What is Stomatitis?
Stomatitis is actually the general term used to refer to an inflammation and soreness in the mouth. It can occur pretty much anywhere in your mouth including the gums, cheeks, palate, tongue and lips. It can be very painful and irritating and makes everyday functions like eating and speaking very difficult.
Types of Stomatitis
There are two main types of stomatitis and treatment or home remedies will depend on which type you have. Herpes stomatitis more commonly called a cold sore and canker sores known medically as aphthous stomatitis.
Canker sores are yellow or pale ulcers with an red and inflamed outer ring. They can occur alone or in a cluster and usually present on the inside of a person’s cheeks, tongue or inner lip. Canker sores are not contagious and usually clear up on their own within a week or two.
Cold sores more commonly occur in the areas around a person’s lips but can occur elsewhere in the mouth. Also known as fever blisters, they are sores filled with fluid which crusts over to form a scab. Before the sores appear, you may feel a tingling or burning sensation in the mouth or lip.
Whether you are suffering from a cold sore or a canker sore, you may have great difficulty eating, drinking, swallowing and even talking or sleeping.
Cold sores can also cause irritability and fever. Body temperature can rise considerably as a result of a HSV-1 infection.
Canker sores usually heal within two weeks while the infection that causes a cold sore is usually gone after around ten days.
Causes of Stomatitis
In the case of herpes stomatitis, the blister is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). This type of stomatitis can occur any time but young children are more at risk especially those under the age of 5.
Aphtomus stomatitis on the other hand is not caused by a virus and they are not contagious. (1) They are usually associated with damage to the mucous membranes inside the mouth and poor oral hygiene. In fact, experts are not entirely sure what causes canker sores but some of the possible causes include:
- Injuries from dental work or accidental cheek biting.
- Dentures, sharp teeth or braces.
- Celiac disease.
- Food allergies such as a sensitivity to citrus fruit, cheese, nuts or eggs.
- Allergies to oral bacteria.
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
- Autoimmune disorder.
- Deficiencies in nutrients including iron, zinc and vitamin B-12.
- Candida Albicans.
Conventional Treatment Options
The treatment for stomatitis depends on whether it is the viral form or a canker sore.
Treatment for Herpes Stomatitis Includes:
- Zovirax – an antiviral medication.
- Topical lidocaine to help deal with pain and swelling.
- A liquid diet to help with hydration especially in children.
Treatment for Aphthous Stomatitis Includes:
- Oral numbing creams or gels.
- Medications like oral steroid drugs for rare cases with large outbreaks.
Home Remedies for Stomatitis
As is the case with conventional treatment, the type of home remedy you use will largely depend on the type of stomatitis you are trying to treat. Canker sores tend to disappear of their own accord after a few weeks but the home treatments here can help ease your pain and relieve the inflammation.
In the case of herpes stomatitis, certain home remedies may help get destroy the virus that has caused the sore or at the very least, hasten your recovery and relieve the pain.
Avoiding spicy food or food that you know can irritate your mouth and gums is important as is making sure your oral hygiene routine is good. On top of that, there are some very effective remedies for stomatitis that you can try at home
Lemon balm is a very effective remedy for herpes stomatitis. You can apply it to your spore to speed up healing and it will also help to prevent further outbreaks. You can either apply it to your sore in the form of a balm or make a compress.
Make up a batch of lemon balm tea and use the liquid to make a compress that you can hold against your sore. If the sore is inside your mouth, try applying a little of the liquid with a cotton swab.
Aloe vera gel can be equally effective whichever type of stomatitis you are trying to treat. It can help to relieve the pain in your mouth and destroy bacteria present in your blisters. It is better to use a fresh Aloe leaf than the ready made gel.
- Cut a leaf lengthwise and extract the gel.
- Apply it directly to your sores and let it sit for a while before rinsing it away with clean water.
Witch hazel is an excellent remedy for cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is a popular traditional remedy extracted from the leaves and bark of the plant but these days is easy enough to find in ready made liquid form.
- Soak a cotton ball or a swab in the witch hazel.
- Apply it to your cold sore and let it sit for some time.
- Repeat the remedy several times a day and you should find that it heals more quickly.
Organic extract of vanilla is another very good remedy for herpes stomatitis. Being alcohol based, it may work to heal the sores more quickly and reduce the severity of your sores.
- Soak up your vanilla extract with a cotton ball or a swab.
- Apply the vanilla to your sore and hold the cotton ball in place for 5 minutes or so to let it absorb properly.
- Repeat the treatment several times daily until your sore has healed.
Whatever type of stomatitis you have, essential oils can help you to treat the condition naturally and effectively.
There is a decent selection of antiviral essential oils that can help treat herpes stomatitis as well as essential oils that can help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with canker sores.
Peppermint essential oil is especially effective for treating herpes stomatitis because of its antiviral properties and its cooling anti-inflammatory actions. Other excellent choices are geranium, lavender and bergamot essential oils.
