"Are canker sores contagious?", is a commonly-asked question by people who are suffering from this condition. The following article canvasses the topic in detail.
Canker sores are small ulcers inside the mouth. They usually are white, gray, or yellow-colored with a red border. In medical terms, they are called Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis. In layman’s language, they are known as mouth ulcers. According to research, they affect about 20 percent of the population. Many of us are confused with the question of “Are canker sores contagious?”. Well, to put it in the words of one syllable, they are not. The explanation is provided in the paragraphs below.
This condition is a common occurrence between the ages of 10 and 20, but it can recur any other time as well. Women are more affected by it as compared to men. In women, it is often observed during their menstrual cycle. When it appears on the tongue, it seems as though there are pimples on the tongue.
- The causes of these ulcers is still an area that requires much research. Studies point towards a localized autoimmune disorder.
- It is understood that immune cells (white blood cells) of the body attack the cell lining in the mouth and cause these harmless, but irritating cells.
- However, there are other factors, which lead to the autoimmune disorder. The contributing factors are some ingredients in toothpaste (containing sodium lauryl sulfate), some food products, trauma to the lining in mouth, fatigue, and stress.
- Genetics also has a role to play.
- If you chew a sharp piece of food or bite the inside of your mouth or your tongue, it can give rise to these ulcers.
- They can also be caused due to deficiency of iron or vitamin B12.
- In some cases, allergy to certain foods can also be a reason. Some food items, which can cause this condition due to an allergy are chocolate, peanut butter, sea food, wheat products, nuts, and milk.
Contagious or Not?
Cold sores are caused by a virus, hence they are contagious. On the other hand, canker sores are neither contagious nor precancerous, as they are not caused by a bacterium or a virus. There are health care professionals who advise people with this condition to avoid kissing. This would lead you wonder if canker sores are contagious by kissing. The reason is, there are chances that the bacteria from the other person’s mouth can infect the ulcers, which are open wounds. Otherwise, it does not spread, however, it is better to remain on the safer side.
- These ulcers take approximately 7 to 10 days to heal completely.
- Normally, they heal on their own. Use of non-topical ointments, like numbing agents or protective ointments is common.
- In case of pain, pain killers can be used for temporary relief.
- Vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid supplements can also aid in treatment.
- Use of anti-microbial mouth rinse can help to reduce the irritation.
- In case you notice a secondary infection as a result of this condition, you will have to get in touch with your health care professional. He will be able to prescribe antibiotics to get rid of the secondary infection.
It is recommended that the person avoids spicy, hot, or any kind of acidic food or beverages. All of these can irritate the ulcer and add to your discomfort. Avoid eating food, like nuts and chips, which are sharp and can poke the wound.
One home remedy is to dab hydrogen peroxide and water in equal quantity on the boils followed by milk of magnesia. This remedy will help heal the condition quickly, and it will also reduce the discomfort associated. Putting wet black tea bags also helps in alleviating pain, as tea contains tannin, which helps in reducing pain.
Hope you have understood why canker sores are not contagious. If you are affected with this condition, do not panic, just go to your doctor, and you will be completely all right within a fortnight or so.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.