DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Aphthous ulcer on the gum of a patient. It is visible at centre as a white elongated area surrounded by a red inflamed halo. Minor aphthous ulcers affect about 20% of the population and are more common in women than men. Aphthae may be caused by hypersensitive reactions to haemolytic streptococcus bacteria, minor injuries, acute stress and allergies. Ulcers are also more likely to occur if other members of the family suffer from recurrent ulceration. Analgesic mouth gels or mouth washes are used to ease the pain. Ulcers tend to heal by themselves but corticosteroid or tetracycline drugs may be prescribed to speed up the healing process.
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