You may not have heard the term aphthous stomatitis before, but you're probably suffered from this condition before. Between 15% and 30% of the general population is suffering from aphthous stomatitis at any given time, but many of them call their condition "canker sores." Here's what you need to know about this common condition.
What causes aphthous stomatitis?
There are many different things that can cause one of these painful sores to form inside your mouth. It can happen after an injury, for example, after you accidentally bite the inside of your cheek or brush your teeth too vigorously. It can also be caused by sensitivities to foods or toothpastes. Even hormonal shifts or stress can cause aphthous stomatitis.
Is this condition dangerous?
This condition isn't dangerous on its own. Sores that are caused by outside factors will heal by themselves, and you'll be back to normal in no time. However, these sores can sometimes be a symptom of a few serious diseases. Diseases like Crohn's disease, Behcet's disease, and HIV can all cause these sores, so if you are getting them frequently, your dental clinic may recommend a visit to your family doctor for further investigation.
It can be dangerous in another way: aphthous stomatitis looks very similar to oral cancer. What looks like a harmless canker sore could turn out to be something much more serious, so it's important to see your dentist if the sores don't go away within two weeks.
How is it treated?
This condition can't be cured, but there are treatments available to ease your symptoms when you have a sore. Your dentist may recommend over-the-counter medications, and if your sores are more severe, may give you a prescription for something stronger. The goal of these medications is to reduce pain in the area and to reduce the number of bacteria in the wound.
People with more severe canker sores may also need corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs.
Will the condition recur?
Recurring aphthous stomatitis is fairly common, so there's a good chance that you'll develop another sore at some point in the future. In 85% of all cases, people have 4 or less episodes per year, which is unpleasant, but manageable. In 10% of cases, people get 1 or more episodes each month, and some will even develop constant sores.
Aphthous stomatitis is a very common condition that causes sores inside your mouth. If you have these sores, see your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment.