Canker sores develop inside the mouth as small white or grey sores that have a red border. They are not contagious and may occur as one or several sores. Although the exact cause is not known, scientists believe that problems with immune system, emotional stress, menstruation or injury to the mouth may be common triggers. In some cases, trauma to the mouth such as bitting the inside of the cheek or tongue or chewing sharp foods can also cause a canker sore. Citrus or acidic foods can irritate a canker sore and make it uncomfortable.
As there is no cure for canker sores there are over-the-counter topical medication and mouth rinses to ease the pain and discomfort. Canker sores usually heal on their own within one to two weeks. Antibiotics and some oral bandages may reduce secondary infection.
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