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Stomatitis

The small open sores or ulcers inside your mouth might indicate that your mucous lining is inflamed. This HealthHearty article discusses the condition.
Abhay Burande
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
An inflammation of the mucous lining of any structure related to the mouth like the tongue, gums, throat, cheeks, lips or the roof or floor of the mouth is called stomatitis. There is redness, swelling, occasional bleeding, and bad breath. It can affect infants as well as older people.
Types
  • Mycotic stomatitis: Also called an oral thrush, this is an candida infection of the mouth and other oral areas. In infants it may occur particularly after a course of antibiotics. Those with a weak immune system are generally susceptible.
  • Gingivostomatitis: It is characterized by the inflammation of gums and is caused by the herpes simplex virus.
  • Stomatitis nicotina: This is mainly caused by smoking cigars, cigarettes, and pipes. It can be identified by the presence of red bumps on the roof of the mouth.
  • Herpetic stomatitis: It is caused due to a viral infection of the mouth, and is marked by the presence of ulcers and inflammation.
  • Aphthous stomatitis: Here, small ulcers appear inside the lips, on the cheeks or tongue.
  • Chronic ulcerative stomatitis: This condition is characterized by ulcers.
Symptoms
  • Blood in saliva
  • Oral bleeding
  • Bad breath
  • Oral membrane ulcers
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Sore mouth
  • Mouth inflammation
  • Sensitivity to mouthwashes, toothpastes, and lipsticks
Causes
  • Jagged teeth
  • Cheek-biting
  • Poorly-fitted oral appliances
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Drinking hot beverages
  • Common cold sore, measles, gonorrhea, AIDS, leukemia, lack of vitamin C
  • Excess consumption of spices, alcohol, hot food or tobacco products
  • Exposure to heavy metals like mercury, bismuth, and lead
  • Fungal infections
  • Chemical irritation
  • Chronic stomatitis is caused by anemia, leukemia, neutropenia, vitamin C deficiency, agranulocytosis, and auto-immune diseases.
Diagnosis
  • Patient's history that comprises a dietary deficiency, a systemic disease or contact with materials leading to an allergic reaction.
  • Physical examination of oral lesions and other skin problems.
  • Blood tests to infer any infection.
  • Microscopic evaluation of the scrapings of the lining of the mouth.
  • Cultures of the mouth to detect any infectious agent.
Treatment
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene.
  • Avoid eating sharp-edged foods like tacos, peanuts and potato chips.
  • Use soft-bristled toothbrush and careful washing of teeth and gums.
  • Correct ill-fitting dental appliances or sharp teeth.
  • Take medication for infectious conditions and to overcome vitamin B12, iron or folate deficiency.
  • Use cotton-tipped applicator for aphthous ulcer.
  • Low-power treatment with a carbon dioxide laser for recurrent aphthae.
  • Use tetracycline antibiotics or corticosteroids for aphthous stomatitis.
  • Use valacyclovir for stomatitis due to herpesviruses.
  • Use topical anesthetics like a 2% lidocaine gel or a protective paste (Orabase) or a coating agent like Kaopectate.
  • Resort to botanical medicines like calendula in tincture form and diluted for a mouth rinse.
One can even resort to topical treatments that include corticosteroids, anesthetics, antibiotics, protective coatings, antihistamines and physical measures like cautery.
  • 5 ml of 2% viscous lidocaine is mixed with 10 ml water and used as a rinse.
  • Carboxymethylcellulose paste with or without 1% triamcinolone qid decreases irritation of local lesions.
  • 30 ml of sucralfate and aluminum-magnesium liquid antacides are used alone or mixed with 2% viscous lidocaine 5 ml, diphenhydramine, 12.5 mg kaolin for rinsing and expectoration.
  • Tetracycline or nystatin suspension is useful.
  • Fluocinonide gel is applied to the ulcer.
Chemical or physical cautery relieves pain. Silver nitrate sticks are less effective than low-power, defocused, pulsed-mode carbon dioxide laser treatments.
Prevention
  • Those having dentures should regularly visit the dentists.
  • Those with systemic diseases or chronic medical problems should visit a health care provider.
  • Avoid consuming hot foods and drinks.
  • Avoid tobacco in any form.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Proper selection of mouthwashes and toothpastes.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.