Aphthous ulcers or recurrent aphthous disease or stomatitis (RAD), are inflammatory lesions of the mucous lining of the mouth which may involve the cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, and roof or floor of the mouth. It is usually painful and associated with redness, swelling, and occasional bleeding from the affected areas. Manifestation of the disease can range from mild to severe and, in extreme cases, even hinder a person\’s ability to eat foods, thereby making the person susceptible to malnutrition.
The cause of RAS is unknown, although several factors are suspected including genetics, stress, nutritional deficiencies, diet, hormonal changes, and an immune dysfunction.
There are 3 clinical presentations of RAS: aphthous minor, aphthous major and herpetiform ulcers.
Aphthous minor is amongst the most common form of oral ulcerative diseases and affects an estimated 15-20% of the population worldwide.
Treatment for RAS is symptomatic; the goals being to decrease pain, healing time, number and size of the ulcer, and to increase disease-free periods. Current treatment options include topical agents, systemic and topical steroids, corticosteroids, cauterization, antibiotics, mouth rinses containing active enzymes, laser treatments and combination therapy.