Stomatitis

Stomatitis is an inflammation of the mucous lining of the mouth. It can affect part of the mouth or the whole mouth. The intensity of symptoms can range from mild to severe. It can affect your cheek, teeth, gums, lips, or tongue. In almost all cases, the lining of the mouth becomes swollen, red, and painful. Painful ulcers can develop in your mouth. Stomatitis recurs in some people.

CAUSES

There are many common causes of stomatitis. They include:

  • Viruses (such as cold sores or shingles).

  • Canker sores.

  • Bacteria (such as ulcerative gingivitis or sexually transmitted diseases).

  • Fungus or yeast (such as candidiasis or oral thrush).

  • Poor oral hygiene and poor nutrition (Vincent's stomatitis or trench mouth).

  • Lack of vitamin B, vitamin C, or niacin.

  • Dentures or braces that do not fit properly.

  • High acid foods (uncommon).

  • Sharp or broken teeth.

  • Cheek biting.

  • Breathing through the mouth.

  • Chewing tobacco.

  • Allergy to toothpaste, mouthwash, candy, gum, lipstick, or some medicines.

  • Burning your mouth with hot drinks or food.

  • Exposure to dyes, heavy metals, acid fumes, or mineral dust.

SYMPTOMS

  • Painful ulcers in the mouth.

  • Blisters in the mouth.

  • Bleeding gums.

  • Swollen gums.

  • Irritability.

  • Bad breath.

  • Bad taste in the mouth.

  • Fever.

  • Trouble eating because of burning and pain in the mouth.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver will examine your mouth and look for bleeding gums and mouth ulcers. Your caregiver may ask you about the medicines you are taking. Your caregiver may suggest a blood test and tissue sample (biopsy) of the mouth ulcer or mass if either is present. This will help find the cause of your condition.

TREATMENT

Your treatment will depend on the cause of your condition. Your caregiver will first try to treat your symptoms.

  • You may be given pain medicine. Topical anesthetic may be used to numb the area if you have severe pain.

  • Your caregiver may prescribe antibiotic medicine if you have a bacterial infection.

  • Your caregiver may prescribe antifungal medicine if you have a fungal infection.

  • You may need to take antiviral medicine if you have a viral infection like herpes.

  • You may be asked to use medicated mouth rinses.

  • Your caregiver will advise you about proper brushing and using a soft toothbrush. You also need to get your teeth cleaned regularly.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Maintain good oral hygiene. This is especially important for transplant patients.

  • Brush your teeth carefully with a soft, nylon-bristled toothbrush.

  • Floss at least 2 times a day.

  • Clean your mouth after eating.

  • Rinse your mouth with salt water 3 to 4 times a day.

  • Gargle with cold water.

  • Use topical numbing medicines to decrease pain if recommended by your caregiver.

  • Stop smoking, and stop using chewing or smokeless tobacco.

  • Avoid eating hot and spicy foods.

  • Eat soft and bland food.

  • Reduce your stress wherever possible.

  • Eat healthy and nutritious foods.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your symptoms persist or get worse.

  • You develop new symptoms.

  • Your mouth ulcers are present for more than 3 weeks.

  • Your mouth ulcers come back frequently.

  • You have increasing difficulty with normal eating and drinking.

  • You have increasing fatigue or weakness.

  • You develop loss of appetite or nausea.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have a fever.

  • You develop pain, redness, or sores around one or both eyes.

  • You cannot eat or drink because of pain or other symptoms.

  • You develop worsening weakness, or you faint.

  • You develop vomiting or diarrhea.

  • You develop chest pain, shortness of breath, or rapid and irregular heartbeats.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.