The Correlation between Iron Deficiency and Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis: A Literature Review
Aphthous lesions of the oral mucosa are a very common symptom and can be seen in both family medicine practice, dental medicine practice, and dermatology or otorhinolaryngology clinics. Some patients develop a chronic recurrent condition, which is clinically known as recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS). These ulcers are round, clearly defined, and can be visible on the movable part of the oral mucosa, with variations in size. A prodromal symptom like the burning or stinging sensation can precede the appearance of lesions. The main reason why patients seek medical help is oropharyngeal pain with lack of appetite.
The exact etiopathogenesis of RAS remains unknown. Immune disorders, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, mechanical injuries, and even psychological disorders are being studied as potential causes of this condition. Some authors claim that iron deficiency may be a possible causative factor of RAS due to its role in DNA synthesis, mitochondrial function, and enzymatic activity. In iron deficiency, epithelial cells turn over more rapidly and produce an immature or atrophic mucosa. Such mucosa is vulnerable and can be a fertile soil for chronic inflammation and development of aphthae.
Finally, our goals were to describe the clinical aspects and etiology of RAS, as well as to determine whether RAS may be related to iron deficiency, in order to identify potential patients with iron deficiency in everyday work.