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Aphthous Ulcers

An Aphthous ulcer is an ulcer which is either single or multiple and which occurs on the inside of the mouth. It is an open sore inside the mouth which is caused by a break in the mucous membrane. The condition of Aphthous ulcers is also known as aphthous stomatitis. The sores are generally multiple and recurr.



The exact cause of Aphthous ulcers is not known. In some cases it is thought to be caused by the overactive nature of the body’s own immune system. I llness, hormonal changes, injury from accidental biting, deficiencies in vitamin B12, fatigue and stress are factors that seem to provoke it. In some individuals Aphthous ulcer can be due to detergents found in most kinds of toothpastes. Most toothpaste includes irritating detergents like sodium lauroyl sarcosinate and sodium lauryl sulfate which lead to an increased incidence of mouth sores.



At the site of the future sore the mouth ulcer begins with a burning or     tingling sensation. It progresses to form a bump or a redspot in a few days. It is then followed by an open ulcer.The ulcer appears as yellow oval or white and has an inflmmed red border.In some cases a halo or a white border can be seen around the lesion.


The white, yellow, or grey colored area within the red boundary is because of the formation of layers of fibrin. Fibrin is protein which is involved in the clotting of blood. The ulcer is extremely painful and on being agitated can be accompanied by a painful swelling of the lymph nodes below the jaw. This     can often be mistaken for a toothache.


The ulcers are categorised on the basis of the diameter of the lesion. The most common being Minor aphthous ulcers . they are less than 10mm in diameter and take around one to two weeks to heal. Mouth ulcers greater than 10mm are classified as Major aphthous ulcer. These are extremely painful and take about a month to heal. Another classification of the ulcer is Herpetiform ulcers. They are usually less than 1-2mm in diameter and are in clusters. They take around less than a month to heal.



Most ulcers do not need any treatment and heal in around a fortnight. The application of Topical cortisone treatment helps in reducing the healing period and provide some relief. In case deficiency of vitamins or iron is the cause then in such cases multi-vitamins should be taken everyday. Rembrandt toothpaste is advisable for people having Aphthous ulcer.


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