Aphthous ulcers, also called canker sores, are small open sores located on the mouth’s mucous membrane, on the lining of cheeks, lips or even the tongue. They may sometimes be found on the palate or on the gums, although this is much less frequent. When the aphthous ulcer becomes recurrent, and appears on various areas of the body, such as the oral, anal or vulval mucous membrane, it is referred to as aphthosis. Canker sores are generally mild but painful, and make it harder for the patient to chew. They are often accompanied by painful glands, located under the jaw. A preventive treatment carried out by a homoeopath helps the patient to get rid of this ailment.. A large and recurrent canker sore may indicate other pathologies, such as an immune system disorder or a lack of vitamins, and should be closely monitored.
The area affected by the canker sore has the appearance of a red lesion covered by a small open ulcer of yellow or white colour. A minor aphthous ulcer doesn’t leave any scar and disappears after approximately two weeks. On the other hand, major aphthous ulcers last for several weeks and can end up leaving a scar. An aphthous ulcer is not contagious but is often recurrent. In severe cases, they appear with frequent recurrences.
Small canker sores measure about 3 to 10 millimetres in diameter, while the larger ones are irregularly shaped. Aphthous ulcers are painful, even before the appearance of the lesions. The patient may feel a tingling or burning sensation. Pain is usually felt when eating frozen or very hot food. In case of complications, canker sores can lead to decreased energy, swollen glands and fever.
Medical practitioners have not yet been able to determine the true cause of aphthous ulcers and aphthosis. Some hypotheses suggest that there may be a link with allergies and heredity, although genetic transmission has not yet been proven. Canker sores can be caused by minor injuries on the mouth’s inner lining or by certain types of food. Note that aphthous ulcers are more common in women during their menstruation period. Finally, stress is also a possible cause behind this pathology. Indeed, during exam periods, some young people have aphthous ulcers of which the cause is not well determined.
Three types of remedy are recommended for treating aphthous ulcers. Borax 9 CH or Mercurius corrosivus 7 CH should be taken systematically. Karlium bichromicum 9 CH is a good remedy for round canker sores that look as though they were carved by a cookie cutter. If the burning sensations are alleviated by drinking hot beverages, take Sulfuricum acidum 5 CH. These remedies should be taken as soon as the first symptoms appear, the usual dosage being 5 granules taken every two hours. Once the symptoms are lessened, taking two doses a day should be sufficient. They can be combined with other remedies, depending on the symptoms: Nitricum acidum 6 CH is recommended in case of stinging pain, Mercurius solubilis 6 CH when a patient suffers from excessive salivation and bad breath and Sulfuricum acidum 5 CH if there is yellow liquid oozing from the lesion.
To complete the treatment, localized homoeopathic care, consisting of a daily mouthwash, is recommended. The most commonly used remedies are mother tinctures of Calendula officinalis and Hydrastis canadensis, which are to be used three times a day as mouthwash. Calendula has a soothing, disinfecting and healing action, while Hydrastis is a soothing and healing remedy. The instructions for use stipulate the mixing of both mother tinctures, in proportions equivalent to 10 drops of each remedy to be diluted in a glass of water.
In general, an aphthous ulcer is treated by the patient himself through the use of mouthwash and homoeopathic remedies. It becomes necessary to seek medical attention when the ailment is recurrent, notably to try to determine the cause of the canker sore, in order to eradicate the condition at its source. The doctor then proceeds to a thorough examination of the oral cavity to make sure that the canker sore is not the symptom of a more serious condition.
Good to know: Basic remedies and specific treatments, combined with mouthwash, ensure a thorough and soft treatment of canker sores among adults and children. Borax 5 CH is particularly adapted to infants who cannot be breast-fed.