Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

A to Z: Apthous Ulcers (Canker Sores)

May also be called: Canker Sores; Oral Aphthae; Aphthous Stomatitis

Apthous ulcers, or canker sores, are small ulcers that occur inside the mouth, often causing discomfort during eating or talking. They are not contagious and not associated with cold sores that appear outside the mouth.

More to Know

No one knows exactly what causes apthous ulcers, but many factors put a person at risk for getting them. Diet; emotional stress; nutritional deficiencies of folic acid, vitamin B12, or iron; and food allergies can all contribute.

Mouth injuries, such as biting the inside of the lip or brushing too hard, also can bring on the sores. Sometimes apthous ulcers indicate a person has an immune system disorder or other health condition.

Anyone can get apthous ulcers, but teens and people in their early twenties are affected the most.

Keep in Mind

Although painful, apthous ulcers are generally not serious and can be easily treated with over-the-counter or home remedies.

If the sores last longer than 2 weeks, occur often, are associated with fever or other symptoms, or make it hard to eat and drink because of the pain, contact your doctor.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.