Causes, symptoms, and the ways to prevent aphthous ulcer

What is aphthous ulcer?

Aphthous ulcer refers to painful and recurrent lesions in oral mucosa. Aphthous ulcer can occur in large, small, and herpes forms. These lesions have a circular or oval form and they appear with a gray-yellow color, red margins, and an almost dominant form. In terms of location, aphthous ulcer mainly affects the anterior part of the oral cavity, and the most common locations of aphthous ulcer are above the lip, buccal mucosa, oral palm, under and sides of the tongue.

Symptoms of aphthous ulcer

  • Aphthous ulcer is usually small and painful with low depth. It is covered by a gray membrane. The margins of aphthous ulcer are surrounded by a dark red color.
  • Aphthous ulcer can appear on lips, gum, inside the cheeks, tongue, palate, and throat. At the time of occurrence of aphthous ulcer, usually 2-3 lesions appear. However, sudden appearance of 10-15 aphthous ulcer lesions at the same time is not improbable.
  • Aphthous ulcer may be painful in the first 2-3 days, so that the affected person may have difficulty with eating or speaking.
  • Sometimes, the feeling of paresthesia or irritation is experienced for 24 hours before the appearance of aphthous ulcer.

What is the cause of aphthous ulcer?

  1. The role of genetic factors in occurrence of aphthous ulcer

As many diseases, genetic predisposition and family history are effective factors in occurrence of aphthous ulcer. Studies suggest that the children born to patients without aphthous ulcer have a 20% probability of being involved in aphthous ulcer lesions.

  1. Immunologic disorders and aphthous ulcer

Although some researchers have considered aphthous ulcer as an autoimmune disease, the role of immunity factors in the occurrence of aphthous ulcer has not been clearly specified yet.

  1. Stress and aphthous ulcer

It seems that stress is considered as at least one underlying cause of occurrence of aphthous ulcer. As indicated in different studies, the ratio of occurrence of aphthous ulcer in people with stress to the healthy people suggests a significant relationship.

  1. Food allergies and aphthous ulcer

Some food allergies are effective in the occurrence of aphthous ulcer. Even if the allergies to some foods such as hazelnut, walnut, chocolate, honey, tomato, strawberry, chewing gum, and some toothpastes are not a primary cause, they can be considered at least as a predisposing factor.

  1. The effect of hormonal agents in occurrence of aphthous ulcer

Occurrence or exacerbation of aphthous ulcer before menstruation period and its relief during pregnancy have proven the hormonal changes and especially increased estrogen as an effective agent in occurrence of aphthous ulcer lesions.

  1. The role of nutritional deficiencies in occurrence of aphthous ulcer

Some vitamin deficiencies are effective in the occurrence of aphthous ulcer. Deficiency of vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron has been reported in 5-15% of patients affected by aphthous ulcer; usually, improving these deficiencies can lead to decrease of the lesion’s severity.

  1. Other effective factors in occurrence of aphthous ulcer

Trauma, bacterial agents, digestive disorders, and other similar agents have been introduced as predisposing factors in occurrence of aphthous ulcer.

Preventing aphthous ulcer

Usually, aphthous ulcer improves without any intervention; however, during the occurrence period, it is accompanied by pain and irritation. Aphthous ulcer mainly occurs in adolescence and people in their 30s, and it is more prevalent among women.

  1. In order to prevent the occurrence of aphthous ulcer, avoid using toothpaste and mouth rinses containing irritating materials.
  2. Avoid chewing gums and eating hard, stiff, and spicy foods to prevent aphthous ulcer.
  3. Keep your mouth clean by regularly brushing your teeth and using dental floss after every meal to prevent aphthous ulcer.

How to relieve the pain caused by aphthous ulcer

The following solutions will help to relieve the pain caused by aphthous ulcer:

  • Use calmative supplies in drugstores such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for relieving aphthous ulcer pain.
  • In the case of occurrence of aphthous ulcer, wash your mouth with brine solution or mouth rinse.
  • Apply magnesium hydroxide solution on aphthous ulcer lesions several times a day.
  • Apply dilute hydrogen peroxide solution of aphthous ulcer lesions by using a cotton swab.
  • In order to relieve the pain caused by aphthous ulcer, use vitamin C or vitamin B complex.
  • Zinc-containing lozenges can decrease aphthous ulcer pain.



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