The cause is not known. They are not infectious, and you cannot ‘catch’ aphthous mouth ulcers.
• In most cases, the ulcers develop for no apparent reason in people who are healthy.
• In some cases, the ulcers are related to other factors or diseases. These include:
o Injury – such as badly fitting dentures, a graze from a harsh toothbrush, etc. Increased acidity can cause mouth ulcers too.
o Changes in hormone levels. Some women find that mouth ulcers occur just before their period. In some women, the ulcers only develop after the menopause.
o Some ex-smokers find they develop ulcers only after stopping smoking.
o A lack of iron, or a lack of certain vitamins (such as Vitamin B12 and Folic acid) may be a factor in some cases.
o Rarely, a food allergy may be the cause.
o Mouth ulcers run in some families. So, a genetic factor may play a part in some cases.
o Stress or anxiety is said to trigger aphthous mouth ulcers in some people.
o A reaction to a medication is a rare cause. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs have been reported to cause mouth ulcers in some people.
o Mouth ulcers are more common in people with Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, HIV infection, and Bechet’s disease. But the ulcers may not be aphthous type.
Tell your doctor if you have any other symptoms in addition to the mouth ulcers. Sometimes a blood sample or other tests are advised if any of the above conditions are suspected.

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