DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Aphthous ulcer. Close-up of a large aphthous ulcer (mouth ulcer) seen on the underside of a patient's tongue. This white ulcer is surrounded by red inflamed tissue. Aphthous ulcers usually occur on the mucous membrane inside a cheek or lip or on the underside of a tongue. The small painful sores can last up to two weeks before disappearing. The cause of aphthous ulcers is not understood, although they may be triggered by injury (for example, by a toothbrush) and some- times contain streptococcus bacteria. Treatment is palliative, consisting mainly of soothing ointments and painkillers.
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