Aphthous ulcer is a common condition in individuals among all ages. It is a type of mouth ulcer that occurs on the inside of the mouth, lips, cheeks, the base of the gums, tongue, or throat. Although the condition can sometimes cause extreme pain, it is not known to be contagious and its causes are not clearly affirmed.
The widely known type of aphthous ulcer is the recurrent aphthous ulcer (RAS). RAS is also known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis and typically appear as round or oval in shape.
Some of the common triggers of aphthous ulcers are emotional stress, sleep deprivation, mouth trauma such as accidental biting of the lips or tongue, vigorously brushing the teeth, some foods that contain natural acids such as tomatoes, citrus, or oranges, the lack of some vitamins such as vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, and medications.
According to studies, a number of people who have recurrent aphthous ulcers have a family history of the same type ulcers, therefore, inheritance is generally pointed out as a factor in this condition. If most family members are having this type of ulcer, you are most likely to have them too.
It is observed that females who are in their phase of menstruation tends to develop these type of ulcers, and still reoccur during the same phase. Pregnant women on the other hand, detected that the aphthous ulcer tends to temporarily disappear during their pregnancy stage. Hormonal changes are then denoted as one of the risk factors for aphthous ulcer.
Although the condition can heal on its own, some are painful enough to get some medications.
Chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash may be helpful to reduce the inflammation and aids in faster healing of the sores. Gargle with the solution at least twice a day and rinse thoroughly.
You can opt for steroid lozenges to help soothe the pain. Some common brand names are Corlan pellets and Betnesol tablets. You can let the tablet dissolve on the ulcer. Steroid lozenges help in preventing the full eruption of the sores. An application of lozenges for about 4 times a day may aid in healing the sores more rapidly.
Pain killers that are usually designed as an oral rinse, gel, or mouth spray is commonly used to relieve the pain. A few brands include Difflam (benzydamine spray), and Bonjela (choline salicylate gel). It is important to note that these medications should not be applied to children as it leads to some serious health conditions such as Reye’s syndrome.
If the pain still persists despite of the over-the-counter medications used and lasted more than 3 weeks without a positive reaction to drugs it is best to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatments. Your doctor may have a thorough identification of the Eyes nose and throat (ENT) to further the diagnosis, or may require a small sample of the ulcer to be examined (biopsy) to rule out cancer. Cancer of the mouth typically appears as an unusual mouth ulcer that does not heal.