Aphthous or mouth ulcers
Aphthous and oral lesions are inflammatory events that occur in the oral mucosa, turning into erythematous lesions similar to ulcers and ulcerous wounds and causing pain, making chewing and swallowing harder and affecting the quality of life of the patient.
One characteristic of aphthous ulcers is their recurrence: someone who has one is likely to have more in the future. 20% of the population suffers from recurrent aphthous ulcers.
They are more frequent in pre-teens, teens and young adults and their frequency decreases over the years.
Despite being benign lesions, aphthous ulcers can be very painful, accompanied by a burning sensation and they often hinder daily activities, such as talking or eating. Aphthous ulcers are not contagious, but the tendency to have them is hereditary.
Their cause or causes are not completely clear yet. However, they appear to be caused by an imbalance of our immune system and certain factors may trigger aphthous ulcers:
- Certain nutritional deficiencies, such as some vitamins and minerals
- Hormone imbalances, due to menstruation cycles or intake of anovulation medication
- Oral traumas or lesions, accidental biting, aggressive dental cleaning
- Anxiety, stress
- Digestive system disorders, gastroesophageal reflux
- Certain foods and toxic habits
- Some medicines
Most aphthous ulcers are self-limiting and disappear on their own within 7 to 14 days without leaving any after effects or scars.