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stomatitis(sto-ma-tit'is) [ stomato- + -itis]
Stomatitis may be associated with viral infections, chemical irritation, radiation therapy, mouth breathing, paralysis of nerves supplying the oral area, chemotherapy that damages or destroys the mucous membranes, adverse reactions to other medicines, or acute sun damage to the lips. The nasal and oral mucosa are esp. vulnerable to trauma from dental appliances, nasal cannula, nasotracheal tubes, or catheters administering nutrients. These areas may also be damaged during surgery when an endotracheal tube is in place.
Symptoms include oral pain, esp. when eating or drinking, bad breath, or difficulty in swallowing. Findings include oral ulcers, friability of the mucous membranes, swollen cervical lymph nodes, and sometimes fever.
Treatment depends on the cause but is often symptomatic. The mucous membranes should be kept moist and clear of tenacious secretions. Care of the teeth and gingival tissues should be comprehensive and include flossing. The pain of stomatitis may be alleviated by systemic analgesics or application of anesthetic preparations to painful lesions. It is important for patients with dentures to clean their dentures thoroughly. Dentures should be removed from unconscious or stuporous patient. See: toothbrushing
aphthous stomatitisAphthous ulcer.
Although most patients are asymptomatic (the finding is noticed by dental professionals during oral examination, rather than by the patient), the condition should be treated to prevent progression to more serious oral diseases. Removal of plaque from dentures (as by brushing them carefully), removal of dentures at night, and sanitizing dentures regularly (as with an overnight soak in a chlorhexidine solution) all prevent the condition from occurring. Antifungal medications are used if fungi are isolated on culture swabs.