Aphthous stomatitis: What it is, symptoms, causes and treatment


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Aphthous stomatitis is a condition characterized by the appearance of thrush, blisters or frequent mouth ulcerations. It is more common in babies, children and people who have a weak immune system as a result of diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Thrush, blisters and sores in some cases can arise every 15 days and may be triggered by stress, hormonal or immune system changes. It can also be due to mineral and vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamin B12.

Main symptoms

The main symptom of amphthous stomatitis is the appearance of thrush, blisters or sores in the corner of the mouth and it is usually less than 1cm in diameter. Moreover, these thrush and sores are normally painful, they hinder ingestion of drinks and food and they result to greater sensitivity in the mouth.

Although stomatitis affects mostly the lips, in some cases it may also appear inside the mouth, throat and gums and this can even be more uncomfortable.

Depending on the symptoms, the size and quantity of the thrush that attack the mouth, stomatitis can be classified into:

1. Aphthous stomatitis of the minor type

This is the most common type and it is characterized by a small thrush which is usually approximately 10mm and it can take between 10 to 14 days to heal. The thrush has a rounded shape, it can be grey or yellowish in colour and with reddish edges.

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2. Aphthous stomatitis of the larger type

This type of stomatitis causes a larger thrush which can even be 1cm in size, and it can last from days to months to completely heal due to its large size. This type is less common and it often leaves scars on the mouth.

3. Herpetiform stomatitis

In the case of herpetiform stomatitis, thrush appears in outbreaks and they usually appear in large numbers of up to 100.

Possible causes

Stomatitis can attack an individual any time and it has no triggers. However, there are situations that favour the appearance of thrush and mouth sores, the main ones being:

  • Family history of the disease
  • Virus infection, such as herpes virus
  • Hormonal changes, which are more common in women
  • Nutritional deficiencies, mainly folic acid and vitamin B12
  • Changes in the immune system, as in the case of autoimmune diseases and AIDS
  • Situations of emotional or physical stress

The diagnosis of stomatitis can be made by the physician depending on the symptoms presented by the person, the frequency of attack by the canker sores and the characteristics that arise.

Remedies for aphthous stomatitis

Treatment for aphthous stomatitis is done to relive symptoms of pain and discomfort as well as to heal the ulcers. Therefore, some drugs such as anti-inflammatory drugs like triamcinolol, antibiotics or anaesthetics such as Benzocaine, can be used according to the doctor’s prescription.

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It addition, it may also be recommended to use natural and homeopathic remedies such quercetin, red mangrove bark extract, licorice extract or propolis, which will aid in reducing the symptoms that are experienced.


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Cornelius A.

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