Aphthous Stomatitis or Mouth Ulcers

Mouth | - Others | Aphthous Stomatitis or Mouth Ulcers (Disease)


An aphthous ulcer is a type of mouth ulcer that appears as a painful open sore inside the mouth or upper throat identified by a break in the mucous membrane. The condition is also known as a canker sore or aphthous stomatitis. The term aphtha means ulcer.

Recurrent aphthous ulcer affects the following nonkeratinized or poorly keratinized surfaces of the oral mucosa: labial and buccal mucosa, maxillary and mandibular sulci, unattached gingival, soft palate, tonsillar fauces, floor of the mouth, ventral surface of the tongue. The ulcers begin as small oval or round reddish swellings that usually burst within a day. The ruptured sores are covered by a thin white or yellow membrane and edged by a red halo.

Causes and Risk factors

The cause is unknown and they are not contagious. However citrus fruits (e. g. , oranges and lemons), physical trauma, stress, lack of sleep, sudden weight loss, food allergies, immune system reactions and deficiencies in vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid may contribute to their development. Emotional stress and local trauma or injury to the mouth, such as sharp metal braces, brushing with hard toothbrushes, and hot foods can lead to canker sores. Smoking and dentures can also contribute to the problem. Other possible causes of canker sores include autoimmune disorders.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Generally, the sores heal within two weeks without scarring. Fever is rare, and the sores are rarely associated with other diseases. Usually, a person has only one or a few canker sores at a time.

Canker sores typically resolve without any specific treatment. But measures can be taken to alleviate the pain and discomfort and to hasten the course. Therapies include topical medications applied directly on, mouthwashes, and oral medications. ...