Oral Aphthous Ulcers: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Duration, Prevention, Diagnosis

What is Oral Aphthous Ulcers?

Oral Aphthous Ulcers are mainly small and painful ulcer in the mouth. It is approximately 2 to 5 mm in diameter. Generally, Oral Aphthous Ulcers remains in the mouth for at least five to seven days. Oral aphthous ulcers gradually heals within two weeks with no scarring. It is produced by sloughing of necrotic inflammatory tissue. This is one of the most common problems which occur in the mouth. The canker sore is another name for Aphthous Ulcers. The affected individual has to face some problem while having food. Sometimes, talking can also create an uncomfortable situation.

What is Oral Aphthous Ulcers?

Types of Oral Aphthous Ulcers

Mainly, there are two types of oral aphthous ulcers:

Simple Canker Sore:

These simple canker sores may appear in the mouth three or four times a year. These ulcers last up to a week also. People of 10 to 20 years of age face these soring problems in their mouth.

Complex Canker Sores:

These complex canker sores are not common. Generally, this kind of oral aphthous sores occurs more often in the mouth of the people who have already had them once.

Herpetiform Aphthous Ulcers:

These are generally uncommon and it develops later in life. It is usually of pinpoint in size and has irregular edges. However, it can be larger in size as well.

It can occur in the mouth, lip, tongue, and throat. Actually, these do not need any kind of treatment. They heal on their own.

Symptoms of Oral Aphthous Ulcers

Oral aphthous ulcers are round to oval in shape with a white or yellow center and a red border. Generally, they form inside the mouth or under the tongue, inside the cheeks or lips. It can also form at the base of the gums or on the soft palate. The affected person might notice some tingling and burning sensation one or two days before the sores actually appear. The person affected with Oral aphthous ulcers may also feel some inflammation in the area of the ulcer before its appearing. These ulcers are painful and irritating. There are so many symptoms associated with Oral aphthous ulcers. These are:

  • The individuals affected with Oral aphthous ulcers may also face physical sluggishness.
  • The affected person may also suffer from swollen lymph nodes.
  • In a severe manner, the affected person may also experience fever.
  • The minor oral aphthous ulcers are generally small in size. These heal within one or two weeks without scarring.
  • In the case of major oral aphthous ulcers, the affected person may have to face a lot of pain. It can take six weeks to heal. It can also leave extensive scarring.

Causes of Aphthous Ulcers

Actually, there is no specific reason for oral aphthous ulcers. It can occur due to various reasons. There are many factors that are thought to be contributing to the development of aphthous ulcers or canker sores. These causes are:

  • Weakened immune system
  • If the affected individuals have some allergies to some foods such as coffee, chocolate, cheese, nuts, and citrus fruits, then they have to suffer from these aphthous ulcers whenever they consume them.
  • Stress is an important factor. Excessive stress can cause many problems. In the same way, stress is a well-known factor for Aphthous Ulcers.
  • Oral aphthous ulcers may also occur due to the viruses and bacteria.
  • Due to the trauma to the mouth, one may suffer from the oral aphthous ulcers.
  • Poor nutrition can lead to oral aphthous ulcers.
  • Calcium deficiency can also be another reason for oral aphthous ulcers.
  • One may suffer from oral aphthous ulcers due to the certain medications.
  • Some people have a sharp tooth surface. Due to the sharpness of the tooth surface, one may suffer from this problem.
  • Improper dental implants can cause oral aphthous ulcers.
  • Gastrointestinal tract disease can also be another reason for this ulcer.

Cold sores are also considered as oral aphthous ulcers. Cold sores are caused by viruses and these are extremely contagious. However, oral aphthous ulcers are not contagious and these cannot be spread from one person to another.

Duration of Aphthous Ulcers

The painful period of the oral aphthous ulcers lasts for three to ten days. These will disappear within two weeks.

Treatment for Aphthous Ulcers

Generally, the treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms of Oral aphthous ulcers. The doctor may ask for the medical history of the affected individual and determine the causes and treatments accordingly on the basis of the endurance and tolerance power of the affected person. Since, oral aphthous ulcers are not caused by viral and bacterial infection, hence, the antiviral medications and antibiotics are ineffective. The doctor may ask the affected person to do some things which are necessary in order to relieve or decrease the symptoms of Oral aphthous ulcers. These are:

  • Increased fluid intake
  • Acetaminophen can be taken for any kind of fever or pain
  • Proper oral hygiene should be followed
  • Topical medicines can decrease the pain of the oral aphthous ulcers
  • The affected person needs to rinse their mouth with a warm-water solution to get some relief.
  • Eat bland foods in order to minimize the discomfort
  • Steroid medications are advised only if oral aphthous ulcers is severe.

Prevention of Aphthous Ulcers

Generally, there are no preventions for oral aphthous ulcers. However, there are some ways that may be able to reduce their frequency of occurrence.

The affected person should avoid such foods that can cause irritation in the mouth including acidic and spicy foods.

The affected individuals should avoid irritation from gum chewing.

The person should brush with a soft-bristled brush after meals and flossing daily. It will help to keep the mouth free of foods that might also trigger the oral aphthous ulcers.
If the oral aphthous ulcers spread and turns into a large one, then one should go to the physician for further treatments. One should definitely avoid spicy, salty and acidic foods at that time. It will increase the irritation in the mouth. Fortunately, oral aphthous ulcers can be treated easily with home remedies, proper medications and preventions.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 9, 2022

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