Tuesday, February 16, 2010
What are canker sores?
Canker sores are shallow, painful sores in the mouth. They are usually red or may sometimes have a white coating over them. You might get them on the inside of your lips, the insides of your cheeks, the base of your gums or under your tongue. Canker sores are different from fever blisters, which usually are on the outside of your lips or the corners of your mouth.
Anyone can get canker sores, but women and people in their teens and 20s get them more often. Canker sores may run in families, but they aren't contagious. Doctors don't know exactly what causes canker sores. Mouth injuries, stress, poor nutrition, food allergies and genetics are some of the things that may increase your chances of getting a canker sore.
There is no cure for canker sores, but they usually go away on their own in 7 to 10 days. For pain relief, you can try taking ibuprofen (two brand names: Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (one brand name: Tylenol). A number of over-the-counter medicines are available to relieve canker sore pain or to protect the sores from becoming irritated when you eat, drink or brush your teeth. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if one of these products might be right for you.
What can I do to prevent canker sores?
Unfortunately, doctors don't know of anything that prevents canker sores from forming. However, you may be able to reduce mouth irritation by avoiding things like chewing gum, and hard, crunchy or spicy foods. Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush after meals and flossing every day will keep your mouth free of food that might trigger a canker sore. If you get canker sores often, or if they're very painful, talk to your family doctor.
Source & Citation
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff.
Management of Aphthous Ulcers by DR McBride, M.D. (American Family Physician July 1, 2000, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000701/149.html)
Thursday, February 4, 2010
A cavity develops when a tooth decays or breaks down. It is a hole that can grow bigger and deeper over time. Cavities are also called dental caries, and if you have one it's important to get it repaired.
Plaque is the beginning of a cavity. It is a sticky, slimy substance made up mostly of the germs that cause tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth make acids and when plaque clings to your teeth, the acids can eat away at the enamel.
If not taken care of, acids can continue to make their way through the enamel and the inside parts of your tooth can begin to decay. A cavity will eventually decay all the way inside a tooth, where the nerve endings are. Ouch!
Proper brushing and flossing are methods of prevention against cavities as well as regular dental check ups. Make sure you see your dentist at least every six months.
Source & Citation