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What is Aphthae? How Do Aphthae Pass?

A canker sores or aphthous ulcers are small, white, painful sores that develop on the soft tissues in the mouth or at the base of the gums. These lesions occur in sensitive areas of the mouth, such as the tongue, gums, cheeks and palate, and can be painful and may prevent a person from eating or drinking. It is a common and non-contagious oral problem.

What is Aphthae? How Do Aphthae Pass?

While canker sores usually heal spontaneously within a week or two, a dentist or specialist should be consulted for canker sores that are larger than normal or do not heal with severe pain.

What Causes Aphthae?

The causes of aphthae are not completely known, but research suggests that the condition may be caused by one or more external triggers. In about 40 percent of cases, a family history of ulcers was found. Therefore, genetic factors are thought to play a role. It commonly occurs between the ages of 10 and 19. The factors thought to cause canker sores can be listed as follows:

  • Low immunity and body resistance
  • Emotional stress and psychological problems
  • Vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid or iron deficiency
  • Smoking and alcohol use 
  • Food sensitivities and allergic reaction
  • Hormone dysfunction and changes in hormones
  • Behçet's disease and diseases that cause inflammation in the mouth
  • Psychological disorders such as stress, depression and anxiety
  • Excessive consumption of acidic fruits and spices
  • Use of certain medications that cause side effects
  • Habit of biting the dish

What are the Symptoms of Aphthae?

Most aphthous ulcers are round or oval sores with red edges and a white or yellow center. Before the lesions and sores appear, you may notice something like a tingling or burning sensation in the mouth. In addition, symptoms can be listed as follows:

  • Burning and tingling sensation
  • One or more painful sores in the mouth
  • Small, round sores that are white, gray or yellow in color with red edges
  • Increased pain when speaking or eating
  • Wounds that can spread to the outer part of the mouth,

What are the Types of Aphthae?

Aphthous ulcers are divided into three main groups according to their size. These are;   

Minor Aphthae: Moderately painful sores that are common, can recur and typically appear between the ages of 10 and 20. They usually heal within a week or two.   

Major Aphthae: This type, which is not very common, is larger than about 1 centimeter in diameter and is usually gray and white ulcers. Healing may take longer than 2 weeks and may leave scars. It can also cause difficulty swallowing, fever and weakness in some people.   

Herpetiform Aphthae: These are lesions that occur in very small (1-2 mm) groups. This rare type can heal between 7 and 30 days without leaving scars. It is usually seen in older people and can cause severe pain.

What Are Aphtha Treatment Methods?

Aphthous ulcers usually heal spontaneously within 1 to 2 weeks without the need for any treatment.Aphthous treatment, depending on the severity and extent of the condition, is planned by the dentist or specialist.    

In the treatment plan prepared by the specialist, it is aimed to control the pain symptoms, accelerate the healing time and prevent recurrence of the wounds.  

Experts may recommend anesthetic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory topical treatments depending on the degree of aphthae. If topical treatments do not result in improvement, some systemic treatments may be applied. Within a few days after the treatment is started, a reduction in pain and shrinkage of the sores is observed.     

There are also a number of methods that can help prevent mouth ulcers, relieve pain and reduce the risk of complications. These can be listed as follows:

  • Avoid acidic, spicy, harsh and irritating foods
  • Reduce factors that can cause stress
  • Cigarettes and similar tobacco products should be avoided
  • Avoid talking while eating to prevent biting
  • Pay attention to flossing and brushing after meals
  • Consume plenty of fluids and avoid excessively hot liquids and foods
  • Hard toothbrushes can damage the gums, so medium-hard toothbrushes should be preferred
  • Mix water and baking soda and apply on the wound to control symptoms
  • You can gargle daily with salt water or carbonated water

Updated Date:03 March 2023Creation Date:04 August 2023