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Small white patches on a mucous membrane, commonly seen in the mouth. They are commonly characteristic of thrush. Also known as canker sore, aphthous stomatitis or ulcerative stomatits.
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: Mucous membranes especially of the mouth.
Symptoms and indications: Appearance of small white patches in the mouth.
Causes and risk factors: It is not known what causes aphthae in all patients, although more than one cause is likely even for individual patients. The sores also might be an allergic reaction to certain foods eaten. Stress may trigger aphthae as well. Injury to the mouth - such as scratching by abrasive foods or a stray toothbrush bristle - can trigger outbreaks of aphthae, although these factors probably do not cause the disorder. Hormonal disorders can contribute to aphthae, as can deficiencies of iron, folic acid, or Vitamin B12.
Prevention: Avoidance of foods a patient is allergic to also can reduce the frequency. Regular dental care, including brushing and flossing, as well as a balanced diet may help reduce the frequency and severity of aphthae.