If you've found a small, painful white spot inside your mouth, you probably have a canker sore. The presence of bad breath makes it even likelier. But what causes canker sores? Bacteria does, and so do many other things.
A canker sore is a small ulcer in the tissues of the gums, tongue or cheeks. (That's why it's also known as an "aphthous ulcer.") Most canker sores share the same characteristics. They are round and whitish, usually with a circle of red, irritated tissue surrounding them. Often, they are covered with a thin layer of mucus. And people with canker sores tend to have bad breath.
Most annoyingly of all, these sores hurt - a lot. The typical canker sore is extremely sensitive. Even a mild stimulus - like a finger or the tip of the tongue - can make these ulcers ache. And should you accidentally bite a canker sore, you're in for an excruciating jolt.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a bacterial infection usually causes canker sores. However, many other things can contribute to these oral ulcers, including hormonal changes, vitamin deficiencies, food allergies, overly aggressive tooth cleaning or even reactions to the alcohol, dyes and irritants in cheap dental products.
Just remember that, regardless of what irritates the mouth, a canker sore is ultimately an immune reaction to the bacteria that invade the aggravated area.
To soothe the aches of a canker sore and eliminate the microbes that have taken hold, try rinsing with an alcohol-free specialty mouthwash or an all-natural periotherapy rinse. These products get the job done without causing any extra agony.
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