Canker sores

Canker sores

Chris Schach

Author Bio -

Key Points
*More commonly known as Canker sores
*Exact cause is unknown, but certain factors may worsen the condition
*Affect approximately 25% of the population
*Often consist of small lesions in the mouth, lips or tongue

Aphthous ulcers, or Canker sores, are a fairly common condition, affecting approximately 25% of the population. Most often affecting the mouth, lips or tongue, lesions can also from on the genitals in some cases. Lesions consist of sores on the affected tissue with a white, gray or yellow base. Lesions can be painful and last from 1-4 weeks, depending on the lesion's classification.

The exact cause of Aphthous ulcers is unknown, but certain factors may worsen the condition, including stress, trauma, or vitamin deficiencies. Persons with anemia or weakened immune systems may be more likely to develop Aphthous ulcers.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)

Intraoral herpes
Crohn's disease
Celiac disease

Key Points
*Diagnosis based on lesion appearance
*Further examination and testing may be required to determine type

Aphthous ulcers are generally diagnosed based on appearance, then further classified by type. The three types of Aphthous ulcers are:
*Minor: Consists of small lesion/lesions
*Major: Consists of larger, deeper, more persistent lesions, which cause scarring
*Herpetiform: Similar in appearance to minor Aphthous ulcers, most often on the tongue

*No cure for Aphthous ulcers
*Goal of treatment is to control pain
*Ulcers heal in 1-2 weeks in most cases
*Topical calcineurin inhibitors or Prednisone may be prescribed in severe cases

OTC Options: Local anesthetics, antibacterial mouthwash, protective pastes

80 percent of aphthous ulcer cases are minor, and do not require treatment by a doctor. Several OTC options are available to help alleviate the pain associated with the lesions, including oral local anesthetics, antibacterial mouthwashes, and protective pastes. It is recommended that affected persons avoid foods or products that spark episodes, take vitamins, ensure plenty of rest.

If sores occur frequently or do not heal, health care professionals may prescribe topical steroids such as Prednisone or topical calcineurin inhibitors. Other medications, such as Dapsone or cholchine, may be used in cases where the persistence of lesions is longterm.

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