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The Causes and Treatment for Stomatitis

teeth health smile dentistStomatitis refers to the inflammation of the internal lining of the mouth. It is a type of mucositis and affects the mucous membrane that lines the surface of the mouth. The mucous membrane covers the entire digestive system from the mouth to the anus and produces mucus that serves a protective function.

Stomatitis that recurs is characterized by mouth ulcers. It is referred to as recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS). RAS is the most common form of mouth disease and affects 5 to 25 percent of the population.

Several factors may lead to stomatitis such as viral and yeast infections, allergy, tobacco use, injury, chemotherapy treatment, dry mouth, stress, nutritional deficiencies, compromised immune system, or skin disease.

Stomatitis presents in two main ways:

Apthous Ulcers

Apthous ulcers appear as pale white or yellowish patches with a red outer ring. The sores will appear singly or in a cluster on the tongue, on the inside of the cheek or the lips.

Apthous ulcers cause acute and temporary pain and will often resolve in 4 to 14 days. The severe cases can even last for more than 6 weeks. Apthous ulcers are not contagious and are most common in women, teens and people in their 20s.

Cold sores

Cold sores go by the name herpes stomatitis and are small, painful, fluid-filled sores that appear on and around the lips at the edges of the mouth. The cold sores are caused by the herpes virus.

The cold sores tend to keep coming back but will only last for around 5-7 days. Unlike apthous ulcers, cold sores are very contagious. You will experience a burning or tingling sensation and tenderness before the sore appears. When it dries up, the sore leaves a yellow coloured scab.


Treatment for stomatitis is dependent on the cause. In cases of allergy, the cause of the allergy must be diagnosed and eliminated. Diet and medication will address nutritional deficiencies that lead to stomatitis.

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Dr Ashley Davenport BDS MFGDP(UK)

I qualified as a dentist in 1995 and can honestly say that I have been doing a job that I love for the past 20 plus years. Most people who know me well know that dentistry is a passion for me and that if I won the lottery I would still want to have some dentistry in my life. I get huge satisfaction from treating patients and making a difference to ...

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Dr Catherine Myatt BDS MFGDP(UK)

Cath joined the practice as a dentist in 2002.  She and Ashley met on their postgraduate Vocational Training course in Birmingham when they ended up working at the same practice in West Bromwich.  When Ashley was looking for an associate at Balsall Common Dental Practice, Cath came to take the role and she has been here ever since.  In 2017 Cath...

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Last updated: December 9th, 2022

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