Mouth ulcers are painful round or oval sores that form in the mouth, often on the inside of the cheeks. Although mouth ulcers can be uncomfortable, especially when you eat, drink or brush your teeth, they are harmless.

Most mouth ulcers clear up by themselves within a couple of weeks.

The most common type are called aphthous or simple ulcers.

There are three main types of aphthous ulcers.

Minor ulcers are small, non-scarring and usually heal without any treatment within two weeks. The most common type, they cause around three quarters of all mouth ulcers.

Major ulcers are 1cm or larger, have a raised border and can last from two weeks to several months. Usually only one or two appear at a time. They can be very painful and cause difficulty eating, are slower to heal and can leave scars. About 10 per cent of ulcers are this type.

Herpetiform ulcers are multiple tiny sores that can be very painful - particularly if they fuse together to form one larger sore. They can last from one week to two months. Despite their name, they seem to have nothing to do with the herpes virus. They are uncommon.

Aphthous ulcers aren't contagious, so you can't pass them on by kissing or sharing utensils.         

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