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Ir J Med Sci. 2013 Jun;182(2):297-300. doi: 10.1007/s11845-012-0871-0. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

Mouth ulcers: a deadly disease for children from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

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  • 1Department of Dentistry, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain.



Two processes of vastly different clinical characteristics-what we know today as "Aphthous Stomatitis" and "noma"-occupied the minds of dentists and doctors from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. The aim of this article was to look at their knowledge-concerning the differential diagnosis and treatment of these two processes.


Publications of the Spanish physicians and dentists from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries are reviewed and analysed.


The great difference as to how both evolved and about their-consequences led to serious efforts being made to establish a-differential diagnosis and their respective aetiology and treatment.


While the first goal can be clearly said to have been achieved, practitioners only had the resources offered by authors of antiquity and the Middle Ages to explain the aetiology and apply therapeutic treatment, since microbial theories of disease were not developed until the end of the nineteenth century and antibiotic treatment had to wait until the twentieth century.

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