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Mouth ulcers—also called canker sores—are small, painful sores that appear in the mouth. Mouth ulcers are usually red or yellow, and they can appear on the inside of the cheeks and lips, on the tongue and gums, and rarely, on the roof of the mouth. Ulcers are most common in women and people under the age of 45. Mouth ulcers vary in size. Minor ulcers are about 2-8 mm in diameter, and usually, clear up within two weeks. Major ulcers are bigger and deeper, and take several weeks to heal and may leave a scar. Herpetiform ulcers are a type of ulcer which is comprised of dozens of tiny sores the size of pinheads. There are many reasons a person may develop a mouth ulcer. Keep reading to find out some of the most common causes of mouth ulcers.

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1. Stress or lack of sleep

One major cause of mouth ulcers is stress or lack of sleep, with an estimated average of 20% of adults who experience ulcers during stressful periods in their lives. One speculation as to why ulcers appear during these times is related to a drop in immunity which creates more vulnerability in the mouth.

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