Aphthous Ulcers (Canker Sores)
An aphthous ulcer is a small sensitive painful ulcer crater in the lining of the mouth. Commonly called a canker sore. Aphthous ulcers typically last for 10-14 days and they heal without leaving a scar. Women are more likely than men are to have recurrent canker sores. Genetic studies show that susceptibility to recurrent outbreaks of the sores is inherited in some patients. This partially explains why family members often share the condition. Canker sores are usually found on the movable parts of the mouth such as the tongue or the inside lining of the lips and cheeks. There are many possible causes of aphthous ulcers, for example:
- Vitamin deficiencies: B1, B2, B6 (folic acid), B12, C, zinc, iron, selenium, calcium
- Additives: cinnamonaldehyde (a flavoring agent), benzoic acid (a preservative)
- Toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate
- Mechanical trauma
- Emotional stress
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Allergies and sensitivities
- Cereal grains: buckwheat, wheat, oats, rye, barley, the gluten protein found in grains
- Fruits and vegetables: lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes, strawberries
- Dairy: milk, cheeses
- Other foods: nuts, chocolate, shellfish, soy, vinegar, French mustard
- Other substances: mints, gums, dental materials, metals, medications
- Hormonal changes.
- Infectious agents (both bacterial and viral).
- Medical conditions, for example Behcet’s disease, neutrophil dysfunction diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases (celiac and Crohn’s), and HIV-AIDS.