Stomatitis and apthous ulcer is a commom condition that affects a large proportion of the population. Every adult must have had at least one or more episodes of stomatitis in his/her lifetime. Children are not left out as well. Its associated symptoms can range from mild to severe and debilitating. Stomatitis has a tremendpus impact on quality of life because of its accompanying symptoms and its propensity to reoccur. Apthous ulcers are also known as canker sores. They are characterised by the presence of sores in the buccal cavity. Stomatitis involves pain and Inflammation of the oral mucosa while aphthous ulcer involves the presence of one or mores sores in the oral cavity.


Differential diagnosis:

       Several disease conditions have symptoms that are similar to stomatis and they include cancers of the oral cavity, trauma, malnutrition, neutropenia, oral herpes simplex, immune deficiencies, becet disease etc. This makes it important for people to visit trained medical personnel or health care providers to rule out the presence of other diseases when sores occur in their mouth.



Symptoms usually occur suddenly and can last from  anywhere between 7days and weeks. It includes mild fever, inflammation, pain, redness and sores of different sizes. Since these symptoms involve the mouth, people who have stomatitis experience difficulties in eating and drinking.


Causative factors:

         Stomatis and aphthous ulcers have a wide range of causes and triggers. This usually varies from individual to individual. The number one cause remains immunologic factors. Studies and evidence have shown that certain people are more prone to the disease than others. The causes include dietary deficiencies involving iron, folic acid and B12, Stress, trauma, dietary allergies and drugs like NSAIDS. Most OTC analgesics are NSAIDS. It is important to note that one of the most common side effect of these drugs is ulceration.


       Most times ulcers of the mouth are self limiting. They can resolve on their own without any medical intervention. The primary goal of management is to relieve pain and fast track the healing process. Asides medication, management also involves lifestyle modification. This includes avoiding overly spicy meals and direct trauma to the mouth as this can exacerbate the condition. Pharmacological intervention includes the use of oral and topical medications. They include:

-Corticosteroids e.g hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, bethamethsone

-Iron, B12 and folate supplements

-Antiseptic mouthwashes containing ingredients like chlorhexidine

-Immunomodulators e.g thalidomide

-Topical analgesics gels e.g benzocaine and choline salicylate



        Although stomatitis and apthous ulcers are very common and most people tend to have multiple episodes in a year. It's occurrence can be greatly reduced by eating a balanced diet, good dental hygiene, brushing with the correct toothbrush, regular use of antiseptic mouthwashes, avoiding stress and any kind of trauma to the oral cavity.

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