Stomatitis: What is it? Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

It is a general term for a sore that appears in the mouth, causing inflammation and pain; it can affect a person’s ability to eat, talk and sleep.

Stomatitis can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the inside of the cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, and palate.

Types of stomatitis

There are different types of this condition, which you can mention:

  • Mouth sore: Also known as an aphthous ulcer, it is a single pale or yellow ulcer with a red outer ring or a group of such ulcers in the mouth, usually on the cheeks, tongue, or inside the lip.
  • Cold sores are composed of a liquid that develops on the lips or around the mouth—rarely formed in the gums or on the palate. Cold sores stick with a scab and are usually associated with tingling, tenderness, or burning before the sores appear.

A rash or irritation in the mouth can also appear due to the following causes:

  • I was biting the cheek, tongue, or lip.
  • Use dental appliances such as braces, or have a sharp and broken tooth.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Burns on the lips from the intake of hot foods.
  • Have gum disease ( gingivitis ) or another type of infection in the mouth.
  • Have hypersensitivity to certain things, such as food or medicine.
  • I have certain autoimmune diseases that affect the lining of the mouth, such as lupusCrohn’s disease, or Behcet’s disease.
  • Take certain medications, such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, drugs used for rheumatoid arthritis, or medications for epilepsy.


Canker sores

  • It can be painful.
  • Usually, it lasts from 5 to 10 days.
  • They tend to come back.
  • They are not usually associated with fever.

Herpes labial

  • They are usually painful.
  • They disappear between 7 to 10 days.
  • Sometimes they are associated with cold or flu symptoms.

Causes of stomatitis

Canker sores

Many factors can contribute to its development, such as certain medications, traumatism in the mouth, poor nutrition, stress, bacteria or viruses, lack of sleep, sudden weight loss, and certain foods such as potatoes, citrus fruits, coffee, chocolate, cheese, and nuts.

Canker sores can also be related to a temporarily reduced immune system due to a cold or flu, hormonal changes, or low levels of vitamin B12 or folate.

Even biting the inside of the cheek or chewing on a piece of food can cause an ulcer. Mouth ulcers can result from a genetic predisposition and are considered an autoimmune disease; They are not contagious.


Herpes labial

Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1. Unlike cold sores, cold sores are contagious from the moment the blister ruptures until it is completely healed.

The initial infection often occurs before adulthood and can be confused with a cold or the flu. Once infected with the virus, it remains in the body, becoming inactive and reactivated by conditions such as stress, fever, trauma, hormonal changes (such as menstruation), and exposure to sunlight.

When the sores reappear, they tend to form in the same place. In addition to infecting other people, the virus can also spread to another part of the affected person’s body, such as the eyes or genitals.


Canker sores usually last no longer than two weeks, even without treatment. If a cause can be identified, the specialist doctor can treat it. If a cause can not be identified, the treatment approach changes to the relief of symptoms.

The following methods can help relieve pain and inflammation of sores in the mouth:

  • Avoid hot drinks and foods, as well as salty, spicy, and citrus foods.
  • Use analgesics such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
  • Gargle with cold water or suck the ice if you have a burn in your mouth.

For canker sores, the treatment is to relieve discomfort and protect against infection, as follows:

  • Drink more water.
  • Rinse the wound with saltwater.
  • Practice adequate dental care.
  • Apply a topical anesthetic such as Lidocaine or Xylocaine to the ulcer (not recommended for children under six years old).
  • Use a topical preparation of corticosteroids, such as triamcinolone toothpaste (Kenalog in Orabase 0.1%), which protects a sore inside the lip and gums.
  • Blistex and Campho-Phenique can offer some relief from canker sores and cold sores, mainly if it is applied when the sore appears for the first time.

For the most severe ulcers, treatments may include:

  • Gel Lidex.
  • Ophthalmol is an anti-inflammatory paste.
  • Peridex mouthwash.

If the affected person frequently suffers from canker sores, they may have a deficiency of folate or vitamin B12.

Anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids (including prednisone ) are the most effective treatment for canker sores because they reduce swelling and pain.

They are also effective for cold sores after the ulcer is present for three or four days because the virus disappears and only inflammation remains.

Not all people can take certain types of anti-inflammatory medications. For example, if prednisone is given to people with diabetes, their blood sugar level will increase, so they should be prescribed by medical specialists.

There is no cure for cold sores. The treatment includes:

  • Take a valaciclovir (Valtrex) dose at the first sign of an attack.
  • Cover the lesions with a protective ointment such as an antiviral agent (e.g., 5% acyclovir ointment).
  • Application of ice to the lesion.

Taking L-lysine tablets can also help the antiviral medications prescribed by a doctor. Some experts believe that these medications shorten the time when blisters are present.