4 Causes Of Canker Sores On The Tongue

Do not ignore canker sores as these can be cancerous and detrimental for health. Here is why you might e having them.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Aug 29, 2022Updated at: Aug 29, 2022
4 Causes Of Canker Sores On The Tongue

Canker sores are small lesions that develop on the soft tissues of the skin, majorly on the lips and tongue. These are extremely irritating & painful and may aggravate further. In most cases, these are due to oral infection, stomach infection, or mouth injury but if canker sores are persistent, they may be due to an underlying condition as well. In this article, we have listed down four common reasons for canker sores on the tongue.

Cold sores

Canker sores are slightly similar to cold sores in terms of appearance. Cold sores are blisters filled with fluids that generally occur due to herpes simplex virus. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of cold sores to differentiate from canker sores:

  • Burning and tingling sensation before eruption of sore
  • Fluid-filled blisters that are very painful and leak fluid
  • Cold sores may reappear within days after recovery
  • Fever

Since cold sores typically occur after HPV infection, they are contagious. The possibility of infection to the other person increases. This is why you should never pick these sores and avoid close contact with your partner to prevent its transmission. Generally, cold sores heal in a week or ten days.

Causes Of Canker Sores On The Tongue


If your canker sores are not healing, it could be cancer. Yes, cancer can cause lesions and blisters that do not heal. Oral cancer or mouth cancer causes lesions on the tongue that look like sores but actual cancerous lesions. These lesions are painless and thus, people generally ignore these. If you witness painless lesions on your tongue that are spreading, it may be cancer. See a doctor immediately for timely diagnosis and treatment.

In another scenario, patients with oral ulcers also develop lesions and blisters in response to cancer therapies like radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Oral lichen planus

This is an autoimmune condition which triggers formation of lesions on different parts of the skin including tongue and mouth. These are also seen on cheeks that can be identified easily. Apart from sores, here are the other symptoms of lichen planus:

  • Painful ulcers
  • Peeling gums
  • Inflammation in gums
  • White patches with acute itching
  • Plaque on hands and feet
  • Reddish raised skin on different parts of the body
Causes Of Canker Sores On The Tongue

Lichen Planus condition is caused due to hepatitis C infection, injury inside the mouth, physical stress and genetics. It might take months and years to recover from an oral lichen planus condition.


This condition is identified with red patches inside the mouth along with pus-filled sores and blisters. These patches vary in sizes. Small patches can be easily mistaken with mouth sores and ulcers which is why most people ignore and do not get treated. Erythroplakia doesn’t show any other symptoms which is dangerous as these are precancerous and can develop into cancer if left untreated.

People who chew tobacco, smoke a lot and wear dentures are at risk of developing this condition.

In a nutshell, do not ignore canker sores as these could be a sign of an underlying major problem. It is better to get diagnosed on time to avert possible complications.

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