• Blog >
  • Common Types of Mouth Sores
RSS Feed

Common Types of Mouth Sores

If you are suffering from mouth sores, find out what they are and what you can do about them.

Mouth sores; they are anything but pleasant. Sometimes they are downright painful, making everyday activities like eating and Soresspeaking difficult. However, do you really know what’s going on in your mouth? It can be hard to pinpoint the root cause of your mouth sore, which makes it even harder to treat it. Your ENT in Hagerstown shares the most common types of mouth sores and how you can treat the symptoms.

Fever Blisters

Also commonly referred to as cold sores, these small clusters of blisters often appear on the lips or around the mouth. A virus known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) causes fever blisters. While about 15 to 30 percent of the US experiences fever blisters, a surprising 85 percent of Americans have been infected with HSV-1 but may never experience symptoms.

When a fever blister emerges, the skin around it may become red and swollen. After a few days, the blister will burst open and scab. These blisters can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks to heal completely.


While there is no cure for HSV-1, there are things you can do to lessen your fever blister symptoms. If this is your first outbreak, then call your Hagerstown ENT to schedule an appointment. We can prescribe an antiviral medication to help ease first time symptoms, which are often the worst.

If you often experience outbreaks, there are also topical prescription creams we can prescribe to ease pain and itching. Some patients also find relief from over-the-counter antiviral medications like Abreva®, which is FDA-approved to promote faster healing of cold sores.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are characterized by small ulcers that appear inside the mouth, often on the cheeks or roof of the mouth. These small sores can cause enough pain that even eating or speaking is problematic. While there are no exact causes pinpointed for canker sores, some believe that stress and certain acidic foods can both trigger an outbreak.

These sores often show up a few times times a year, lasting about a week. While canker sores and cold sores are often mistaken for the same thing, they are completely different. Besides pain, you may also notice a burning or tingling sensation right before the sore emerges. The sore may also be white or gray.


While canker sore symptoms usually subside after a couple days, if the pain and discomfort is too much, there are certain rinses and ointments we can prescribe to help reduce your pain. If the sore has lasted more than three weeks then it’s time to come in for treatment. Also, avoid spicy or acidic foods that could exacerbate the sore.

If you are dealing with a painful mouth sore and you don’t know what could be causing it, then it’s time to schedule an appointment to see your ENT doctor in Hagerstown, Dr. Kirby J Scott, MD at Central ENT Consultants, PC.