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Showing stomatitis on bottom lip

What is stomatitis?

Stomatitis is a general term that may be used to describe any condition that causes an inflamed and sore mouth or lips.

What causes stomatitis?

Stomatitis can be caused by any condition that inflames the mucous membranes of the mouth or lips, such as:

  • Canker sores (also called aphthous ulcers or mouth ulcers), cause not exactly known but may be due to mineral deficiencies, hormonal changes, or a viral infection
  • Certain medications, such as antibiotics, chemotherapy, medications for epilepsy or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cold Sores (caused by the herpes simplex virus)
  • Gum disease
  • Mouth irritation (from orthodontics, chewing tobacco, biting the tongue or inside of the cheeks, food hypersensitivity, hot foods or drink)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Some autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, Bechet’s disease or Crohn’s disease.

What are the symptoms of stomatitis?

Symptoms depend on the causative condition and may include:

  • Bleeding around the gums
  • Redness
  • Sores around the lips
  • Pain
  • Ulceration inside the mouth.

How is stomatitis treated?

Treatment depends on the most likely cause and may include:

  • Antiviral creams or tablets or anesthetic creams for cold sores
  • Topical corticosteroid creams, such as triamcinolone, sucralfate, or topical anesthetics for canker sores
  • Mouthwashes or dental treatment for gingivitis
  • Avoidance of the causative substance (for example, chewing tobacco or foods that cause irritation)
  • Medication changes after consultation with a doctor.