Afte (aphthous ulcer, aphthous stomatitis) are blisters in the mouth that slowly grow and then burst and develop into ulcers, which in some cases can be very painful. It is estimated that about one in five people suffer from the condition and the cause of afte is still unclear.
Afte are sometimes also called cold blisters, probably because the bleeding ulcers often occur when you have infections or a general impaired condition. Mouth blisters often come for the first time in childhood and adolescence.
It can be difficult to distinguish between the afte and the blisters caused by herpes. However, afte usually develops in softer parts of the mucous membrane of the mouth, and usually before the mouth, while herpes mainly occurs outside the mouth. If you suspect that you have wounds caused by herpes, you can take a virus test to get a safe diagnosis.
Shortly last night:
- Soft, yellowish-white blisters that crack and turn into round/oval wounds
- On the tongue, in the palate, in the mouth, on the inside of the cheeks or on the lips
- Often occurs as an outbreak or forest
- Most common in people under 40
- More common in women than men
- Afte is hereditary
- Not contagious
Symptoms – from blisters to ulcers
An outbreak of afte usually begins as blisters. These then become bounded wounds that are flushed around the edges. The wounds do not bleed, but they even cause pain and sweating in the mouth and make it difficult to eat and drink. The number of wounds and the amount of pain they cause vary. Some only get some occasional blistering during an outbreak, while others get multiple, painful blisters.
Afte usually is divided into three different types: minor afte, major afte and herpetiform ulcerations. Minor afte is defined as 1-4 blisters less than 10 mm in diameter. These often heal by themselves within 7-10 days without causing scars. Major afte blisters are larger than 10 mm. They can persist for months and cause scars as they heal. Herpetiform ulcerations are the most common form of afte and consist of 20-100 blisters 1-2 mm in diameter.
Causes of afte
The causes of afte are unknown, and theories are many. Some studies suggest that afte can be linked to deficiency diseases, while other studies contradict it. Afte can sometimes be linked to chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and gluten intolerance.
Damage to the mouth due to, for example, hard tooth brushing and small wounds after eating is believed to be able to trigger afte. In most cases, no clear explanation can be found as to why the event occurred. Afte is hereditary. It has been found that children are at increased risk of having a bleeding wound if the parents have had it. Afte is not contagious.
Treatment of last night
There is currently no treatment that cures afte. On the other hand, a number of things can be done to alleviate evening outbreaks. Afte can be relieved by choosing a toothpaste that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate. There are also mouthwashes and gels that can relieve afte.
Since afte may occur in conjunction with mouth injuries, care should be taken, for example, with tooth brushing and eating. Use a soft toothbrush that does not cause damage to the mouth and avoid foods with hard edges that can scratch the oral mucosa. There are also many different home remedies for afte. These usually have no proven effect.
If you have a lot of pain and difficulty eating as a result of sleep deprivation, you can get prescription drugs prescribed by your doctor.
Seek care at night
Outbreaks of afte usually heal within 7-14 days. You should seek care if you have such a severe nightmare that it is difficult to get food and drink. Also seek care if you have aphasia that has not healed after two weeks, or if you have recurring problems with bleeding ulcers.