Stomatitis is a general term for an inflammation of the mouth and lips. Learn more about several types of stomatitis, what causes it, what are the symptoms, and how to treat it.
Stomatitis, also known as oral inflammation or mouth sores, may be moderate and localized, but it can also be severe and widespread. Stomatitis can appear anywhere in the mouth and it can disrupt your ability to talk, eat, and sleep.
What Are the Common Forms of Stomatitis?
Common forms of stomatitis include a canker sore, cold sores, and mouth irritation. A canker sore or aphthous ulcer is a single pale or yellow ulcer with a red outer ring. It can also be manifested as a cluster of ulcers in the mouth, commonly on the inside of the cheeks, tongue, or inside the lip. Cold sores or fever blisters generally occur on or around the lips. They eventually crust over with a scab and they are commonly associated with burning, tenderness, or tingling prior to the appearance of the actual sores.
Mouth irritation can be caused by several factors:
- Biting your cheek, tongue, or lip
- Having gum disease or some other kind of mouth infection
- Wearing braces or having a pointed, broken tooth
- Being extremely sensitive to certain foods or medications
- Chewing tobacco
- Burning your mouth from hot foods or drinks
- Having specific autoimmune diseases
What Are the Symptoms of Stomatitis?
The symptoms of stomatitis depend on the type of sores. A canker sore can be painful and usually lasts from five to ten days. They tend to come back after a while, but they are generally not associated with fever. Cold sores are usually painful and they normally disappear in seven to ten days. They are sometimes associated with cold or flu-like symptoms.
What Are the Causes of Stomatitis?
The exact causes of canker sores are not known, but there are many things that may contribute to their development. They include:
- Mouth trauma
- Taking certain medications
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of sleep
- Bacteria or viruses
- Sudden weight loss
- Foods such as chocolate, potatoes, cheese, coffee, citrus fruits, and nuts
Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious from the moment the blister bursts to the moment it has fully healed. The primary
infection happens before adulthood. Once the person is infected with the virus, it remains in the body, becoming dormant and reactivated by certain conditions such as fever, trauma, stress, exposure to sunlight, and hormonal changes.
How Are Common Forms of Stomatitis Treated?
Mouth sores usually do not last longer than two weeks, even when left untreated. Your dentist may be able to treat it if a cause can be determined. If that is not the case, then the treatment involves symptom relief.
You might be able to ease the pain and inflammation of mouth sores by avoiding hot beverages and foods as well as spicy, salty, and citrus-based foods. You can also gargle with cool water if you have a mouth burn or use pain relievers.
When treating canker sores, the goal is to relieve discomfort and guard against infection. Try drinking more water, rinsing with salt water, practicing proper oral hygiene, or applying a topical anesthetic.
Cold sores cannot be cured. The symptoms can be alleviated by taking a dose of valacyclovir at the first sign of the inflammation. You can also try coating the sores with a protective ointment and applying ice.
While most cases of stomatitis are benign and usually disappear within two weeks, there are those that are not harmless. If your mouth sores have not healed within two weeks, see your doctor as soon as possible.
You think you have problems with Stomatitis? Wait no further, contact Dr. George Harouni dental office today!