Aphthous ulcers also known as Canker sores or Mouth ulcers are most commonly occuring infection. Typically, they are a shallow ulcer with a white or whitish/yellow base surrounded by a reddish border. This ulcer is seen in plenty in an individual with AIDS and is located in front and just below the bottom teeth. They occur in women more often than men. They may occur at any age, but usually first appear between the ages of 10 and 40.
A phthous ulcers can be classified into three different types:
The exact reason why aphthous ulcers develop is not yet clearly defined. Current thinking is that the immune system has been disturbed by some external factor and this results in the development of aphthous ulcers. Also, approximately 40% of people who get ulcers have a family history of aphthous ulcers. The list of possible underlying conditions mentioned in various sources as possible causes of Canker sores includes:
There is no cure for aphthous ulcers. The main goal of treatment is to lessen the pain and discomfort they cause and promote healing of the ulcers. The lack of predictability of the efficacy of a particular treatment mirrors the mystery surrounding the etiology of the condition.
Most recurrent minor aphthous ulcers heal within 1-2 weeks without any treatment. The following remedies and precautions may help:
The easiest home remedy is to apply hydrogen peroxide (1 part hydrogen peroxide and one part water with a cotton swab) on the canker sore. Then dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on the canker 3-4 times a day. This is not only soothing, but appears to help healing.
Using a toothpaste free of sodium lauryl sulfate or changing toothpastes has been shown to be helpful in some cases. Topical use of steroids, mouth rinses, may decrease recurrence. Recently, pentoxifylline has been used to prevent recurrent aphthous ulcers in an open label trial. However, blinded studies are lacking.
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