Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to canker: citrus canker, canker sore


 [sto″mah-ti´tis] (pl. stomati´tides)
inflammation of the mucosa of the mouth; it may be caused by any of numerous diseases of the mouth or it may accompany another disease. Both gingivitis and glossitis are forms of stomatitis.

Causes. The causes of stomatitis vary widely, from a mild local irritant to a vitamin deficiency or infection by a possibly dangerous disease-producing organism. Inflammation may arise from actual injury to the inside of the mouth, as from cheek-biting, jagged teeth, tartar accumulations, and badly fitting dentures. Irritating substances, including alcohol, and tobacco, may also cause stomatitis. Other causes are infectious bacteria, such as streptococci and gonococci or those causing necrotizing ulcerative stomatitis, diphtheria, and tuberculosis; the fungus causing thrush; or the viruses causing herpes simplex and measles. Extreme vitamin deficiencies can result in mouth inflammation, as can certain blood disorders. Poisoning with heavy metals, such as lead or mercury, can also cause stomatitis.
Symptoms. There is generally swelling and redness of the tissues of the mouth, which may become quite sore, particularly during eating. The mouth may have an unpleasant odor. In some types of stomatitis the mouth becomes dry, but in others there is excessive salivation. Ulcerations may appear, and, in extreme cases, gangrene (gangrenous stomatitis).

Other forms of stomatitis may occasionally cause more severe symptoms, including chills, fever, and headache. Sometimes bleeding or white patches in the mouth can be seen. In thrush, the symptoms themselves may be slight (white spots in the mouth resembling milk curds) but the disease may give rise to serious infections elsewhere in the body. In some cases, stomatitis causes inflammation of the parotid glands.

Stomatitis resulting from certain diseases presents special identifying symptoms. Syphilitic stomatitis produces painful ulcers in the mouth; in scarlet fever the tongue first has a strawberry color, which then deepens to a raspberry hue; in measles, Koplik's spots appear.
Treatment and Prevention. The treatment varies according to the cause. When the inflammation is caused by anemia, vitamin deficiency, or any infection of the body, both the underlying disease and the stomatitis are treated. Antibiotics often are effective against the infection and prevent its spreading to the parotid glands. Severe stomatitis can be a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation to the head and neck as treatment for cancer. Measures to alleviate the inflammation and promote healing include increasing fluid intake and using artificial saliva to minimize dryness and help buffer acidity in the mouth, avoiding liquids and foods that are chemically irritating or extremely hot, and frequent and consistent mouth care.

With proper care, many cases of stomatitis can be prevented. Cleanliness is essential, especially of the mouth, teeth, dentures, and feeding utensils. Infants may acquire mouth infection from the mother's oral flora, dirty bottles, or the mother's nipples. In the case of a prolonged fever or of any severe general illness, dryness of the mouth should be avoided by ingestion of increased amounts of fluids.
angular stomatitis superficial erosions and fissuring at the angles of the mouth; it may occur in riboflavin deficiency and in pellagra or result from overclosure of the jaws in denture wearers. Called also perlèche.
aphthous stomatitis recurrent aphthous stomatitis.
denture stomatitis inflammation of the oral mucosa seen in some patients with new dentures or with old, ill-fitting ones, caused by Candida albicans; characterized by redness, swelling, and pain of mucosa that is in contact with the denture. Called also chronic atrophic candidiasis and denture sore mouth.
gangrenous stomatitis see noma.
herpetic stomatitis herpes simplex involving the oral mucosa and lips, characterized by the formation of yellowish vesicles that rupture and produce ragged painful ulcers covered by a gray membrane and surrounded by an erythematous halo.
stomatitis medicamento´sa stomatitis due to an allergic reaction to drugs ingested, absorbed through the skin or mucosa, or given by hypodermic injection. Principal symptoms include vesicles, erosion, ulcers, erythema, purpura, angioedema, burning, and itching.
recurrent aphthous stomatitis a recurrent disease of unknown etiology, characterized by one or more small round or oval ulcer(s) on the oral mucosa, covered by a grayish fibrinous exudate and surrounded by a bright red halo. The lesions usually persist for 7 to 14 days and then heal without scarring. Called also aphthae, aphthous stomatitis, and canker sore.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


