Canker sores, or ulcers, is a defect in the mucous membrane of the mouth, that affects all layers of the epithelium. Another name for this condition is aphthous stomatitis. Each sore has a base, edges and walls. The canker sore-related factors differ greatly: from being a symptom of a pathology in the body to congenial predisposition and hereditary.
Canker sores look like small craters on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity. Their most common location is moving parts of the mouth. The onset of the disease may be triggered by various factors, the treatment for canker sores should be chosen only after establishing why they developed.
Women are more exposed to aphthous stomatitis. The canker sores in adolescents are considered to be a common condition. The defect can be passed on in the family as a hereditary disease.
There are three categories of sores, that are distinguished depending on their size and severity:
Small: they appear in 80% cases. The diameter of such sores is not more that 10 mm. They usually disappear within a week;
Large: their diameter is 10 mm and more. As a rule, they require at least a month-long treatment. After healing, a scar can remain on the affected area;
Herpetiform: it is a group (or groups) of small sores not bigger than 3 mm in diameter. The sores are normally cured in about 10 days.
Symptoms of canker sores
As mentioned above, oral ulcers appear on the moving parts of the mouth such as the tongue, areas near the gums, inner sides of the lips or cheeks. At the beginning, they look like red or pink round-shaped tumors that appear within a day. Then, they can break and get covered with a membrane of whitish color or framed with red circles of inflammatory nature. As a rule, they disappear within two weeks without any scars. Sometimes the appearance of the sores is accompanied by fever, which happens in extremely rare cases. Canker sores may also run against the background of another disease.
Why canker sores appear?
The most common causes of canker sores are the following:
- allergic reaction to particular food;
- immune system problems;
- vitamins deficiency;
- lack of iron, vitamin C, and folic acid in the body;
- diseases in the gastrointestinal tract;
- emotional disturbances (depression, stress, mood fluctuations), or mental diseases;
- burn of the mouth cavity;
- dentures usage;
- Crohn’s disease.
Many people confuse canker sores with herpes, but these are two different conditions. Canker sores develop inside the mouth, whereas herpes appears on surface of the skin (usually, lips). Unlike herpes, canker sores are not contagious.