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The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and containing the teeth, gums, and tongue. Foodstuffs are broken down mechanically in the mouth by chewing and saliva is added as a lubricant. Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that digests starch. Any opening or aperture in the body. The mouth in both senses of the word is also called the os, the Latin word for an opening, or mouth.

The o in os is pronounced as in hope. The genitive form of os is oris from which comes the word oral. So, what are they. Cold sores come from a virus, and that virus can be shared by kissing, or by sharing eating utensils, or any other form of close contact between individuals. You may find over-the-counter creams and ointments helpful in easing the pain and discomfort they cause, and these treatments may also hasten healing. If you get them often, you may want to look into prescription remedies.

When a cold sore outbreak develops, you may notice a tingle. Ice or a cold compress can help at these times. Prescription medicines are available as well, including antiviral pills and creams. Talk to your doctor about a choice that might work for you. Nonprescription options for pain include aspirin (not in children) and acetaminophen.

Babies and older adults are the people most likely develop thrush, which is caused by Candida yeast. But other causes can bring this out in anyone, including antibiotics, a weak immune system, medications like inhaled corticosteroids, and diabetes. If you try to wipe the patches away, you could experience painful soreness. Also called candidiasis, babies less than a month old and older adults are most likely to develop thrush. People who wear dentures are at greater risk as well.

For a diagnosis, see your doctor. This one is rare, and, fortunately, painless. Black hairy tongue occurs when the tiny bumps on your tongue seem increase in size, trapping bacteria. This gives your tongue a black, hairy appearance. Antibiotics, smoking, neglecting good oral hygiene habits, and drinking staining beverages like tea or coffee can cause black, hairy tongue.

Sometimes the problem is a lack of saliva. If you brush your tongue along with your teeth, and perhaps by trying a tongue scraper, you can usually rid yourself of the condition. However, some people need special medication. The cause of canker sores is mysterious.

But there is no mystery if you have one-these painful mouth blisters can be hard to ignore. They can appear nearly anywhere on the flesh of the mouth, including your gums, lips, tongue, and inside your cheek. Infections, hormones, stress, and a lack of essential nutrients can be cold sore triggers. Dehydration and some medications may cause them, too. It is possible that small injuries inside your mouth can also cause them, such as when you bite your cheek while chewing.

Also called aphthous ulcers, canker sores usually last a week or two. They are not contagious. You can help prevent cold sores in several ways.

Keep your mouth clean of debris by brushing and flossing between meals. Avoid toothbrushes with firm bristles. Work on reducing stress. Also note that alcohol-based mouthwash may make them irritated. If your canker sores are long-lasting and severe, you may need more intensive treatments, and these may include prescription medications, dental lasers, or creams that numb the sores. It usually occurs when your mouth is irritated, for example from rough patches on teeth, ill-fitting dentures, or tobacco use (both smoking and chewing tobacco).

Be careful, as leukoplakia can be precancerous.