What is Stomatitis and How To Prevent it?

April 10, 2023by DMC Tour0

What is stomatitis and how to prevent it

Stomatitis is the most common oral disease. It affects children and adults alike. Its main symptom is sores, which can vary in shape and color. Once they appear in the mouth, there is always severe pain. This article explains why stomatitis occurs and how to avoid it.

What is stomatitis?

Stomatitis is the name given to a whole group of diseases that affect the oral mucosa. Almost everyone on earth has experienced at least one type of stomatitis. The body does not develop immunity to it, and even on the contrary, the chance of getting it again is high. However, some forms of the disease are highly contagious.

There are no special tests for the diagnosis of stomatitis, so the doctor assesses the extent of mucosal damage and the type of disease only by examination. However, stomatitis itself may be a symptom of another, more serious disease, so the overall clinical picture is important for diagnosis and treatment plan

What causes stomatitis?

Specialists still can’t say for sure why a person starts getting stomatitis. There are several possible causes:

Damage to the mucous membrane, tongue, and gums caused by, for example, dentures, tooth splinters, or overhanging fillings allergic reaction to foods or oral hygiene products. Accompanying medical conditions – e.g., acute respiratory viral infections, herpes, diabetes mellitus

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Dental diseases (cavities) and tartar
  • A general decrease in the immune system, e.g. caused by frequent viral infections, vitamin deficiency, or stress.
  • A decrease in the protective properties of saliva
  • Disorders of the oral and intestinal flora
  • Poor quality, poorly fitted, or obsolete dentures
  • Microbial pathogens that attack the oral mucosa
  • Systemic diseases (anemia, metabolic diseases, hormonal and autoimmune diseases)
  • Use of certain medications
  • Bad habits (e.g. smoking)

And also, according to scientists, the cause of stomatitis may be toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate. Research has shown that sodium lauryl sulfate can trigger or exacerbate chronic oral health problems.

Common symptoms of stomatitis

The symptoms of stomatitis depend on the form of the disease and how badly the mucosa is affected. The main signs of stomatitis are:

  • Swelling and redness of the mucosa. This is the first sign of stomatitis. If treatment is not started at this point, oval or circular ulcers appear where the redness has occurred. They may be grey or white, with a red halo and a film on top.
  • There is a pain in the area of the inflammation and ulcers. In severe stomatitis, the sores cover the inside of the cheeks and lips and may also be under the tongue. The pain is usually so severe that the person cannot eat.
  • Fever and headaches. If the stomatitis has a mild form, i.e. only 1-2 ulcers on the mucosa, the temperature rises only slightly. But when there are many, fever sets in and the thermometer column crawls upwards.
  • When the first symptoms of any form of stomatitis appear, you should seek help from a dentist. It is he who will identify the cause and prescribe the correct treatment. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner the symptoms disappear.

Stomatitis forms

  • Catarrhal

This is the most common form of stomatitis. With this form of the disease, the patient complains of swollen and painful mucosa. The stoma can be red, covered with white or yellow plaque and bleeding, and bad breath.

  • Aphthous ulcer

The aphthous mucous membrane of the mouth is characterized by oval or circular erosions with a hyperemic (red) rim, covered with fibrinous plaque, soft and painful on palpation. Before an aphtha appears, an area of mucosa becomes red and protrudes, and a burning sensation appears. In the mild form of the disease, there can be 1-2 aphthae, and they heal on the fifth to the sixth day. When the disease is severe, many more ulcers leave scars after recovery. Such stomatitis is chronic and depending on the condition of the body, the disease can occur up to six times a year.

  • Candida

This disease is caused by the proliferation of Candida fungi, which become more numerous due to a weakened immune system or the long-term use of antibacterial medication. Candidiasis is caused by a white coating of the tongue and mouth, a burning sensation, reddening of the mucosa, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth or loss of taste. Infants are susceptible to candida stomatitis, as are patients who wear removable dentures for prolonged periods.

  • Herpetic (or herpes) stomatitis

Both adults and children may contract it. This form of stomatitis is caused by the herpes simplex virus, which once in the body, remains there forever. In this form of stomatitis, the mucosa first turns red. It becomes painful and sensitive to all external influences. The mouth is then covered with small (3-5 mm) blisters that quickly break open to become round or oval ulcers – aphthae – with a narrow red rim and a white-gray coating in the center. The process is accompanied by quite severe pain. Depending on the number of lesions, the disease may progress to mild, moderate, or severe symptoms accompanied by an aggravation of the general well-being and fever, especially in children.

