What Is Aphtha? How Is It Treated?
Aphthae are called oral ulcers seen in the inner parts of the lips and cheeks.
This is also seen in the tongue, palate and even in the gums.
Aphthae are small lesions that are typically yellow or red in the margins and white in the middle.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not a contagious condition.
This condition is also known as mouth sores among the people.
The cause of aphthae has not yet been fully determined.
However, many different factors can be effective in its development.
Generally, blows to the mouth (biting the inside of the mouth, etc.), food sensitivities, vitamin deficiency, stress, poor oral and dental health, and some diseases are effective in the development of aphthae.
Aphtha manifests itself in sensitive areas in the mouth.
This can disturb even the most daily activities of the person, such as eating or drinking.
In some cases, it can also cause difficulty in swallowing.
These sores in the mouth usually go away on their own within 5-10 days without the need for any intervention.
However, if the wounds do not heal on their own, it is best to consult a doctor without delay.
What Will We Learn?
It is examined under three different main groups according to aphtha size.
The first of these, Minor aphthae, is the most common type.
It is known as moderate and painful oral aphtha type.
These sores can be seen singly or in multiples.
However, they are all usually less than 1 cm in size.
85% of patients with aphthae have this type.
This situation passes within 1 to 2 weeks without the need for any additional intervention.
Although it consists of superficial ulcers, it does not leave a trace while healing.
Major aphtha is the second rare type of aphtha.
They are larger than 1 cm in diameter.
Their colors are usually gray and white.
This type of aphtha leaves scarring as it heals.
Recovery time ranges from 2 to 6 weeks.
This may cause difficulty in swallowing in some patients. In some cases, fever and malaise may also be seen.
Herpetiform aphthae, the last type of aphthae, are seen in groups or in large numbers.
It usually tends to coalesce and is between 1 and 2 mm in diameter.
It is a very rare type of aphthae.
It does not leave scars while healing and usually heals on its own within 7-30 days. It is more likely to occur in older ages.
What Are the Symptoms of Aphthae?
Aphthous ulcer can be seen with various symptoms such as:
- Small round and oval-shaped sores (white or yellowish in color) on the inside of the mouth
- Pain in the mouth and a red appearance
- tingling sensation in the mouth
- Swelling in nearby lymph nodes
- Noticeable rise in body temperature
- Complaints of headache and fatigue and consequently feeling unwell
Aphthae in the mouth or in nearby areas are not contagious.
The condition usually clears up on its own within 1 to 3 weeks from the onset of symptoms.
Therefore, treatment is not a necessary condition.
If pain is seen among the symptoms, this situation will pass within an average of 7-10 days.
Although it is very rare, in some cases it may take up to 6 months for the symptoms and complaints of aphthae to go away.
What Causes Aphthae?
The causes of aphthae have not yet been determined definitively.
However, some diseases or environmental factors can cause this situation.
Some conditions that can cause an aphthae are as follows:
- Deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals (folic acid, B12, iron, zinc)
- Accidental biting of the cheek or blow to the mouth area
- Puberty, menstruation or pregnancy periods
- Consuming foods that are too hard or too hot
- Stress and anxiety states
- Some innate factors
- Sensitivity to certain foods (gluten, chocolate, milk, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, tomatoes, figs, lemons, strawberries, cow’s milk, vinegar)
- Consumption of salty and spicy foods
How Is Aphtha Treated?
The first goal in the treatment of aphthae is to control the pain and prevent its recurrence.
This can be achieved with appropriate fluid and nutritional support.
Thus, the recovery is accelerated and the repetition of the same situation is prevented.
There are many options as an aphthae drug.
However, none of these should be used without the advice of a physician.
These are drugs with local anesthetic effect, antiseptic drugs, anti-inflammatory agents and immunomodulatory drugs.
Another treatment option is laser therapy.
However, this treatment method is usually preferred in severe cases.
Aphthae can be prevented with proper oral hygiene and proper food consumption.
