Read about aphthous stomatitis medical facts: what is the definition of aphthous stomatitis, what are the signs and symptoms, medical treatment & how to treat aphthous stomatitis, information about the causes, and related aphthous stomatitis diseases.

Definition: What is "Aphthous stomatitis"?


Aphthous stomatitis is a form of mouth ulcer that presents a painful open sore within the mouth, which is caused by a break in the patient's mucous membrane. Also known as aphthous ulcer or "Sutton's disease", the term "aphtha" means ulcer. Aphthous stomatitis is characterized by repeated painful discrete areas of ulceration. Recurrent Aphthous stomatitis (RAD) is distinguished from other diseases by their multiplicity, chronicity & tendency to recur. RAD is one of the most common oral diseases, accounting to 10% of the population. Females are more affected by Aphthous stomatitis than men are. However, over 35% of patients with RAD have a family history of this disease.

Symptoms & Signs

Patients with Aphthous stomatitis begin to experience a burning or tingling sensation at the site of the ulcer. After several days, this burning sensation usually progress & form a bump (or a red spot). Ultimately, this spot becomes an open ulcer. The Aphthous stomatitis appears as a yellow (sometimes, white) oval with an inflamed red border. A white halo or circle around the ulcer sometimes occurs. The yellow, grey or white area within the affected spot is due to the formation of fibrin layers, proteins involved in blood clotting. The ulcer may sometimes be accompanied with swelling lymph nodes under the jaw.

Treatment: How to Treat "Aphthous stomatitis"?

For mild cases of Aphthous stomatitis, home remedies, such as antacid, sulfuric acid & licorice root can help relieve the symptoms. However, severe cases may require steroid treatments, such as methylprednisolone. Some may need pulsed prenisone if ulcers do not respond to any local treatment. Other treatments used include Thalidomide, silver nitrate & Aphthasol. Controversial therapies for Aphthous stomatitis include tetracycline, dapsone, gamma-globulin, estrogen replacement, colchicines, levamisole & MAOIs.


The cause of Aphthous stomatitis is unknown. However, factors provoking the occurrence of Aphthous stomatitis include fatigue, illness, stress, menstrual changes, food allergies, hormonal changes, injuries from bites, dramatic weight loss & deficiencies in folic acid, iron & vitamin B12. Drugs like nicorandil can also cause Aphthous stomatitis. The most common trigger of Aphthous stomatitis is trauma to the mouth. These include dental braces, accidental biting, laceration of sharp objects & toothbrush abrasions. Other traumas include thermal injury, artificial sugars, excessive amounts of citric acid & chemical irritants. Repeat episodes of Aphthous stomatitis can be a sign of immunodeficiency, signifying low levels of immunoglobulin of the mouth. Some types of chemotherapy could cause Aphthous stomatitis.

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