(kang'ker), Do not confuse this word with cancer or chancre.
1. In cats and dogs, acute inflammation of the external ear and auditory canal.
2. In the horse, a process similar to but more advanced than thrush. The horny frog is generally underrun with a whitish, cheeselike exudate, and the entire sole and even the wall of the hoof may be undermined.
[L. cancer, crab, malignant growth]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


1. Ulceration of the mouth and lips.
2. An inflammation or infection of the ear and auditory canal, especially in dogs and cats.
3. A condition in horses similar to but more advanced than thrush.
a. A localized diseased or necrotic area on a plant part, especially on a trunk, branch, or twig of a woody plant, usually caused by fungi or bacteria.
b. Any of several diseases of plants characterized by the presence of such lesions.
v. can·kered, can·kering, can·kers
To attack or infect with canker.
To become infected with or as if with canker.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


1. In cats and dogs, acute inflammation of the external ear and auditory canal.
See: aphtha
2. An outmoded term for aphthae.
[L. cancer, crab, malignant growth]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


a plant disease giving a limited NECROSIS of affected tissue and caused by bacteria or fungi.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005


, pl. aphthae (af'thă, -thē) Avoid the misspelling/mispronunciation aptha.
1. In the singular, a small ulcer on a mucous membrane.
2. In the plural, stomatitis characterized by intermittent episodes of painful oral ulcers of unknown etiology that are covered by gray exudate, are surrounded by an erythematous halo, and range from several millimeters to 2 cm in diameter; they are limited to oral mucous membranes that are not bound to periosteum, occur as solitary or multiple lesions, and heal spontaneously in 1-2 weeks.
Synonym(s): aphthae minor, aphthous stomatitis, canker sores, recurrent aphthous stomatitis, recurrent aphthous ulcers, recurrent ulcerative stomatitis, ulcerative stomatitis.
[G. ulceration]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Minor canker sores Minor canker sores are the most common and:
The symptoms caused by citrus canker are pustules to necrotic lesions consisting of erumpent corky tissues surrounded by oily or water-soaked margins and yellow halo.
The canker sore relief line from Hyland's, both in liquid and Soothing Dots relief tablets --for ages 2 and up--provides natural relief of sores and ulcers in the mouth as well as discomfort of gums or the tongue due to canker sores.
The lowest percentages of severity of bacterial canker were found in plants that were applied with ASM 15 days before inoculation, presenting 11.50% of SEV and 18% of AUDPC.
The symptoms of bacterial canker were observed in all grape vine varieties in the experiment in the carbon-dioxide-enriched environment.
(6.) Scholte, K, Lootsma, M., Effect of farmyard manure and green manure crops on populations of mycophagous soil fauna and Rhizoctonia stem canker of potato.
According to the American Dental Society, "Several studies have shown that individuals who lead extremely demanding, stressful lives have a higher incidence of canker sores, and the body's immune system is affected".
DenTek said it will promote the Canker Cover and OraMoist brands in conjunction with its comprehensive suite of products, which include floss picks, interdental brush cleaners, dental guards for nighttime teeth grinding, dental picks/scalers and tongue cleaners.
Researchers suspect thousand cankers disease may be contributing to the complex of diseases, including Phytophthora root and crown rot, lethal Paradox canker and crown gall, that cause decline in walnut trees.
Runion and his colleagues used open-top field chambers to expose loblolly pine and red oak seedlings to twice the normal levels of C[O.sub.2] for 6 weeks, then inoculated them with two common fungal pathogens that cause two diseases, pitch canker and fusiform rust.
The damage caused by Phyllocnistis citrella (Stainton, 1856) (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae) in furiate citrus canker outbreak (Sohi and Sandhu, 1968; Sinha et al., 1972; Cook, 1988; Venkateswarlu and Ramapandu, 1992; Chagas et al., 2001).