What are pediatric aphthous ulcers?

Updated: Feb 25, 2019
  • Author: Michael C Plewa, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Commonly termed canker sores, aphthous ulcers, or aphthous stomatitis, have been the focus of study and research for many years, although the exact etiology of the lesions has yet to be identified. Categorized as an idiopathic disease, aphthous ulcers are frequently misdiagnosed, treated incorrectly, or simply ignored.

Recurrent aphthous ulcer (RAU), or recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS), represents a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by painful oral ulcers recurring with varying frequency. Examples of aphthous ulcers are shown in the images below.

Recurrent aphthae in floor of mouth, showing ovoid Recurrent aphthae in floor of mouth, showing ovoid ulcer with inflammatory halo.
Typical aphthous ulcer in a common site, showing i Typical aphthous ulcer in a common site, showing inflammatory halo surrounding a yellowish, round ulcer.

Children with recurrent aphthous ulcers (canker sores) may reduce their oral food and fluid intake because of the associated pain and subsequently become dehydrated; therefore, aggressive therapy for the lesions can be important.


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