It’s important to care for your gums and the tissue inside your mouth. Accidents happen. We can bite our lips or cheeks when eating or get canker sores, which we’ll discuss below. Although oral tissue is delicate, the mouth also heals very quickly, so when you damage it or get hurt, you’ll notice how quickly things clear up. There are also several things we can do to take the best care of our oral tissue.
Canker sores are tiny mouth ulcers that can be bothersome or extremely painful–especially if you bite down on one! (If you’ve ever done this, you know what we mean.) Symptoms are tingling or burning in the area right before a canker sore appears and then white or gray bumps bordered by red. Symptoms can be more severe in serious outbreaks.
What causes canker sores? Well, for the most part, the jury is still out on that one. Researchers say a combination of things contributes to these painful irritants. Some triggers may include one or more of the following:
Some triggers may include one or more of the following:
- Minor injuries from dental work
- Tooth products containing lauryl sulfate
- Food sensitivities
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency, or a lack of zinc, folic acid or iron
- Allergies to mouth bacteria
- Hormonal issues
People suffering from Celiac disease, AIDS/HIV, and Crones disease are also prone to canker sores. Any disease that affects the immune system can manifest in canker sores. Canker sores are not like cold sores and are not caused by herpes simplex 1.
Remedies for Canker Sores
Depending on whether they are simple canker sores (appear 3-4 times a year in people 20-30 years old) or complex canker sores (more often associated with the symptoms listed above) canker sores are often painful. There is no cure. Swishing salt water around in your mouth can help. Some people report using Listerine mouthwash. It is said to dull the pain.
Preventing Canker Sores
If you are prone to canker sores, you might just have to weather them. However, there are a few things you can do to minimize the number of occurrences.
- Avoid acidic foods, including citrus fruits and spicy foods.
- Avoid irritating mouth tissue
- Exercise good oral hygiene. Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss daily.
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