Aphthous Ulcers

(Canker Sores; Aphthous Stomatitis)

Definition

Aphthous 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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Causes

No 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 Factors

Canker 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
Medical conditions that may increase your chance of canker cores include:

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