What Does a Canker Sore on the Tongue Look Like?


Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers, are small sores that appear on the inside of the cheeks, gums, tongue or roof of the mouth. Canker sores are sometimes confused with cold sores.


  • Canker sores are red, pink or white sores that appear on the inside of the mouth or on the tongue. They are circular and may appear in clusters.


  • Canker sores are usually about the size of a pencil eraser, although they may be larger or smaller depending on the severity of the sore.

Time Frame

  • Canker sores may first appear red, and then turn white as the sore heals, which can take up to two weeks.


  • Canker sores on the tongue can be caused by biting the tongue, stress, genetics, eating spicy or acidic foods, burning the tongue or brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that contains sodium laureth sulfate, an abrasive ingredient that affects some individuals.


  • Canker sores are not the same as cold sores, although they are often confused with them. Cold sores are crusty and red, and appear on the outside of the mouth and lips.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Fotolia.com, courtesy of ann triling
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