To treat herpes stomatitis:
- Dilute your chosen essential oil in water and dip a cotton swab in the solution.
- Apply the oil to your sore several times a day until you have recovered.
To treat you canker sores, there are several methods of using your essential oils:
Mouthwash : Add a few drops of peppermint, clove or eucalyptus oil to a glass of water and use the mixture as a mouthwash once or twice a day. Be careful not to ingest any of the oil.
Apply it Directly : Dilute you essential oil with coconut oil and apply it to your canker sores with a cotton swab.
Numbing Spray: Put ten drops of peppermint essential oil and an equal amount of eucalyptus in a spray bottle. Add a few tablespoons of coconut of olive oil and shake the bottle. Spray the mixture into your mouth paying attention to the areas with the sores.
Hydrogen peroxide is a cheap, effective and very simple way to deal with herpes stomatitis. It can help dry out the sores and relieve inflammation and pain.
- Soak a cotton pad or ball in your hydrogen peroxide solution.
- Apply the ball to the sore for just a few seconds and then dab it up and down for a little while.
- It will probably sting a little at first but let it work on the sore for a few minutes before you rinse it off.
- Repeat daily for as long as necessary.
Licorice root is a great natural remedy for stomatitis of any kind. It contains glycyrhizic acid thought to help prevent the virus responsible for cold sores from spreading further. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the symptoms of both types of stomatitis.
Simply drinking up a few cups of licorice root tea each day will help deal with the symptoms of stomatitis. Alternatively you can apply licorice root topically to your sores.
- Get a tablespoon of powdered licorice root and mix it with a little water to form a nice thick paste.
- Apply it to your oral sores with a cotton swab or a very clean finger.
- Leave the mixture in place for at least a few hours preferably overnight before rinsing your mouth out.
- Repeat every night before bed.
Coconut oil is full of medicinal compounds containing antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat all types of stomatitis.
Simply dab a little virgin coconut oil directly onto your sores several times each day. Make sure that you layer it thick as it melts fast.
Chamomile contains soothing anti-inflammatory properties as well as antimicrobial actions that can help ease your stomatitis and speed up healing. The easiest way to use chamomile for your sores is to use a ready made chamomile teabag.
- Soak the teabag in hot water for ten minutes or so.
- Remove and squeeze out the excess liquid.
- Apply the teabag directly to the sores in your mouth and hold it in position for several minutes.
And last but by no means least, plain salt water can help keep your mouth clean of bacteria and help to heal your sores.
Just add a few tablespoons of salt to some warm water and let it dissolve fully. When the water has cooled sufficiently, use it as a mouthwash to swill out your mouth.
It is a very simple remedy for stomatitis but it is extremely effective.
How to Prevent Stomatitis
Once a person has been infected with HSV-1 virus, they will have it for the rest of their life. There is no cure and the virus is actually found in around 90% of all adults worldwide. There are certain preventive measures that can prevent the infection from spreading. These include not kissing or sharing cutlery and drinking vessels with people with an open sore.
As regards the prevention of aphthous stomatitis, certain supplements can help especially the B vitamins like B-6, B-12 and folate. Eating foods high in the B vitamins may also help prevent the condition. Foods that are high in the B vitamins include spinach, broccoli, beets, bell peppers, lentils, asparagus and liver.
It is also very important to practice good oral hygiene making sure you brush and floss several times a day especially after meals. Avoiding spicy or acidic food like citrus fruit may help since they are known to trigger outbreaks. You should also avoid drinking very hot beverages.
Stress can also be a trigger so trying natural remedies for stress including certain supplements, exercise, meditation and yoga may also help.
Frequently Asked Questions
What vitamin deficiency causes stomatitis?
Stomatitis has a number of potential causes but in some people it may be caused by a vitamin B deficiency or an iron deficiency.Eating plenty of foods rich in vitamin B or a vitamin B supplement may help prevent stomatitis.
How long does it take for stomatitis to go away?
If your stomatitis is caused by a viral infection, the infection typically lasts from seven to ten days. Aphthous stomatitis or canker sores usually heal in a week or two without leaving any lasting scars.
What can you eat if you have stomatitis?
You should eat soft food which will not irritate the condition like cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, soups and broths, oatmeal, cottage cheese and yogurt. If you need extra protein in your diet, try adding some protein powder to your breakfast drink. Cold foods like ice cram and ice pops can also help sooth the pain.Try to avoid eating spicy, acidic and citrus foods as well as hot beverages which can aggravate the condition.
- There are two types of stomatitis – herpes stomatitis or cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus and aphtomus stomatitis or canker sores which are not contagious.
- Preventive measures include eating food rich in vitamin B and avoiding stress.
- Neither type of stomatitis is very serious and they are both fairly common and should clear up in a week or two.
- Some of the best home remedies include essential oils, chamomile, lemon balm and coconut oil.
- We recommend using essential oils on canker sores because of their proven antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Peppermint , essential oil is our best recommendation for herpes stomatitis while we recommend clove and eucalyptus oil for canker sores.