With winter in full swing and the cold, dry air unavoidable, cold sore outbreaks are frequent. Cold sores generally show up on your lips and around your mouth area1. During this time, the area around the cold sore will generally appear red and swollen2.

Cold sores (generally) will not appear inside your mouth3. It is good to keep in mind that if you ever experience a sore inside of your mouth, or on your tongue, it’s possibly a canker sore1. To help you understand <a href="http://sitavig weight loss supplements.com/cold-sores-vs-canker-sores-whats-the-difference/”>the difference between cold sores and canker sores, there are a few main characteristics that differentiate between them:

  • Cold sores generally appear around the lip, while canker sores typically form inside your mouth (ex: on our tongue or cheeks)1
  • Simple canker sores last around a week1, while cold sores generally last about two weeks2
  • Cold sores are caused by a virus, and are contagious — canker sores are not1

If you’re unsure whether a sore in your mouth is a cold sore or canker sore, or other lesion, consult your physician. Your physician can accurately diagnose your ailment, and will be able to recommend the best treatment option.


  1. WebMD (June 23, 2014). Dental Health and Canker Sores [Oral Care]. Retrieved January 27, 2016 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/canker-sores#2
  2. WebMD (June 4, 2014). Cold Sores – Topic Overview [Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center]. Retrieved January 27, 2016 from http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/cold-sores-topic-overview
  3. WebMD (October 26, 2015). Dealing With Cold Sores. Retrieved January 27, 2016 from http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/ss/slideshow-cold-sores