What is it?

Oral aphthae are small ulcers that develop on the soft tissues in the mouth or on the base of the gums. They are not contagious but they cause pain and may cause unpleasantness while eating. The exact reason for the appearance of aphtae is not known, but triggers may include minor injury, food sensitivities, deficiency in B12/ zinc/ folic acid/ iron, H. pylori infection, hormonal changes and emotional stress. They usually go away on their own after 1-2 weeks.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Oral lesions

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms include round or oval sores with white or yellow center and a red border; they develop on the tongue, under the tongue, inside the cheeks or the bases of the gums. A day or two before they appear, a burning or tingling sensation may be felt, followed by pain when the aphtae appear.


Aphtae are seen with a visual exam.


Treatment is usually not necessary as it resolves on its own, unless the ulcer is very painful and persistent. Treatment may include mouth rinses, topical products for pain relief, and nutritional supplements.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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