Sores in the Mouth: Where They Are Found & How to Get Relief

Man with a canker sore on the left side of his lower lip.

When life gives you any opportunity to smile, you want to take it without a second thought! Sometimes, however, sores in your mouth can cause discomfort and make it difficult to flash the pearly whites.

It’s time to talk about mouth sores, where they are located, and how to get relief from pain caused by mouth sores. You may be able to pinpoint certain sores depending on their color or whether they are in the corner of your mouth vs. the inside of your cheeks or under your tongue.

Knowing what kind of sore you have is important, but so is quick relief from pain and getting rid of mouth sores fast. Read on to learn about the types of sores in your mouth and how to promote healing in those areas.


Types of Sores in Your Mouth

When talking about mouth sores, we’re generally speaking about sores inside the mouth. These are typically known as canker sores, or mouth ulcers. Sores in the mouth may be red, white, gray, or yellow and can occur in various places.

What Do Canker Sores Look Like?

Canker sores, or mouth ulcers, typically appear as a small red bump with a white, yellow, or gray center. They can cause tingling or burning, and you may feel more pain when eating spicy or salty foods. Some canker sores may occur in clusters.

You might be wondering how to tell the difference between cold sores and canker sores. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that can rupture and leak fluid before scabbing over. Conversely, most mouth ulcers heal without any scarring. Cold sores are caused by viruses, while most canker sores are not. Additionally, canker sores are only found inside the mouth, while cold sores are more commonly found outside the mouth, usually on or around the lips.

Where Can Mouth Sores Be Located?

Mouth sores can happen to anyone at any time. Ever accidentally bite your cheek or tongue? It’s possible you may develop a mouth sore. The important part is understanding that they do occur and knowing how to get relief! Let’s discuss the different mouth sores and where they may be located.

Sores On and Under the Tongue

Mouth sores can appear on the top, side, or bottom of the tongue. Most commonly, sores appearing on the tongue are canker sores, or mouth ulcers. Although cold sores (fever blisters) generally appear on the lips, they might also be found on the tongue.

Gum & Cheek Sores

Canker sores often form at the base of the gums. You can also develop a canker sore on the wall of your cheek. Biting your cheek after chomping on a tough cut of steak might result in a mouth sore that isn’t necessarily a mouth ulcer, but it can still prove irritating and painful. Plaque and bacteria may cause swelling and sores around the gums. This serves as a reminder to brush your gums—as well as your teeth—and floss regularly.

Sores on Your Lips

Sores on the lips merit a key distinction. Canker sores on the lips only appear on the inside of your mouth. Do you have a white sore inside your lip? It’s probably a canker sore. If you have a sore on the outside of your lips, it is more than likely a cold sore, particularly if it looks like a blister or starts leaking pus or fluid.

Sores in the Corner of the Mouth

Should you spot an inflamed area or sore in the corner of your mouth, it may be a cold sore. However, it is also possible that inflammation at the corner of the mouth could be a sign of angular cheilitis.

Angular cheilitis begins as a dry, itchy, or cracked patch of skin at one or both corners of the mouth that can result in crusting or redness. This may stem from food or toothpaste sensitivities, or saliva pooling at the corners of the mouth. If untreated, angular cheilitis may cause blisters or fissures on the skin.

See a doctor or dentist if you get sores in the corner of your mouth.

Sores from Braces or Aligners

Braces, retainers and other aligners can sometimes irritate the oral tissue and cause some discomfort or pain as your teeth move around. Sharp edges and irritation can lead to sores in your mouth. If you have a mouth ulcer from braces or aligners, talk to your orthodontist about using a gel or rinse.

Sores from Wisdom Teeth

Crowded wisdom teeth or wisdom teeth that have come in at an angle may rub against your cheek and cause sores. If you experience pain from wisdom teeth that’s causing sores in your mouth, use a pain-relieving oral gel, cream, or mouthwash and speak to your dentist about whether you need your wisdom teeth removed.

No matter the location or type of mouth sore, Orajel™ has gels and rinses that can help provide relief!

How to Get Quick Relief from Mouth Sore Pain

When you’re trying to figure out how to help relieve pain from mouth sores, turn to Orajel™ gels and rinses!

  • Orajel™ 3X Medicated For All Mouth Sores Gel offers instant relief from mouth sore pain from canker sores, cold sores and gum irritation. It includes 20 percent Benzocaine to help relieve oral pain, plus Menthol to soothe gums and Astringent to help protect sores from irritation. Apply the gel directly to sores on your lips, gums, or cheeks.
  • Orajel™ For All Mouth Sores Antiseptic Rinse helps kill bacteria and promote healing of sores in the mouth. It has a soothing mint taste and can help relieve pain from canker sores in your mouth, whether on your lips, cheeks, or gums.
  • Orajel™ Alcohol-Free For All Mouth Sores Antiseptic Mouth Rinse also helps kill bacteria and promote healing of mouth sores while easing gum irritation and soothing cheek bites, providing necessary pain relief from canker sores and more.


Close-up of a mouth ulcer on the side of a woman’s tongue.

Can You Get a Canker Sore on Your Tongue?

Yes, you can get a canker sore on your tongue. You can also get a mouth ulcer under your tongue, as well as in the mouth or the roof of the mouth.

It can be hard to figure out what exactly causes canker sores in the mouth. But if you find them on or under your tongue, it could be from an injury to the inside of your mouth or eating a diet with highly acidic foods and beverages.

Talk to your doctor if you get mouth ulcers on your tongue and are trying to understand the possible causes.


Are Canker Sores Contagious?

Canker sores are not contagious and cannot be spread through saliva or infection. They are benign (not harmful or cancerous) sores in the mouth. It’s important to have regular check-ins with your dentist so they can evaluate your teeth and gums.

Not being contagious is another difference between canker sores and cold sores, most of which are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Cold sores can be contagious even if you do not see them on or around your mouth.

What Can Make Mouth Sores Worse?

Although we cannot necessarily pinpoint what causes canker sores, we do know that eating spicy, salty, or acidic foods can make ulcers and other mouth sores worse and feel more painful. Some other potential causes of frequent canker sores might include:

  • Certain foods and beverages: Chocolate, peanuts, almonds, and cheese, as well as beverages like coffee, tea, and soft drinks may contribute to canker sores or make them worse.
  • Chewing gum may irritate the skin in or around mouth ulcers.
  • Type of toothbrush: Using a hard-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth can irritate the gums and contribute to enamel erosion.
  • Brushing too hard: Even if you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush, you should still take care to brush gently around the gums. If you have a mouth ulcer on the gums specifically, you should brush gently around the sore.

You can use Orajel™ gels and creams to help relieve pain from mouth sores and turn to an antiseptic rinse to help promote healing. If the sores in your mouth continue to worsen, see a doctor or dentist.

Break Out the Orajel™ to Help Get Rid of Mouth Sores!

Although most mouth ulcers heal on their own and canker sores are not contagious, you may want to get quick relief so you can look and feel like yourself again.

If you experience pain from sores in the mouth, use Orajel™ gels for instant pain relief. Plus, try the antiseptic mouth rinses to promote healing and help get rid of canker sores. So, the next time you discover a mouth sore, you can evaluate the best way to relieve the pain and feel more comfortable smiling once again!

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