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Aphthous ulcers are single or multiple ulcers of the inside of the mouth that tend to recur. Although, lesions may affect patients at any age, but young adults are usually more succeptible to this disease. Aphthous Ulcers is a very common type of skin disorders but is very dangerous also. Aphthous ulcers are single or multiple ulcers of the inside of the mouth that tend to recur. Aphthous ulcers are sometimes caused by Vitamin-B deficiency. The ulcers usually last one to two weeks.

It is a small sensitive painful ulcer of the mouth. Aphthous ulcers are also medically known as Canker sores. Aphthous ulcers typically last for around 10-14 days and they generally heal without leaving a scar.

There are basically 3 types of Aphthous Ulcers:

  • Recurrent minor aphthous ulcers, which occur in up to 80% of aphthous ulcer cases. They are usually less than 5mm in diameter and heal within 1-2 weeks.
  • Major aphthous ulcers, which are large ulcers i.e. more than 10mm., that take weeks or months to heal.
  • Herpetiform Ulcers, which are multiple pinpoint ulcers that heal within a month. commonly occurs on tounge.

Symptoms of Aphthous Ulcers:

Some important symptoms of aphthous ulcer includes:

  • The burning or Tingling sensation are the early symptoms of aphthous ulcer.
  • General discomfort or uneasiness.
  • Round, white sores with a red edge can also be seen in the patient of aphthous ulcer.
  • Listlessness.
  • The lymph nodes will get swell.
  • Skin lesion on mucous membranes of the mouth may occur, which are painful and begins as a red spot or bump.
  • Fever: Fever may also be developed in aphthous ulcer.
  • Painful sore or sores inside your mouth - on your tongue, under your tongue (soft palate), inside your cheeks or lips, and at the base of your gums.

What are the causes of Aphthous Ulcers ?

The exact cause of aphthous ulcers is unknown yet there might be some causes like :

  • In most cases, the ulcers develop for no apparent reason in people who are healthy.
  • In some cases, the ulcers are related to other factors or diseases. These include:
    • Faulty immune system function
    • Changes in hormone levels. Some women find that mouth ulcers occur just before their period. In some women, the ulcers only develop after the menopause.
    • Some ex-smokers find they develop ulcers only after stopping smoking.
    • Nutritional problems, such as a deficiency of vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid or iron
    • Rarely, a food allergy may be the cause.
    • Mouth ulcers run in some families. So, a genetic factor may play a part in some cases.
    • stress or tissue injury may cause the eruption of canker sores
    • A reaction to a medication is a rare cause. For example, Nicorandil, anti-inflammatory drugs, and oral nicotine replacement therapy have been reported to cause mouth ulcers in some people.
    • Mouth ulcers are more common in people with Crohn's disease, coeliac disease, HIV infection, and Bechet's disease. But the ulcers may not be aphthous type.

Treatment of Aphthous Ulcer:

There is no cure for aphthous ulcers. The main goal of treatment is to lessen the pain and discomfort they cause and promote healing of the ulcers.

Some treatments options that may aid the healing process are :-

  • Chlorhexidine Mouthwash may reduce the pain. It may also help ulcers to heal more quickly. It also helps to prevent ulcers from becoming infected. Chlorhexidine mouthwash is usually used twice a day.
  • The use of benzydamine spray, or choline salicylate gel is very beneficial for the treatment of aphthous ulcer.
  • Aciclovir, a type of antiviral medication may sometimes be helpful for mouth ulcers caused by the herpes simplex virus.
  • Where available, superficial tissue cauterization using Debacterol or use a silver nitrate stick
  • Avoid products or food mostly acidic food, that you know trigger or exacerbate ulcers.
  • Improve diet or take dietary supplements of vitamins or minerals that are effective for the treatment of aphthous ulcer.
  • Treatment of aphthous ulcers may include corticosteroids applied as a paste or used as a mouthwash.
  • In aphthous ulcer, topical or oral tetracycline suspension may be given.
  • Steroid lozenges: It is used to reduce the pain, and may help ulcers to heal more quickly. A steroid lozenge works faster.
  • Steroid paste (gel) is an alternative to a lozenge.
  • Numbing agents such as the local anaesthetics benzocaine and lignocaine (lidocaine) to help reduce pain.
  • Antibacterial mouthwashes to reduce swelling area of the skin.
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