First Time User? Enroll now.
*Vaccine availability and appointments* | Visitor and mask policies | Additional COVID-19 resources.
Home > Health Library > Canker sores
Canker sores (aphthous stomatitis) are painful white ulcers in the mouth that appear most often on the tongue, inside the cheeks, and inside the lips. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious.
The cause of canker sores is not well-understood but may include injury or irritation inside the mouth, infection, and stress. Minor canker sores heal in 1 to 3 weeks.
Most people do not need to see a doctor for canker sores. The sores will get better on their own. To relieve pain, you might try over-the-counter medicine or change your diet to bland, soft foods.
Current as of: October 27, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.