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That small thing goes by a number of other names: mouth sore, cold sore, aphthous ulcer, canker sore. In Filipino, the common term used is “singaw”.

Mouth sore or Singaw is a painful sore or lesion that forms inside the mouth. Usually, they appear on the lips, tongue or cheeks. Often white or gray in color, it is accompanied by a red border or edge around the affected area. 

The exact cause of singaw is unclear but this condition affects at least 20% of the population1.

Size does not matter when it comes to mouth sore because even though they are small, they cause disproportionate amount of pain that can easily get in the way of eating. The pain of eating while affected by a singaw is often described as pronounced burning pain that is very inconvenient. Very few people can say that they enjoy their meals when they have singaw.

Other discomforts or complaints when one has singaw:

  • Difficulty to drink

  • Can’t enjoy favorite dishes

  • Difficulty to speak

  • Can’t concentrate at work

  • Poor sleep

  • Not daring to kiss his/her partner

1Apthous Stomatitis, available at