Stomatitis is the term used for describing inflamed and sore mouth that can interfere with eating, talking, and even sleeping. It can emerge anywhere inside the mouth, usually on the inside of the cheeks, gums, lips, palate, and tongue.
There are several types of stomatitis:
- canker sore (aphthous ulcer)
- cold sore (fever blister)
- mouth irritation
Canker Sore, which is also referred to as aphthous ulcer, is a yellow sore with outer red border that typically grows on the inside of the cheeks, tongue, and inner lip. The exact cause of this oral problem is not known, although it is believed that several factors may trigger its onset. These include:
- lack of sleep
- sudden weight loss
- certain medications
- bacteria or viruses
- nutritional deficiency
- stress or injury of the mouth
- foods that are high in acid content
It may also be brought about by:
- hormonal changes
- deficiency in vitamin B12 or folate
- weakened immune system against cold or flu
Biting inside the cheek can also cause a canker sore to emerge.
Cold Sore or fever blisters is a fluid-filled growth on the lip that come with tingling, burning and tenderness. Sometimes, cold sores can also appear on the gums or the roof of the mouth.
Unlike the canker sore, this one is contagious as it is caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus type 1. When a person gets infected with this virus, the virus stays in the body and becomes dormant. It only becomes reactivated if there are triggers like fever, trauma, hormonal changes, stress, or exposure to sunlight.
Mouth Irritation has a wide variety of causes including:
- chewing tobacco
- wearing dental appliances
- having sharp or broken tooth
- biting your cheek, tongue or lip
- burning one's mouth with hot food or drink
- having gingivitis or other mouth infection
- having autoimmune disease that affects the mouth such as lupus or Behcet's disease
- taking certain medications such as those use for rheumatoid arthritis and epilepsy
Symptoms of stomatitis depend on the type.
For canker sores, these include fever and painful sores that last from 5 to 10 days.
For cold sores, there are sores last from 7 to 10 days, and flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and fever.
For mouth irritation, it is the sore that comes from the contributing injury or infection.
Most canker sores can go away without any treatment. If it doesn't heal on its own, you can go to the doctor to find out what's wrong. He/she will identify the cause if it's fungal, bacterial or viral infection, and then suggest appropriate treatment.
To alleviate symptoms of canker sores and mouth irritation:
- You must avoid acidic, salty and spicy foods.
- Hot beverages should also be limited.
- For pain relief, you may take painkillers such as acetaminophen.
- It would also help to gargle with water or suck on ice pops.
- Rinsing with salt water can also speed up the healing process of canker sores.
For fever blisters (cold sores):
- Treatment is done by coating the lesions with protective ointment that contain antiviral agent.
- Applying ice on the lesion can tone down the burning and tingling sensation.
- Antiviral medications may also shorten the duration of lesion appearance.