Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD. Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis

Stomatitis is a generalized inflammation of the mouth. It involves the oral mucosa, lips, tongue, and palate. There are many causes of stomatitis. Acute herpetic stomatitis and aphthous stomatitis are the two most common auses. Other causes include allergic reactions, smoking, dental disease, vitamin deficiencies, systemic diseases, medications, and other viral and bacterial infections. Stomatitis is a common condition found in all age groups. An examination is the best way to detect stomatitis. Occasionally if the cause is not clear or there is no improvement with treatment, a biopsy is done. In most cases, stomatitis will resolve with outpatient treatment.

Living With Your Diagnosis
There are variable signs and symptoms associated with stomatitis. There is inflammation of the mouth that may be associated with varying amounts of pain. Sores (ulcers) in the mouth are associated with some causes. You may also have bad breath (halitosis). There may also be symptoms of fever, malaise, headache, and loss of appetite.

The treatment will vary depending on the cause. The key, no matter the cause, is providing symptomatic relief. Analgesics such as acetaminophen and topical anesthetic agents should be used. Mouth rinses with a half teaspoon of baking soda and 8 oz of warm water can provide relief. If symptoms are so severe that you are not able to drink fluids, intravenous fluids may be given. The other treatment options are dependent on the cause. If the cause is bacterial infection, antibiotics are necessary. If the cause is nutritional deficiencies, vitamin supplementation is the treatment. If the symptoms are severe, corticosteriods taken by mouth may be necessary.

The DOs
• A bland or liquid diet may be needed.
• Good oral hygiene is necessary. Brush and floss teeth and clean the tongue after each meal. See a dentist regularly.
• If you wear dentures, they should be fitted properly.

The DON’Ts
• Avoid foods that are spicy, hard, sharp, or dry.
• Avoid foods or other agents that can cause allergic reactions in the mouth.
• Avoid smoking.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If you have symptoms of stomatitis.
• If symptoms worsen after treatment begins.
• If symptoms do not resolve after 7–14 days of treatment.