An aphtha is a small ulcer that occurs (either singly or in groups) in the mucous membrane of the mouth. Aphtha have the appearance of white or red spots, sometimes covered with a white or grey exudate.
Causes of aphthae (plural):
There is no single disease known to cause aphthae.
Factors associated with the occurrence of aphthae may include:
- Weakened immune system (due to stress, or for other reasons)
- Allergies to any of a wide range of common foodstuffs, incl. e.g. coffee, chocolate, cheese, nuts, citrus fruits, potatoes.
Symptoms & Effects of aphthae may include:
- Pain and irritation at the site of the aphthae.
- The pain or irritation may be so severe that eating is uncomfortable, hence reduced, when aphthae are present in the mouth.
- Aphthae may occasionally affect other body tissues, e.g. of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the external genitals.
- If recurrent, scarring may occur.
More about the Digestive System:
This section includes pages about:
- Introduction to the Digestive System
- Terminology about Digestion
- Passage through the alimentary tract
- Component Parts of the Digestive System, incl. Teeth, Stomach, Liver, Small Intestine, Large Intestine
- Chemical Processes in the Digestive System (introductory level)
- Diseases and Disorders of the Digestive System
For further information see also our pages of books about gastroenterology.
- The digestive system (introduction)
- Digestive System Terminology
- Main Stages of the Digestive Process
- Transit through the Alimentary Canal
- Absorption Sites
- Structures of the mouth
- Teeth - as part of the digestive system
- Small Intestine
- Large Intestine
- Digestive System Diseases & Disorders