What is the best medicine for mouth ulcers

Small but painful: aphthous ulcers

Status: 11/30/2016 4:34 p.m. | archive
by Thomas Samboll, NDR Info

They are often only as small as the head of a pin, but they can cause quite a bit of pain: whitish, blister-like changes in the lining of the mouth. Doctors refer to them as aphthae, which means to inflame in Greek - a reference to the typical, sometimes very violent pain that is associated with them. Aphthae can also develop on the tongue and even on the tonsils. Despite their small size, they are very disturbing when eating, speaking and swallowing.

Disinfecting mouthwash solutions ensure that the aphthae heal faster.

In individual cases, aphthae can be over an inch in size. "They are usually rounded, flat, red and sometimes have a whitish coating. The trigger is often small mechanical irritations in the oral cavity, such as poorly fitting dentures on a prosthesis, crown or bridge. Even small crown margins, bite injuries that you inflict on yourself , or instruments used when visiting the dentist can lead to this ", explains Professor Ralf Smeets, who leads a consultation hour for diseases of the oral mucosa at the Hamburg University Hospital.

The causes can be varied

Even the bent bristles of an old toothbrush can cause the smallest injuries in the mouth and thus promote aphthous ulcers. How exactly this painful reaction of the oral mucosa occurs is still a mystery to medical professionals. Bacteria, viruses, a weakened immune system - all possible causes, says Ralf Smeets. Stress could also be a trigger or certain foods: "Iron deficiency, lack of folic acid, vitamin B12 or zinc is discussed. But also hypersensitivity to some foods such as nuts, tomatoes, citrus fruits," said the doctor.

VIDEO: Aphthae: Histamines can be a trigger (13 min)

How are canker sores treated?

Treatment is usually not necessary because the affected areas usually heal fairly quickly on their own. After about a week, they usually disappear again. "To relieve pain, it can sometimes be helpful to dab the affected areas with a numbing solution," explains Ralf Smeets.

This should also be achieved with laser treatments that many dentists offer. However, the costs for this, around 40 to 80 euros, must be borne by legally insured patients themselves. Which can really cost you money with multiple and recurring aphthae. Sometimes chamomile or sage tea also helps. Disinfecting mouthwash solutions can be a good and inexpensive alternative. Rinsing significantly shortens the healing time, according to experts.

The effect of special toothpastes against aphthous ulcers, however, has not yet been clearly proven. Some toothpastes are even suspected of promoting the development of aphthae because they contain the active ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate.

Aphthae are not contagious

The good news: the small canker sores are not contagious. As a rule, those affected are otherwise completely healthy. In case of doubt, however, it is better to have an aphthe examined by a specialist. Very rarely it can be a tumor. Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease, gluten intolerance, can also be behind it.

Treat and prevent aphthous ulcers

Aphthae are annoying, often very painful, small inflammations of the oral mucosa. They can have different triggers. Stress and diet usually play a role. more

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NDR Info | 11/30/2016 | 9:20 am