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:

  • Stress
  • Weakened immune system (due to stress, or for other reasons)
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • 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.

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