What is stomatitis?

Stomatitis is inflammation in the oral cavity. It can occur on the inside of the cheeks, gums, on the inside of the lips or on the tongue.

There are two main forms of oral inflammation: herpetic and aphthous stomatitis. Both forms are most often seen in children and teenagers.

The herpes form of the disease is an infection usually in young children aged 6 months to 5 years. This is an infection with herpes simplex type 1 /HSV 1/. This is the same virus that causes cold sores on the outside of the mouth in adults. The infection is related to the HSV 2 virus that causes genital herpes, but it is not the same virus.

Aphthous stomatitis is called herpetic gingivostomatitis. In this form of the disease, depressions or ulcers form in the cheeks, gums, on the inside of the lips or on the tongue. An ulcer can be just one or a collection of sores in a certain area in the oral cavity. This infection is most common among young people between the ages of 10 and 19.

What are the symptoms of stomatitis?

In the herpetic form of the disease, numerous blisters are formed, which appear on the gums, palate, cheeks, tongue or on the border between the outer and inner lips. Eating and drinking fluids may become difficult.

There is a risk of dehydration of the affected person. The mouth of the infected person may begin to drool, their gums may swell and become painful. Children are usually very irritable.

A high temperature is the main sign of infection with the HSV 1 virus and is usually above 38.3 degrees Celsius.

The infected person develops a high fever a few days before the blisters appear. When the blisters burst, sores appear in their place. Secondary infections can develop from the sores. Infections usually clear up in about 7-10 days.

In herpetic gingivostomatitis, the symptoms are expressed in the formation of round or oval sores or ulcers with red, inflamed borders. The center of the ulcers is usually white or yellow in color. Most ulcers are small and oval and disappear within 1-2 weeks without scarring.

Treatment of stomatitis

The herpes form of the disease is treated with the antiviral drug acyclovir. Taking this medication will shorten the length of time the infection occurs. Especially in young children, the risk of dehydration is high, so it is important to increase fluid intake. It is recommended to switch to a liquid diet with non-acidic foods.

You can take paracetamol to reduce fever and mouth pain. For acute pain, topical lidocaine can be used. But this medicine will completely dry your mouth. This can cause problems with swallowing, burns or suffocation and should therefore be used with care.

Infection with the HSV 1 virus can also affect the eyes and cause a serious complication called herpes keratoconjunctivitis, which can cause blindness. Seek immediate medical attention in this case.

Aphthous stomatitis is usually mild to moderate and does not require treatment. If the pain is very severe or the wounds are larger, you can apply topical creams containing benzocaine or another pain-relieving agent.

Frequent mouth rinses with salt water will help relieve pain. Using milk of magnesia several times a day has a calming effect.

If the pain is very severe and the wounds are very large, you will speed up your recovery by rinsing your mouth with a solution containing tetracycline. But staining of permanent teeth is possible in young children.

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