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Dermatology Dermatology

Mouth sores and ulcers

In the same way that the skin protects the body from the external environment, the oral mucosa lines the entire mouth cavity, protecting it from mechanical damage, pathogens and toxic substances. It also controls and regulates fluid and nutrient exchange with the external environment, enabling us to taste food and drink, and producing the mucous lubricating the mouth and saliva (through the salivary glands).

What are mouth sores?

An aphtha, mouth ulcer or mouth sore, commonly called an “ulcer”, is a disruption of the physical continuity of this oral mucosa, i.e. a loss of tissue (wound) and its corresponding functionality. Although they are considered to be benign, they may be very painful and often make it difficult or unfeasible to talk or eat.


Virtually everybody has suffered or will suffer from mouth sores, and about 20% of the population will suffer recurrent sores, i.e. sores that will recur more or less regularly over time. They are more common in pre-adolescents, adolescents and young adults, and their incidence usually decreases with age. 


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