Aphthous Ulcers: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Skin Disorders

Aphthous ulcers are more commonly known as canker sores. These are small painful ulcers that typically cause bad breath and craters in the mouth but should not be confused as being a form of cancer. They are most often found under the tongue or on the inside lining of the cheeks or lips. Usually they heal within two weeks and they don’t normally leave a permanent mark or scar. They are identified by their red tip but are mostly white or yellow. Twenty percent of people experience these at some point in time.

There are three main categories of these ulcers – minor, major and herpetiform. The first type is found on the soft palate and the floor of the mouth and they are generally small and rather shallow. The second type is larger and deeper than the minor while the herpetiform are more intense are appear in larger numbers than the others. Individuals who experience the last form should be tested for HIV because this condition is a main cause of herpetiform ulcers.

These sores are more commonly found in women rather than men but there is also a genetics factor to consider as well. They occur more in people that have a family history of them and even though they don’t usually inflict children younger than ten years old, they can be found in children as young as two. Usually these sores will appear one or two times in the course of a year but there are individuals who experience them more often.

The Causes and Symptoms

There are numerous causes of aphthous ulcers including the following: food or bacterium that causes various allergic reactions; a faulty immune system; vitamin B, iron and folic acid deficiencies; various cereals that can’t be digested correctly; injuries to the gums; ill-fitting dentures; and menstruation or other such things that result in changing hormones.

There might be a single ulcer or there might be a cluster of them present. These have the appearance of being red and swollen while the area around them is sensitive. There is a burning or tingling sensation. The sores appear quickly but leave after about two weeks.

The Treatment

These ulcers can be caused by various illnesses so to treat the ulcers, the underlying cause needs to be treated. Otherwise there are several different herbal remedies that can be used.

  • Aloe Vera
  • Chamomile
  • Echinacea
  • Licorice
  • Myrrh
  • Sage
  • Tea Tree Oil

Individuals who are gluten sensitive should stay away from grain products. Certain toothpastes can cause these ulcers as well. Increasing levels of various B vitamins, iron, and zinc in the system can also help.

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