Stomatitis | Main Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Stomatitis is an inflammation of the different parts of the mouth’s mucous lining, which may include the cheek, gums, tongue, lips, roof or floor of the mouth and throat. This is caused by many reasons, such as ill-fitting dentures, poor oral hygiene, or from burns from hot drinks or foods. It can also be caused from the adverse reactions of strong cosmetics, medications, infections, radiation therapy or from allergens. Symptoms can vary from mildly painful to excruciatingly painful. Individuals who suffer from stomatitis cannot open their mouths properly, eat or drink. The region around the mouth becomes dry, and even the smallest of movements can cause fissures, cracks or lesions to bleed and even produce pus. If it is not treated early on, further complications could set in.


Main Causes of Stomatitis

If you notice cracks or splits along the corners of your mouth, you are most likely suffering from stomatitis. This skin disease is often a result of bacterial or fungal infections and can cause quite a lot of pain. It can also be a cause of embarrassment as it can develop into ulcers or dry scabs. Sometimes, this kind of skin condition is also referred to as cheilosis, cheilitis or perleche.

In children, the corners of the mouth or lips can be easily irritated by their constant lip-licking, as well as their unhealthy habits of sucking on or licking dirty objects. In adults, cases may stem from poor diets or malnutrition, and an over-closure of the mouth from wearing poor-fitting dentures. In malnutrition cases, there may be some significant deficiency of iron, and the B vitamins riboflavin (B2), folate (B9), cobalamins (B12). Severe lack of iron can lead to stomatitis, as it’s an important element needed for the body’s processes for cell replication and restoration, especially in the mouth and lips.

Children who suffer from stomatitis are the ones most adversely affected by it. The simple task of taking in solid food and liquids becomes almost impossible to do, as the act of opening the mouth itself produces moderate to severe pain, depending on the gravity of the condition. Some food or liquids may also irritate and tend to exasperate the open sores. With this comes malnutrition of the victim. With a weakened body follows a weakened immune system, making infections and diseases harder to address and resolve.

Stomatitis is often characterized by painful cuts along the sides of the lips, especially along the corners of the mouth. The pain felt can be intensified each time you open or move your mouth. In severe cases, bleeding cuts can develop and crusts can form over the cuts. It can also cause a rather unsightly appearance, like swelling, along with the corners of your mouth that can spread along the sides of your lips. This ugly appearance makes having this kind of skin condition rather embarrassing and the pain felt can be quite disturbing.

As mentioned, this skin disease is usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Specifically, the fungus Candida albicans can cause this kind of skin condition. An infection can happen when your saliva gets caught and builds up along the corners of your mouth or what medical professionals refer to as labial commissures. The saliva build-up causes an excessively moisturized environment where bacteria and fungi can easily thrive. This kind of condition often happens when you constantly lick your lips, as well as when you drool during sleep.

The use of poorly fitting dentures is also a usual cause of stomatitis. Ill-fitting dentures typically result in the over closure of your mouth; wherein folds can form along the sides of your lips or the corners of your mouth. Saliva can easily accumulate in these folds. This gives rise to a moisturized environment that is ideal for infection to take place.

Mechanical plaque control and appropriate denture-wearing habits are the most necessary measures in treating and preventing the disease. Also, denture sanitization is a crucial element in the treatment of denture stomatitis.

Other common causes for this painful skin condition include contact dermatitis or allergies. Allergic reactions to lipsticks, toothpaste, and other lip and mouth product can easily give rise to stomatitis. So before you resort to lip balms and petroleum jelly as remedies, try to check if your condition is caused by an allergic reaction or some other factor. Having low levels of iron, and vitamins B2, B3, B6, and B12 can cause you to develop this painful skin condition.

Treatment may come in the form of medicated and steroidal ointments and creams, as well as the application of homemade remedies. The duration and kinds of treatments are primarily based on the condition of the patient, and the present extent of the disease. When the disease is accompanied by a fungal infection (caused by candida), the patient also has to be given anti-fungal medicines, anti-inflammatory, and pain-killers to help ease the pain.

The severe imbalance of B vitamins and iron can be corrected with a proper nutritional intake of nutritious foods rich in B vitamins and iron. Some foods such as lean red meat, chicken, beef, fish, cheese, milk, green leafy vegetables, and more are well-advised to be taken on a daily basis to keep the body fit and healthy to combat diseases and infections.

Good oral hygiene should be observed at all times, and for those with denture problems should consult a dentist to correct the problem.

Because stomatitis may be triggered by different elements that are sometimes not related to each other, the right treatment for it would depend on what caused it in the first place. It is not right to treat vitamin deficiency caused stomatitis with topical fungal or bacterial creams if it is not caused by a fungal or bacterial infection in the first place. To be able to cure stomatitis, the first initiative would be to determine first what the cause is so that proper treatment procedure can be administered.

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