Aphthous stomatitis is a type of a mouth ulcer that affects the mucous membranes of the mouth. The other names of Aphthous stomatitis are aphthae, aphthous ulcer, and canker sores. Aphthous stomatitis is a heredity disorder and found mostly in women than in men. Aphthous stomatitis is an ulcer, oval sore or recurrent round that is developed on the skin which is loosely bound to the underlying bone such as inner lining of the lips or cheeks inside the mouth. It gives severe pain to the individual whenever he tries to swallow anything. It is totally different from normal ulcerous growth found in oral cavity. Mouth and oral cavity is repeatedly attacked by ulcer causing intense pain in swallowing. Formation of red bumps like growth and circular patches of growth is commonly observed in persons with aphthous stomatitis.
What Causes Canker Sores
The exact cause of the Aphthous stomatitis is not clear yet. It is researched that around 40% of people suffering from Aphthous stomatitis have a family history of it. It is also believed that the immune system of the body is disturbed by some external factors and reacts negatively to the mucosal tissues protein. Several factors that are known as causes of Aphthous stomatitis include
- Certain toothpastes that contains Sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming component of toothpaste)
- Nutritional deficiency of Vitamin B, folic acid, and iron
- Lack of sleep
- Emotional stress
- Certain allergic foods
- Mechanical trauma
- Certain medications such as nicroandil
- Viral infections
Symptoms Of Canker Sore
The symptoms of Aphthous stomatitis include
- Ulcers in the inner part of the mouth such as inner linings of cheeks, lips, or on the tongue
- A red base ulcer that is covered with a yellow layer
- Uncomfortable chewing
- Difficulty in Swallowing
- Lesion can heal in 7-15 days
- Lesion has a tendency to reappear
Aphthous stomatitis may appear as one or multiple rounds that are painful and shallow. The ulcer is covered with an overlying creamy-white or grey and red halo. Predominantly, they appear in the inner portion of the mouth. Sometimes they can also appear in the genital areas. Tingling sensation and swelling are also the signs of this disease. Consumption of certain allergic foods also triggers the formation of ulcer causing swelling and pain.
Canker Sore Types
The types of Aphthous stomatitis are
- Simple aphthous ulcers
This is the most common type of Aphthous stomatitis and has three sub-types
- Minor aphthous ulcers– the most common type of ulcer. This is also known as MIkulicz ulcers. They first appear in childhood. The ulcers are shallow and can heal in 1-2 weeks. But they reoccur frequently.
- Major Aphthous ulcers– less commonly occurred ulcer type, also known as Sutton’s ulcers. These ulcers are deep ones and leave a scar. They can heal within 6 weeks but reoccur frequently.
- Herpetoform aphthous ulcers– rarely found type of ulcer. They generally appear in young adults, mostly females. They can appear at any part of the mouth.
- Comples aphathous ulcers
There are multiple ulcers present in complex aphthous ulcers.
- Non-sexually acquired genital ulceration (NSGU)
The complex ulcers that are found in genital areas are known as non-sexually acquired genital ulceration. NSGU is commonly found in young females. The problem is possibly linked with viral infections. The ulcers are very painful and swelling on that area is severe.
Several conditions that are risk factors for developing Aphthous stomatitis include
- inflammatory bowel disease
- HIV infection
- Cyclic neutropenia
- EBV infection
- Deficiency of iron, zinc, foliate in blood
- Deficiency of vitamins such as B1,B2, B6 or B12
- FAPA (fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis, adenitis)
- Gluten sensitivity
- Lipschutz ulcer
People affected with minor Aphthous stomatitis do not require any tests. Complex or major type of ulcers needed blood test to know
- Blood count
- Deficiency of iron, foliate, or B12
- Faecal calprotectin test to detect crohn disease
- Gluten antibody test for coeliac disease
A microbiological test is conducted to evaluate the presence of herpes simplex virus and candida albicans.
Canker Sore Treatment
Aphthous stomatitis cannot remove completely as no cure is discovered till date. Mostly, minor ulcers heal within 1-2 weeks after infection, without any kind of treatment. Major and complex type of ulcers needs treatment. The main objective of the treatment is to lower the pain and discomfort and avoid its recurrence. Many treatment options are available for Aphthous stomatitis, some of them are
- Protective pastes that makes a barrier between the ulcer and outer environment
- Medicated toothpaste that do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate
- Antibacterial mouth wash to reduce secondary infections such as tetracycline suspension
- Use of silver nitrate stick for superficial tissue cauterization
- Dietary supplements of minerals and vitamins
- Stress management
- Giving Local anesthetics to reduce pain such as benzocaine and lignocaine
- Corticosteroids in the form of creams, lotions or paste
- Anti-flammatory oral medications
Taking vitamin B in any form will help to overcome the intensity of the disease. The patients who are affected with this problem should avoid using toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate. Mouth washes, creams and lotions can help to alleviate the ulcer formation and pain. Sometimes deficiency of Vitamin B can cause Aphthous stomatitis and hence it is recommended to take B vitamin to get rid of this problem. Doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory gel which contains fluocinonide to reduce swelling.
Canker Sore Home Remedies
From years, various types of natural home remedies are used to treat Aphthous stomatitis, which includes antiseptics, herbs, adhesive pastes, vitamins and steroids. However, all these treatments only reduce the pain or eliminate lesions for a short time period. These all do not have any permanent or long lasting effect.
Natural home remedies for Aphthous stomatitis include
- Aloe Vera juice or gel
- Turmeric and honey
- Tea tree oil mouthwash
- Eating soothing foods such as ice-cream, yogurt, and custard
- Drink cool water or drinks
- Cranberry juice
- Food with vitamin B such as broccoli, spinach, bell pepper, asparagus, beets, and lentils
Aphthous stomatitis is a ulcer in mouth, so it is recommended
- To avoid spicy, hot and fermented food
- Hard food such as nuts toast
- Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol, and tobacco
- Develop a proper oral hygiene
- Relaxation exercises
Aphthous stomatitis is not a contagious disease. People can prevent themselves to reduce the risk of developing ulcers by making changes in their lifestyle. Generally, ulcers do not require any medical treatment, so it is good to understand the type of ulcer that is occurred in the mouth and take treatment according to that. Ulcers that take long time to heal or associated with fever needs medical help. Ulcers that develop again and again might show severe condition or infection. It is best to visit doctor, if a person regularly develops ulcers.