Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 834

Recurrent aphthous stomatitis: An enigmatic entity and sign of systemic disease

Department of Dermatology and Pathology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and Oral Medicine, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, Newark, New Jersey, USA, India

Correspondence Address:
Robert A Schwartz
Professor and Head Dermatology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, 185 South Orange Ave, Newark - 07103, NJ
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijd.ijd_971_20

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Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) is a common oral disease characterized by intermittent eruptions of painful oral ulcerations. Hippocrates first described aphthous stomatitis with the Greek word aphthi meaning “to inflame.” RAS affects 10–20% of the population with the incidence being the highest among young adults. The peak age of onset is between 10 and 19 years of age. It has three main forms of presentation. The most common being minor RAS, along with the major and herpetiform types. Many local and systemic factors are associated with RAS pathogenesis. The main concern with oral aphthae in many cases is local pain, which can be severe enough to interfere with eating, speaking, and swallowing. It is important to differentiate RAS from systemic diseases with aphthae—such as Behçet's syndrome and the newly-delineated, autoinflammatory PFAPA (periodic fever with aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis, and adenitis) syndrome—as well as from other aphthous-like ulcerations like herpes simplex virus (HSV) or Coxsackie oral lesions. The management depends upon the clinical presentation and symptomatology—focusing on analgesic, antimicrobial, and immunomodulatory drugs.

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