Guidelines for diagnosis and management of aphthous stomatitis

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007 Aug;26(8):728-32. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31806215f9.


Aphthous ulcers are the most common oral mucosal lesions in the general population. These often are recurrent and periodic lesions that cause clinically significant morbidity. Many suggestions have been proposed but the etiology of recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) is unknown. Several precipitating factors for aphthous ulcers appear to operate in subjects with genetic predisposition. An autoimmune or hypersensitivity mechanism is widely considered possible. Sometimes aphthous ulcers can be the sign of systemic diseases, so it is essential to establish a correct diagnosis to determine suitable therapy. Before initiating medications for aphthous lesions, clinicians should determine whether well-recognized causes are contributing to the disease and these factors should be corrected. Various treatment modalities are used, but no therapy is definitive. Topical medications, such as antimicrobial mouth-washes and topical corticosteroids (dexamethasone, triamcinolone, fluocinonide, or clobetasol), can achieve the primary goal to reduce pain and to improve healing time but do not improve recurrence or remission rates. Systemic medications can be tried if topical therapy is ineffective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / diagnosis*
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / therapy*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents