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Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that develop on the soft tissue inside the mouth or the gums. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious and do not grow on the outside of the mouth or the lips. There are many causes of canker sores, from stress to food sensitivities. While most go away on their own in a week or two, while they last they can be incredibly painful and make it difficult to speak and eat.

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1. Overzealous Brushing

According to many dentists, if the bristles of the toothbrush bend while one is brushing, he or she is pressing too hard. The gums and soft tissue of the mouth are sensitive. Vigorous brushing can cause small tears or inflammation in the tissues. These minor injuries are the most common precursors to canker sores. When brushing, apply only enough pressure to feel the bristles lightly against the mouth. A person with a canker sore should not stop brushing but should take care to be gentle around the abrasion.

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