Stomatitis is otherwise called as sore mouth. It refers to the swelling of oral cavity including cheeks, lips, gums and tongue. The soft mucous membranes of the mouth gets inflamed making it difficult to eat and swallow. Stomatitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the mouth as a whole.
Stomatitis can be broadly classified into two types namely canker sore and cold sores. Canker sore is medically called as aphthous ulcer that develops as a painful sore in the cheeks, tongue and lips. It can occur either as single ulcer or in the form of groups as cluster of ulcers. Cold sores also known as fever blisters are the painful sores that develop in and around the lips.
Some of the common signs of stomatitis are formation of red patches or sores in the mouth, ulcers on the mouth, blisters on the lips and oral cavitiy, peeling of skin, tingling sensation or numbness, and burning pain. Canker sores last for a week and can be very painful. Cold sores or fever blisters would cause flu like symptoms and are painful. In severe cases it can cause malnutrition (due to difficulty in eating and drinking) and dehydration.
There are varieties of factors that can cause stomatitis. It can occur due to infection, dry mouth, sudden injury on the mouth, smoking, taking chemotherapy or radiation treatment, biting your lips or tongue accidentally, certain types of dental procedures, wearing ill fitting braces, chewing tobacco constantly, gum disease, drinking or eating hot/spicy foods, and having autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease.
Bacterial infection like necrotizing periodontal disease, syphilis, gonorrhea, fungal infections like Candida and viral infections like varicella, Epstein Barr virus and Herpes virus etc. Certain types of systemic disorders like inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, and Kawasaki disease can cause stomatitis. Some kinds of drugs like can affect the soft lining of the mouth causing painful sores.
Your doctor will closely look into the symptoms to find the exact cause of stomatitis. The method of testing depends on the causative factor of stomatitis. He may order for series of tests like blood test, bacterial swabs, and patch test, biopsy and tissue scrapings from the affected portion of the mouth.
Mild forms of cold sores or canker sores will not last more than a week or 10 days. So many types of stomatitis will resolve without any treatment. The mode of treatment depends on the root cause of the problem. Your doctor is the right person to identify the cause. Medical treatment is to be given for treating stomatitis occurring due to bacterial or fungal or viral infection. Accordingly suitable medications are given.
Your doctor may give topical corticosteroids like triamcinolone paste that cures the sores on the lips and tongue. Canker sores can be treated with Blistex or other suitable drugs. Peridex mouthwash is very effective for treating cold sores. Pills like prednisone are effective in controlling the symptoms of canker sores.
Home Remedies :
- The goal of the treatment is to control the pain and cure the inflammation.
- Avoid eating hot and spicy foods and avoid citrus foods also since it can worsen the pain. Gargle cool water to manage burning pain on the mouth.
- Take plenty of water to prevent dehydration and if you can tolerate, rinse the oral cavity with salt water.
- Over the counter topical anesthetics like xylocaine or lidocaine can be applied on the affected area. Alternatively you can take Tylenol for getting relief from symptoms.
- Apply ice packs on the lesions can give you some relief.
- If stomatitis occurs due to anemia you need to include folic acid or iron supplements in your diet.