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Mouth Problems, Noninjury (cont.)


Many mouth problems can be prevented. Try some of the following home prevention measures to prevent:

  • Cold sores. Avoid direct physical contact with people who have a cold sore. Remember, cold sores are caused by a contagious virus (herpes type 1). Children often become infected by contact with parents, siblings, or other close relatives who have cold sores.
  • Canker sores. Avoid injury to the inside of the mouth and foods that can trigger a canker sore.
  • Bad breath. Practice good dental care: Brush your teeth twice each day, and floss once a day.
  • Dry mouth. Make sure you are drinking enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Hard candies can increase saliva and help prevent problems with a dry mouth.

Tobacco can cause mouth problems. Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Avoid alcohol, which can cause a dry mouth and bad breath and can increase your risk of canker sores.

Preparing For Your Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What is your main symptom?
  • When did your symptoms start?
  • Have you had this problem before? If so, do you know what the cause was at that time? How was it treated?
  • What home treatment measures have you tried? Have they helped?
  • What nonprescription medicines have you tried? Have they helped?
  • Have you started on any new medicines or had a change in the dosage of a medicine?
  • What is your routine for taking care of your teeth and gums? When did you last visit a dentist?
  • Do you have any health risks?

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