For the sake of everyone's stomach, I'm not going to include a picture today. Also, I couldn't think of a decent title so...Tada!

I’d never heard of canker sores being called ulcers until I moved to Australia. I don’t know if ‘canker sore’ is an American term or if it’s just my husband and in-laws that call them ulcers, but I don’t really care what they’re called—they are horrible, annoying, and I swear I bite my gums three to four times in just one meal when I have one.

Canker sores are pretty easy to spot when you have them. When you look at them, they are usually white spots on your gums or possibly your tongue. The smaller ones are round with red edges but the bigger ones have clear borders and may not be round. The bigger ones tend to hurt more too.

These sores are most commonly caused by injuring your mouth. This can be by biting your gums, brushing too hard, accidents that affect the mouth, or even from the dentist. Sometimes sensitivities to foods or toothpastes can cause them too. Emotional stress can also cause these, but that’s probably not as likely. They can also be signs of some diseases, so if you get them often with no explanation, you should schedule a visit to the doctor.

These sores go away in a matter of weeks. There are some over-the-counter products to help the healing process but keeping your mouth clean and using a soft toothbrush will do just fine with some patience. You’ll have to be careful when you eat so you don’t bite down on the sore or push food against it. And steer clear of spicy and acidic foods that will irritate the injury. If the sores last longer than three weeks or are too painful, you should see a doctor.

Avoiding mouth ulcers is easy enough and similar to treating them. Keep your mouth clean with good oral hygiene, avoid foods that irritate your mouth, and don’t bite your gums. Reducing your stress and relaxing never hurt either.

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