Canker Sores (aphthous ulcers), or aphthae, are the most common cause of periodic (recurring) ulcers inside the mouth and genital linings (mucous membrane surfaces). Their cause is unknown, but stress, lack of sleep, trauma, and perhaps some vitamin deficiencies, toothpastes, and foods can make the condition worse. Some people with anemia and other medical conditions that weaken the immune system may be more likely to develop canker sores.
There are 3 types of canker sores:
- Minor aphthae account for approximately 80% of cases. They usually heal within 1-2 weeks.
- Major aphthae or Sutton disease, account for approximately 10% of cases. They can be extremely painful, last 2-4 weeks, and generally leave scars.
- Herpetiform aphthae account for the remaining 10% of cases.
MedlinePlus: Canker Sores
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for health care consumers, this site is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information targeting the lay public. Site features extensive information about canker sores and how to manage it.
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Management of Aphthous Ulcers
The American Academy of Family Physicians is one of the largest national medical organizations, representing more than 94,000 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students nationwide. The mission of the AAFP is to improve the health of patients, families, and communities by serving the needs of members with professionalism and creativity.
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- “Aphthous ulcers.” Bischoff EW. Uijen A. van der Wel M. BMJ. 339:b2382, 2009
- “Recurrent Aphthous Ulcers Today: A Review of the Growing Knowledge”. Natah S., Konttinen Y., Enattah N., Ashammakhi N., Sharkey K., and Hayrinen-Immonen R. International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. 33(3):221-34, Apr. 2004.