(Canker Sores; Aphthous Stomatitis)
DefinitionAphthous ulcers are also known as canker sores. They are painful, temporary sores that may occur anywhere in the mouth. The sores can occur one at a time or as a group. Canker sores are generally not serious.
|Canker Sores in the Mouth|
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CausesNo one knows exactly what causes canker sores. They are thought to result from an overreaction of the immune system. Canker sores are not a form of the herpes virus. Unlike herpes, canker sores cannot spread from one person to another.
Risk FactorsCanker sores tend to occur more often in women than in men. The tendency for these sores may also run in families.The following may increase your chance of a canker sore:
- Stress or trauma in the mouth, such as biting the tongue, trauma from falls, or toothbrushes
- Certain foods (especially acidic foods, such as tomatoes and pineapples)
- Changes in hormone levels
- Deficiencies of iron , vitamin B12 , or folic acid
- Bacterial infections, such as stomach ulcers caused by the bacterium, Helicobacter pylori
- Inflammatory bowel disorders, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
- HIV infection
- Behcet's syndrome
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