both canker sores and herpes produce blemish inside the mouth. In fact, herpes is indeed different from canker sores in a number of ways. Before identifying the differences, it is better to get the overview of each disease.
Difference Between Herpes and Canker Sores
Herpes in the mouth is called as oral herpes or cold sore. It is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. The virus itself has a number subtypes in which some types can be fought by the human body while some of them cannot. This virus usually affects adults. It is spread through mucous membranes, skin touch, and saliva, meaning that eating from the same glasses and kissing can also spread the disease. The symptoms of oral herpes are itching, burning, and pain in the mouth, especially on the roof, tongue, and gums. They may spread to the throat and lips as well. The infected location becomes swelling and develops into blisters and clusters. When they break down, they become scabbed and crusted.
What about canker sores? Just like herpes, canker sores also appear in the mouth in the form of small and shallow ulcers. They really make eating and talking difficult and painful. There are two major types of canker sores. The first type which is the more common one is simple canker sores. They affect young people in the age of 10 to 20. A canker sore can last to a week. Meanwhile the second type which is less common is the complex canker sore. It is a reoccurring condition of a canker sore. People with this disease usually feel burning and tingling sensation in the mouth followed by the appearance of sores. Unlike herpes or cold sore that appears yellow in color, canker sores appear in gray or white and the blemishes form round shapes with a red border. The infected locations are the same as herpes but mostly in the back part of the mouth. Often, the symptoms are followed by fever and physical sluggishness especially when the condition gets severe.
From the explanation above, the differences between herpes and canker sores can be identified. The main difference is on the cause. It is clear that canker sores happen because of several factors like dental abrasion device, tissue injury, poor immune system, and high acid intake. Meanwhile, herpes is caused by a virus. The shape and color of the blemishes are also different. Actually you can tell that it is herpes if the blemishes are yellow and have no pattern. Canker sores, in the other hands, come in round shapes bordered in red marks.
As the cause is different, of course, the treatments are also different. Therefore if you feel the symptoms, you must see a doctor. Do not buy over-countered medicines from drugstores. The two illnesses have almost the same symptoms but they need different medications.