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Painful aphthae on the gum and how to get rid of them

Gingival aphthae is one of the most unpleasant oral diseases that can happen to any of us. These small, painful sores can appear anywhere in the oral cavity, including the gums, and cause us considerable discomfort. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention of aphthae formation.

What are gingival aphthae?

Gingival aphthae are small, painful sores or lesions that appear on the lining of the gums. They are round or oval in shape and are white or yellow in colour with a red inflamed rim. It is an inflammatory disease and, unlike cold sores, is not considered infectious. They often appear as single lesions or in clusters, and can cause intense pain, especially when eating, drinking or speaking. They usually heal within one to two weeks, but can be a recurring problem for some people.

Causes of gingival aphthae

The causes of gum afts may not always be completely clear, but experts have identified several possible triggers. These include hormonal changes, stress, injury to the oral mucosa, vitamin and mineral deficiencies (especially vitamin B12, iron and folic acid) or allergic reactions to certain foods such as nuts, citrus fruits or spicy foods.

In some people, genetic factors may also play a role that increase the predisposition to recurrent aphthae. Other possible causes include a weakened immune system, gastrointestinal diseases (e.g. Crohn's disease), hormonal changes, and the use of toothpastes with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) has also been mentioned.

Symptoms of aphthae - how to recognise aphthae

Aphthas on the gum manifest as small, painful sores with a white or yellow center and a red inflamed border. They can be round or oval, and their size usually ranges from a few millimeters to one centimeter. The main symptom is intense pain, which worsens when eating sour, spicy or sharp foods, as well as when speaking or brushing the teeth.

The diagnosis of aphthae usually does not require special tests. However, your dentist or physician can determine if the sores are aphthae based on a visual assessment of the sores.

Treatment of aphthae

Treatment of gum aphthae focuses primarily on relieving pain and speeding healing. Commonly recommended methods include the use of selected mouthwashes with antiseptic or analgesic ingredients such as chlorhexidine or benzocaine, which reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Local application of gels or ointments containing corticosteroids can also help reduce inflammation and shorten healing time. Over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can also be used to relieve severe pain.

Don't forget home treatments and herbs

Natural and home treatment of aphthae includes, among other things, the use of herbs that have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and healing properties. Some of the most effective herbs for the treatment of aphthae include:

  • Chamomile: It has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Rinses with chamomile tea can help reduce inflammation and speed healing of aft.
  • Sage: It is known for its antibacterial properties and ability to reduce inflammation. Rinsing the mouth with sage tea or tincture can help treat aphthae.
  • Curcuma: It contains curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. A mixture of turmeric powder and water or coconut oil can be applied directly to aphthae.
  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera gel is known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying fresh gel to aphthae provides relief and reduces healing time.

In addition to these herbs, many other natural remedies can be used, such as oils with antibacterial properties , which can be applied directly to the aphthae or used in the form of mouth rinses.

Tip for instant relief from aphthae

The pain can be relieved by sucking on ice cubes or eating cold foods.

Preventing Aphthae - How to Avoid Aphthae

Preventing aphthae includes maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding foods that can irritate the mucosa, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with adequate vitamin and mineral intake.

When to seek medical attention

Afts usually go away on their own within 1-2 weeks. If aphthae persist for more than two weeks or are particularly painful and numerous, it is advisable to seek medical attention. In some cases, aphthae may be a sign of another health problem.

Gingival aphthae can be very uncomfortable, but the right approach to prevention and treatment can minimise their occurrence and shorten their duration.