Aphthous Ulcers - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Aphthous Ulcers is an open sore in the mouth, which appears as a painful white or yellow ulcer surrounded by a bright red area.They are temporary sores that may occur anywhere in the mouth except on the gums, lips, or roof of the mouth. Benign as burning or tingling sensation and tend to be small and shallow. Women are generally affected more often than men.
A red spot or bump usually forms,which develops into an open ulcer. They can occur one at a time or as a group of sores. Although these sores are not serious, other mouth sores may be. Aphthous ulcers that occur in conjunction with symptoms of uveitis, genital ulcerations, conjunctivitis, arthritis, fever or adenopathy should prompt a search for a serious etiology.
The main symptoms of aphthous ulcers may includes:-
- Aphthous ulcers often begin with a tingling or burning sensation . In a few days, they often progress to form a red spot or bump and in last an open ulcer.
- The aphthous ulcer appears as a white or yellow oval with an inflamed red border.
- Sometimes a white circle or halo around the lesion can be observed.
- The disease may be accompanied by a painful swelling of the lymph nodes below the jaw.
- Major ulcers: This type of ulcers generally greater than 1 centimeter in diameter ,accompanied by heal with scarring and can last several weeks or even months.
- Minor ulcers :This is the most common form characterized by Heal without scarring ,having size Less than 1 centimeter in diameter and Usually last 7-14 days .
The exact cause of aphthous ulcers is uncertain, but there are some factors that trigger the production of aphthous ulcers. These includes:-
- The main cause may include emotional stress and lack of sleep.
- Injury - such as badly fitting dentures, a graze from a harsh toothbrush and reaction to certain toothpastes .
- Deficiency:Iron deficiency , or a lack of certain vitamins,such as Vitamin B12 and Folic acid may be a factor in some cases.
- Stress or trauma in the mouth, such as biting the tongue.
- Family history :The disease generally runs in families showing a genetic factor is there in some cases.
- Some ex-smokers find they develop ulcers only after stopping smoking.
- General discomfort or uneasiness.
- May have gray membrane just prior to healing.
- Changes in hormone levels:Some women find that mouth ulcers occur just before their period and in some women they only develop after the menopause.
- Fever is also a less commonly occurring symptom of Aphthous ulcers .
- Certain foods especially acidic foods, such as tomatoes and pineapples also trigger the disease .
The effective treatments for aphthous ulcers are as:-
- Avoid spicy foods, acidic fruit drinks, and very salty foods which can make the pain worse.
- Use a straw to drink, to by-pass ulcers in the front of the mouth.Do not drink hot drinks with a straw.
- Protective pastes can also be used that form a barrier over the ulcer so that exposure to irritating substances is reduced.
- Prescription topical corticosteroids such as Kenalog in Orabase or Oracort are sometimes used in very painful and hard to heal ulcers.
- Calcineurin inhibitors such as topical pimecrolimus or tacrolimus.
- Oral colchicine , dapsone and perhaps thalidomide are helpful if the case is severe.
- Numbing agents such as the local anaesthetics benzocaine and lignocaine to help reduce pain.