Aphthous ulcers (aphthae, or canker sores) are ulcers that form on the mucous membranes of the mouth or genitals. A canker sore is a painful, open sore in the mouth, which is white or yellow and surrounded by a bright red area. Canker sores are common, but the cause in many cases is unknown. Canker sores can occur at any age, but often they first appear when you are between 10 and 40 years of age.Canker sores differ from cold sores in that they occur on the internal soft tissues of your mouth and aren’t contagious. Conversely, cold sores almost always start out on the lips and don’t often spread to the soft tissues of your mouth. Canker sores can run in families. They may also be linked to problems with the body’s immune (defense) system.
The sores may occur after a mouth injury due to dental work, aggressive tooth cleaning, or biting the tongue or cheek. RAS typically starts in childhood or adolescence. About 20% of the population (1 in 5 people) have aphthous ulcers at any given time. Aphthous ulcers typically last for 10-14 days and they heal without leaving a scar. They occur most commonly with viral infections. Aphthous ulcers cause include stress, fatigue, illness, injury from accidental biting, hormonal changes, menstruation, sudden weight loss, food allergies, the foaming agent in toothpaste (SLS), and deficiencies in vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid. Immune deficiencies – Ulcers similar to RAS may be seen in HIV and some other immune defects. Certain types of chemotherapy cause mouth ulcers as a side effect. Treatment is usually not necessary. The ulcers will usually resolve in 10 to 14 days if left untreated.
The main goal of treatment is to lessen the pain and discomfort they cause and promote healing of the ulcers. Topical corticosteroids (TCs) remain the mainstays of treatment. To prevent bacterial infection, brush and floss your teeth regularly and visit the dentist for routine care. Antibacterial mouthwashes to reduce secondary infection. Antibacterial mouthwashes to reduce secondary infection. A multi-vitamin with iron should be taken every day to counteract any possible vitamin or iron deficiency. Other treatment is home remedy. Make a paste of baking soda and water; apply directly to the ulcers.
Aphthous Ulcer Treatment and Prevention Tips
1. Antibacterial mouthwashes to reduce secondary infection.
2. In severe cases, oral colchicine, dapsone and perhaps thalidomide.
3. Tincture of benzoin can be used as a protectant for recurring aphthous ulcers.
4. Topical cortisone treatment applied to the ulcers several times a day may relieve the pain and shorten healing time.
5. Topical anesthetic gel applied to the ulcers will provide symptomatic relief and make it possible to eat without pain.
6. Regular use of mouthwash may help prevent or reduce the frequency of sores.
7. Some cases, switching toothpastes can prevent mouth ulcers.
8. Take caution when brushing or flossing teeth, and be extra careful when using a toothpick.