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.
Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.
Possible causes include:
Tooth decay (cavities)
Worn tooth enamel
Exposed tooth root
In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.
Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity. (ADA)
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