  • Allergic

In children, it can occur as a reaction to a new product that is introduced into the diet. Adults may suffer from this form of stomatitis due to a weakened immune system or inflammation of the mouth. The main distinguishing signs of allergic stomatitis are itching in the mouth, which gets worse after eating, producing large amounts of thick saliva, and very severe swelling.

A good dentist will usually only need to examine the patient’s mouth and listen to their complaints to determine what form of stomatitis they have. An accurate diagnosis is key to effective treatment.

How to treat stomatitis?

Whatever the form of stomatitis, treatment always begins with a visit to the dentist.

He or she will diagnose and prescribe treatment. If necessary, other specialists such as a gastroenterologist, immunologist, or allergist may need to be consulted.

Depending on the form of stomatitis, the doctor examines the patient and listens to complaints or prescribes laboratory tests, such as bacterial smears or skin scrapings and PCR tests to determine the pathogen (herpes virus, fungus, etc.). The treatment of stomatitis usually takes place with topical remedies and includes:

  • Normalizing and maintaining good oral hygiene
  • Spot treatment of ulcers with drugs with antimicrobial, antiviral, or antifungal properties
  • Treatment of pain with anesthetics
  • Reduction of swelling and redness with anti-inflammatory drugs

Additionally, a special diet is part of the treatment, which helps to reduce inflammation and does not irritate the mucosa.

What you can eat with stomatitis

Inflamed mucous membranes and mouth ulcers do not allow you to eat as usual. Therefore, you have to change your eating habits for the duration of the disease. This is necessary to reduce the discomfort, reduce inflammation and restore the normal microflora. Warm food of soft consistency that does not irritate the mucosa is recommended. Foods to be eaten in case of stomatitis include:

  • Warm sour milk products (kefir)
  • Fresh fruit or dried fruit compotes and kissels
  • Liquid porridge
  • Steamed and mashed meat and fish.
  • Low-fat soups
  • Curd cheese dishes

If a child has stomatitis, the diet depends on the age of the baby and the form of the disease. Frequently give the baby warm drinks that soften the mucous membranes and reduce intoxication, especially after feeding. This can be chamomile decoction or even plain boiled water. And if a baby has stomatitis, pay extra attention to sterilizing bottles and nipples and treating the breast before and after feeding.

Regardless of the age of the patient, the stop list for stomatitis patients includes:

  • Bread
  • Juices, berries, and fruits
  • Smoked foods
  • Spicy food and highly salty food
  • chips and crisps
  • Fried fish and meat

If you have stomatitis, you will need to temporarily change your regular diet in favor of liquid or semi-liquid foods. Even soft bread or biscuits should not be eaten, as they can injure inflamed mucosa.

What happens if stomatitis goes untreated

  • Chronic stomatitis

If statistics are to be believed, this is the most common complication.

It means that there will always be a nidus of infection in the body. This means that signs of the disease will appear periodically.

  • Scarring

Permanent non-healing ulcers cause scars to form on the mucosa

  • Laryngitis

If the infection spreads to the respiratory tract, you will get a cough and your voice will become hoarse.

  • Vision problems

Once herpetic stomatitis has advanced, the infection begins to spread to the mucous membranes of other organs, eg the eyes.

  • Unstable teeth

Prolonged stomatitis will gradually lead to damage to the periodontal tissues and may eventually 

  • lead to loose teeth.

How to avoid falling ill with stomatitis again?

Once the acute period has passed, and discomfort and bleeding have disappeared, it is advisable to undergo a professional oral hygiene treatment. A dental hygienist performs it. Ultrasonic cleaning removes tartar and soft plaque, and together with these harmful microorganisms. In addition, decayed teeth must be treated and orthopedic constructions and prostheses must be corrected or replaced. This will help to prevent a recurrence.

Still, have questions? Ask us.

Healthy teeth and good oral hygiene are the basis of stomatitis prevention. Brushing your teeth at home twice a day, having your teeth professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist once every six months, and seeing your dentist regularly can help keep you healthy.

If you notice signs of stomatitis, don’t hesitate to visit your dentist. DMC Tour specialists will diagnose you correctly, make an effective treatment plan and help you stay healthy.


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Copyright 2022 by DMC Tour Dental. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2022 by DMC Tour Dental. All rights reserved.