If you’ve ever wondered what is stomatitis, we are here to help you understand this condition better.
Stomatitis is a catch-all term for any inflammation and soreness in the mouth. It can appear anywhere in the mouth and may make it difficult for the sufferer to eat, talk, and can even disturb your sleep if it is severe enough.
What Causes Stomatitis?
As stomatitis refers to different types of mouth irritation, the causes can be many and varied. The two main causes of stomatitis are:
- Canker sores
A canker sore, or aphthous ulcer — to give it its medical name, can be a single ulcer, either pale or yellow in color with an outer ring of red, or a cluster of this type of ulcer, usually occurring on the inside of the cheek, lip or the tongue. The symptoms of canker sores are as follows:
- Can be painful.
- Last between 5 and 10 days on average.
- Are usually recurring (they come back).
- They are not contagious.
The exact cause of a canker sore is hard to pinpoint, however, they can be triggered by one or a combination of these factors: stress, bad nutrition, hypersensitivity to foods like chocolate, potatoes, or citrus fruits, and beverages, such as coffee, reduce levels of immunity caused by a cold or the flu, or simply biting your cheek or tongue.
Cold sores, sometimes referred to as fever blisters, are those blister-like sores that break out on or near your lips. They usually produce a tingling or burning sensation before they appear, crust over and form a scab after a few days. These are the symptoms of cold sores:
- They are usually painful, even before they appear.
- Last up to 10 days.
- Can be accompanied by cold or fever symptoms
- Are recurring
- Are contagious.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are very contagious. This virus is usually contracted in childhood and remains in the body throughout your life.
Normally dormant, it can be triggered by stress, low immunity due to illness, hormonal changes, or even sunlight. The sore will usually break out in the same place, but scratching it can cause it to spread across the mouth and even to other parts of the body such as the genitals.
Other causes of mouth irritation are:
- Biting the inside of your mouth or tongue, or burning it with hot food or drink.
- Injury to the inside of the mouth or tongue from a broken tooth.
- Gum disease or other types of mouth infection.
- Hypersensitivity to particular foods or medicine.
- Radiation treatment for cancer.
- Autoimmune disease such as Lupus, Crohn’s disease, or Behcet’s disease.
- Medication such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, and some medications used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and epilepsy.
Most cases of stomatitis will clear up by themselves in a week to 10 days, depending on the cause. If your doctor can identify the exact cause of the outbreak, they can prescribe specific treatment. If not, you should concentrate on relieving the symptoms.
The way to do this is to:
- Avoid hot food and beverages as well as spices and citrus-based food or drinks.
- Take painkillers such as Tylenol.
- Rinse your mouth out with salty water to fight infection.
- Increase your intake of water.
And remember, by practicing proper dental care you will greatly improve the health of your mouth and gums, so even if you are afflicted with an outbreak of stomatitis, it will not be as severe as it could be. And if you have any concerns over your dental health, call us here, at Doral Sedation Dentistry, and book an appointment immediately!