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The aim of this article, “Aphthous Ulcer Mouth”, and a subsequent one entitled “Geographic Tongue Info“, is to help the Public with two common mouth conditions that are HARMLESS.
These conditions which occur commonly throughout the world, are oral aphthous ulcers and geographic tongue. We will begin with the aphthous ulcer of the mouth, and continue the health education in the subsequent article.
The reason is that these conditions cause a lot of alarm and distress to sufferers. This results in unnecessary investigations and treatments, all of which consume a lot of time and money. The results to the global economy are devastating.
Usually these conditions require no more than reassurance and supportive treatment. Therefore links to such useful, over-the-counter treatments are given straight away in the next section.
LINKS TO PRODUCTS FROM AMAZON.COM
1. (Paid link) Bonjela cream
2. (Paid link) Panadol (Paracetamol) 500mg tablets
APHTHOUS ULCER MOUTH
This is also called a “Canker sore”. It is a shallow ulcer that occurs in the mouth, usually on the underside or side of the tongue. Or it may be on the gums or the junction of the gums and base of the mouth.
It is very painful, especially when it is at the latter position (junction of the gums and base of the mouth). Pain makes eating or talking difficult.
The ulcer is usually reddish, and surrounded by a whitish ring or halo. The edge of this small wound is smooth. Bleeding does not occur.
The aphthous ulcer takes a few days to weeks. Then it disappears, only to recur a few weeks later. This cycle can take months to years.
Members of the public are sometimes aware of this condition and diagnose themselves. It is however important that a Medical Diagnosis is made, so that dangerous conditions are excluded.
However, it should be reiterated that no investigations (blood tests, imaging, etc) are required in order to arrive at the diagnosis.
Once a firm diagnosis has been made, the patient can then be reassured. And it is important that they accept that the condition is harmless.
Treatment is supportive, aimed at relieving pain and enabling eating and talking. Anaesthetic gels (link above) and pastes are used locally. Painkillers by mouth may be added in cases of severe pain.
Oral aphthous ulcers and geographic tongue are common mouth conditions that occur world-wide. They are costly in terms of the distress they cause to patients (and sometimes to Healthcare Workers!).
The amount of time spent on investigations is unwarranted. And the use of unnecessary and sometimes expensive medications including antifungal agents and antibiotics, is inappropriate and potentially harmful.
What is important is that a Medical Diagnosis should be made. Secondly, dangerous conditions like oral cancer be excluded. Usually this can be achieved by careful history-taking and an examination of the mouth, the surrounding area and the patient as a whole.
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