Dear Dr. Katz,
Recently, I started getting bad breath more often. I didn't think much of it, since my boyfriend and I occasionally have morning breath (we both snore), but then I started getting canker sores on my tongue. They're quite painful, and so far both the halitosis and the sores have not shown any signs of going away! Are these two things connected? What can I do about them? Please help!
Patrycja P., Poland, NY
Your problem isn't all that uncommon. Cankers sores on the tongue are often accompanied by pain, swelling, soreness and bad breath. Plenty of things can cause them, including bacterial infections, stress, allergies or little cuts or scrapes in the mouth, according to the American Dental Association. Fortunately for you, you only need one product to clear up both of your problems - namely, a specialty breath freshening mouthwash.
Canker sores on your tongue, cheeks or gums occur when irritated tissue gets infected. These spots tend to be white with red edges, and, as you've found out, they can really hurt! Interestingly, women are more likely to get them than men, according to the National Institutes of Health.
To clear up canker sores on the tongue, trying using an oxygenating specialty mouthrinse, which will kill microbes and soothe your tongue. Be sure to buy a brand that is alcohol-free, since an alcohol-based mouthwash can dry out your palate and be excruciating to use!
With regular use of such a product, you can gradually clear up these little ulcers in your mouth, all while minimizing that bad breath of yours. To speed the process, you might consider also purchasing a specialty tongue scraper and an oral care probiotics kit, which can cleanse away the bacteria on your tongue and keep them from returning.