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Dental Health

Oral Health: What is Stomatitis and What Can You Do about it?
Dec 15, 2021

girl covering mouth Dental Care Center

You may have had stomatitis and not even realized it. That’s because this condition is often called other things, such as canker sores or cold sores.

Stomatitis is a type of mucositis, pain or inflammation of the mucous membrane. In other words, it’s inflammation in your mouth. There are two main types of stomatitis:

  • Canker sores: These sores are pale white, or yellowish, with a red outer ring. They often develop on the inside of the lips or cheek, or on the tongue. These sores usually cause slight, temporary pain, and can last from two to six weeks. It is common for women and teenagers to get canker sores. They can run in families but are not contagious.
  • Cold Sores: These sores a small and painful. They are fluid-filled sores around or near the edge of the mouth. Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus and are very contagious. Before the sore appears, you may feel a tingling or burning sensation, and then the sore dries up and scabs over.

Stomatitis can also occur in other ways, and there are different names for it:

  • Cheilitis – inflammation of the lips and around the mouth
  • Glossitis – inflammation of the tongue
  • Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums
  • Pharyngitis – inflammation of the back of the mouth

Causes of Stomatitis
Aside from the viral cause for cold sores, other things can cause this inflammation, including injury, infection, allergy, or skin disease. Some of these are:

  • Ill-fitting dentures or braces
  • Biting the inside of the cheek, tongue, or lip
  • Chemotherapy treatment for cancer
  • Viral infection, such as herpes
  • Yeast infection, such as thrush
  • Conditions associated with dry mouth
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Bacterial infections
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Weakened or deficient immune system
  • Stress
  • Allergic reactions
  • Burns from hot food or drinks

If you are experiencing any pain or inflammation in your mouth, talk to a doctor or dentist right away. Your physician or dentist will examine your mouth and may take a swap or tissue sample. Treatment depends on what is causing the problem but may include steroids, antibiotics, or anesthetics.

If you have persistent inflammation or pain, try:  

  • Switching to a non-alcoholic mouthwash
  • Treating chronic dry mouth
  • Using a soft toothbrush
  • Maintaining proper nutrition and hydration
  • Continue routine dental check-ups

If you have any questions or concerns about pain in your mouth, contact us or come in for an exam.