Are canker sores contagious if you kiss?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are indeed painful sores that can appear inside the mouth, including on the lips, cheeks, gums, and tongue. These small, round or oval-shaped lesions can cause discomfort and make activities like eating, drinking, and talking difficult.

One common question that arises when it comes to canker sores is whether they are contagious, particularly if you engage in activities like kissing. The good news is that canker sores are not contagious and cannot be spread through saliva or any other form of direct contact. Unlike cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus and can be spread through kissing or sharing utensils, canker sores are not caused by a virus or bacteria.

The exact cause of canker sores is still not fully understood, but it is believed to be a result of various factors including immune system dysfunction, genetic predisposition, mouth injury or trauma, hormonal changes, and certain triggers such as stress, certain foods, or hormonal changes. It is important to note that canker sores are not caused by any form of infection and are not considered a sexually transmitted infection.

It is worth mentioning that while canker sores themselves are not contagious, they can sometimes be triggered or worsened by certain factors. For example, if you have a canker sore and engage in activities like kissing, the physical contact and potential irritation can cause the sore to become more painful or take longer to heal. Additionally, if you have an open canker sore and come into contact with someone who has a weakened immune system, they may be more susceptible to developing similar sores due to their compromised immune response.

To manage and alleviate the discomfort of canker sores, there are various home remedies and over-the-counter treatments available. Rinsing the mouth with salt water or a baking soda solution can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Over-the-counter topical gels or ointments containing ingredients like benzocaine or hydrogen peroxide can provide temporary pain relief. It is also important to avoid foods or substances that may irritate the sores, such as spicy or acidic foods.

Canker sores are not contagious and cannot be spread through activities like kissing. They are small, painful sores that can appear inside the mouth and are caused by various factors rather than a virus or bacteria. While canker sores themselves are not contagious, it is important to be mindful of potential irritants and triggers that can exacerbate the discomfort and prolong the healing process. If you are experiencing frequent or severe canker sores, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and management.