Recurrent aphthous stomatitis and Helicobacter pylori

Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2016 Mar 1;21(2):e187-91. doi: 10.4317/medoral.20872.


Background: Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) is a recurrent painful ulcerative disorder that commonly affects the oral mucosa. Local and systemic factors such as trauma, food sensitivity, nutritional deficiencies, systemic conditions, immunological disorders and genetic polymorphisms are associated with the development of the disease. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a gram-negative, microaerophile bacteria, that colonizes the gastric mucosa and it was previously suggested to be involved in RAS development. In the present paper we reviewed all previous studies that investigated the association between RAS and H. pylori.

Material and methods: A search in Pubmed (MEDLINE) databases was made of articles published up until July 2015 using the following keywords: Helicobacter Pylori or H. pylori and RAS or Recurrent aphthous stomatitis.

Results: Fifteen experimental studies that addressed the relationship between infection with H. pylori and the presence of RAS and three reviews, including a systematic review and a meta-analysis were included in this review. The studies reviewed used different methods to assess this relationship, including PCR, nested PCR, culture, ELISA and urea breath test. A large variation in the number of patients included in each study, as well as inclusion criteria and laboratorial methods was observed. H. pylori can be detected in the oral mucosa or ulcerated lesion of some patients with RAS. The quality of the all studies included in this review was assessed using levels of evidence based on the University of Oxford's Center for Evidence Based Medicine Criteria.

Conclusions: Although the eradication of the infection may affect the clinical course of the oral lesions by undetermined mechanisms, RAS ulcers are not associated with the presence of the bacteria in the oral cavity and there is no evidence that H. pylori infection drives RAS development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Helicobacter Infections*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / microbiology*