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What causes mouth ulcers?

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Quick Answer

WebMD and Healthline explain that the exact causes of mouth ulcers are unclear as of 2014; however, several factors are known to relate to incidence of mouth ulcers, including stress, tissue damage, acidic foods, minor injuries inside the mouth, infections and lack of some essential nutrients. Additionally, Healthline states that mouth ulcers are linked to several serious conditions, including celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Bechet's disease and immune diseases.

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Full Answer

Mouth ulcers typically occur on the inside of the mouth, especially along the insides of the cheeks. WebMD explains that they often lead to pain while eating, drinking and brushing teeth. In addition to the soreness associated with the ulcers themselves, other symptoms of mouth ulcers include fatigue, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Although most mouth ulcers clear up naturally in a few days, medical attention is recommended if the ulcers last up to three weeks.

Mouth ulcers are divided into minor, major and herpetiform ulcers, according to WedMD. Minor ulcers have a diameter of 2-8 millimeters. These small sores typically heal in under two weeks. Major ulcers are larger, and they often have a raised border. These ulcers may last several weeks, and they sometimes leave scars in the mouth. Herpetiform ulcers are clusters of very small ulcers. Typically these clusters include dozens of ulcers, each of which is about the size of a pinhead.

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