People suffering from various vitamin and mineral deficiencies can prevent aphtha recurrence by taking appropriate supplements.
People with food allergies should pay attention to their diet.
Aphthae are generally a self-healing condition without the need for drug support.
How Does Aphtha Heal?
Aphthae can heal spontaneously within 7-10 days.
However, this process can cause great discomfort to the person. In such a situation, everyone wants to get rid of this situation as soon as possible.
The following methods can be applied to prevent aphthae from recurring and to heal in a shorter time in case it occurs:
- Avoiding irritating, too-hard and hot foods
- Avoiding spicy, bitter and acidic food/drink consumption
- taking adequate vitamin and mineral supplements
- avoiding stress as much as possible
- Gargle with salt water
- Applying suitable anesthetic cream on the aphtha before meals
- If necessary, take antibiotic treatment under the supervision of a doctor
Aphtha heals spontaneously if the above items are observed.
However, if there is no improvement within 7-10 days, it would be best to consult a doctor.
If aphtha progresses, it can cause some health problems.
In addition, aphthae can be an early harbinger of some health problems while in this state.
If severe pain and diarrhea are seen with aphthae, if the formations are also seen in the genital area, if this situation lasts longer than 3 weeks, it is necessary to be examined by a doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions About Aphtha
Which Natural Methods Can Be Used for Aphthous Wound?
Aphthae is an ailment that heals on its own without the need for any medication or natural method.
However, applying some natural methods can contribute to the improvement of the condition.
However, no method should be applied without the advice of a doctor.
The following methods can be applied for canker sores:
Gargling with Salt Water: Gargling with salt water has a positive effect on drying the surface of aphtha lesions.
Dissolving 1 teaspoon of salt in half a glass of water and turning it into a solution can be used for canker sores.
The solution should be rinsed in the mouth for 15-30 seconds and then spit out.
It can be reapplied every few hours if needed.
Yogurt: Some canker sores can be caused by bacterial infections.
Thanks to the fact that yogurt is rich in probiotics, it is good for such bacterial infections.
Honey: Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey is good for canker sores.
It also has a positive effect on the redness caused by the wound.
Consumption of honey also prevents the development of a second infection in the wound.
Chamomile Compress: Chamomile is one of the well-known herbs for healing wounds.
It is a precious and medicinal plant because it contains chemicals with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Chamomile tea bags can be used for the treatment of aphthae.
Applying tea bags to the injured area for a few minutes is good for aphthae.
Rinsing the mouth with chamomile tea strengthens the effect. It can be applied 3-4 times a day.
Echinacea: Echinacea plant is effective for wounds as well as strengthening immunity.
It especially contributes to the healing of aphtha wounds.
The plant is made into a solution by adding 1 teaspoon to half a glass of water.
This solution should then be swirled in the mouth for 2 minutes and then spit out.
It is possible to apply 3 times a day.
What Is Recurrent Aphthae?
Recurrent aphthae are known as Recurrent Aphthous Ulcers.
This condition can occur in any part of the oral mucosa.
The edges of the wounds are red and they are off-white in color.
Although their shape can be oval, they can also be sharp-edged.
Their shapes are distinctive.
Aphthae occurring 3 or more times a year are defined as recurrent aphthae.
This is especially true for people with weak immune systems.
However, the reason for this is often unclear.
However, some genetic factors, drug side effects and conditions such as intense stress can cause aphthae to recur.
Especially during pregnancy, more aphtha formation may be encountered.
Recurrent aphthae can also be seen in people with certain health problems.
These include those with bone marrow disease, those with small bowel problems, and those with celiac disease.
Since the immune system of HIV-positive people is weakened, aphtha formation can be seen frequently in these people.
Biopsy can be performed if necessary.
Anti-inflammatory mouthwash and pomades for the mouth can be used in the treatment.
However, the treatment method differs from patient to patient.
People with recurrent aphthae should stay away from factors that may trigger aphtha formation as much as possible.
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