Aphthous ulcer or canker sore on the lip

What is an aphthous ulcer/canker sore and how are they treated?

Aphthous ulcers also known as canker sores, are small, shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues in the mouth or at the base of the gums. Unlike cold sores, canker sores do not occur on the surface of the lips and they are not contagious. They can be very painful and can make eating and talking difficult.

Symptoms of aphthous ulcer / canker sore

Most aphthous ulcers/canker sores are round or oval with a white or yellow center and a red border and always form inside the mouth.

Causes aphthous ulcer / canker sore

The exact cause of canker sores is unclear, although researchers suspect that a combination of factors contributes to outbreaks.

Possible triggers for aphthous ulcers/canker sores include:

  • A minor injury to the mouth from dental work, over brushing, sports accidents, or a cheek bite
  • A diet lacking in vitamin B12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or iron
  • Hormonal shifts during menstruation
  • Emotional stress

Unlike cold sores, aphthous ulcers/canker sores are not associated with herpes virus infections.

Risk factors

Anyone can develop canker sores, but they occur more often in teens and young adults, and they are more common in females.

Market data

According to Grand View Research, the global mouth ulcer treatment market size was valued at USD 937.5 million in 2017. It is expected to expand at a CAGR of 3.8% over the 2018 to 2026 period.

bar chart of global mouth ulcers market value 2018 to 2026


Aphthous ulcers/canker sores often recur, but you may be able to reduce their frequency by following these tips:

  • Eating Habits: avoiding foods that seem to irritate the mouth is helpful. These may include nuts, chips, certain spices, salty foods, and acidic fruits, such as pineapple, grapefruit, and oranges. To help prevent nutritional deficiencies, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is important.
  • Oral hygiene habits: regular brushing after meals and flossing once a day can keep the mouth clean and free of foods that might trigger a sore. A soft brush helps prevent irritation to delicate mouth tissues. Also, avoiding toothpaste and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate is important.
  • Protecting the mouth: if braces or other dental appliances are being used, asking the dentist about orthodontic waxes to cover sharp edges could help.
  • Reduction of stress: if the aphthous ulcer/canker sores seem to be related to stress, learning, and using stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation and guided imagery are helpful.


BMG Pharma is a world leader in developing products to treat aphthous ulcers/canker sores. Our product development team has developed many efficacious and well-received products including Alovex, Aloclair, Aftalacer, and more recently Aftacure, Bexident, and the Elgydium Clinic Cicalium for Pierre Fabre and Euclorina Afte for Dompe’.

We can offer several formulations to treat this common condition, presented as an easy to apply gel, spray, or oral solution. Please contact us at info@bmgpharma.com to find out how we can help your company to participate in this important OTC market opportunity.