What are aphthous ulcers?
Aphthous ulcers are small holes in the lining of the month. They are very painful.
What causes aphthous ulcers?
Aphthous ulcers can happen from a variety of causes. Some are listed below:
- Injury from dentures, dental work, hot food, brushing teeth.
- Irritation from certain foods such as salted nuts, citrus foods
- Premenstrual tension
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom is severe pain in the mouth after eating an acidic food such as spicy food or citrus foods. It is so painful that it can make eating and drinking very hard in the first few days.
What is the outcome?
Aphthous ulcers are not serious. Most of them settle within 1 to 2 weeks. Any ulcer thatis not healing after three weeks is suspicious and a biopsy should be done.
What is the Treatment?
1.Identify the cause if any and remove it.
For example, get dental treatment if dental caries.
2.Pain Relief Manage pain with topical xylocaine 2% gel.
3.Fast up healing Help healing with saltwater gargles, chlorhexidine mouth washes and topical steroid paste or gel like Betnovate.
- Eating and drinking
Avoid spicy and acidic foods. Drink lots of water. Eat soft food like custard, ice cream or yogurt. Drink water with a straw to avoid contact with the ulcer.
If ulcer remain persistent, more than three weeks, it should be biopsied to rule out any precancerous lesions.
Dr Sadaf Sarwar
MBBS (King Edward Medical College),
Fellow Royal Australian College of General Practitioner (FRACGP, Australia)
Ex-Assistant Professor, The University of Lahore, Pakistan
Consultant General and Family Physician