Stomatitis is a medical term that basically just means an inflamed mouth. And that’s something that everyone has probably experienced at one point or another. But there are a lot of different things that can cause stomatitis, and just as many different ways to treat it.

And regardless of what’s causing your mouth pain, you probably want to do whatever you can to treat it. So, let’s talk about some of the most common causes of mouth inflammation and what you can do about them.

What Causes Stomatitis?

There are a number of different kinds of stomatitis. One of the most common kinds is a basic canker sore. Canker sores are a form of ulcer that develops in the mouth, usually in the lips and gums. Canker sores are often painful, especially when touched. We don’t know what causes canker sores, but a possible explanation could be stress.

The second most common kind are cold sores. Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex that can be passed orally by kissing or sharing drinks with someone who has the virus. But the virus is so common that the majority of people will develop a cold sore at some point in their life.

Cold sores usually develop as blisters around the lips or in the mouth. Usually, cold sores appear after an illness or frequently during periods of stress.

And stomatitis can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies, particular deficiencies of B-vitamins. This vitamin deficiency causes the tissue inside to swell, often painfully.

Certain autoimmune conditions can also cause stomatitis. An autoimmune condition is one where the body’s immune system begins to attack your own tissue. An example would be something like lupus. In cases of lupus, the antibodies produced inside the white blood cells begin to attack the tissue inside the mouth. As a result, the tissue becomes swollen and painful.

All of these conditions make it difficult to eat or drink or even speak. And they’re often quite painful. So, if you’re suffering from one, you probably want to know how to treat it. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do.

How Can You Treat It?

Treatment for this condition depends on what, specifically, is causing the issue. For canker sores, there isn’t much you can do. Sometimes gargling with antibacterial mouthwash can help remove bacteria from the area, which can prevent infections and help speed healing. And a dentist can actually use a form of laser treatment to resolve symptoms almost immediately. Although, in most cases of canker sores, they go away by themselves within a few days. And you can reduce the severity of the pain by avoiding foods or drinks that aggravate the sores such as foods heavy in citric acid or spicy foods.

For cold sores, the treatment is similar. Most heal within a week, which means treatment is usually limited to using antibiotic ointment to help prevent infections.

In cases of stomatitis caused by autoimmune conditions, the treatment options are a bit wider. Most forms of treatment for autoimmune conditions rely on treating the inflammation of the tissue. And there are a number of different medications that doctors can prescribe to accomplish this.

The first is basic over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen. These belong to a class of drugs called NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They work to fight inflammation by blocking the body’s production of an inflammation producing enzyme.

In addition, doctors often prescribe corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are a hormone that your body naturally produces in response to inflammation. They signal that your body should shut off the inflammatory response. But your doctor can also prescribe synthetic forms of the hormone to help bolster your body’s ability to fight inflammation.

Finally, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for autoimmune conditions is a type of drug called an immunosuppressant. Immunosuppressant drugs work by reducing the activity of the immune system. This means that your cells won’t produce as many antibodies. That means that there are fewer antibodies to attack the tissue in the mouth. And this means you’ll experience less inflammation.

These drugs do carry certain risks, however. Because they reduce the strength of the immune system, they leave you more vulnerable to infections. It’s best to weigh the risks and benefits with your doctor, as you would with any medication.

This is republished article. Originally this article was published by