The oral cavity is limited by the palate, the base of the mouth, the cheeks and the lips as well as by the uvula and the palatine arches on each side of the uvula. The interior of the oral cavity is subdivided by the rows of teeth in the upper or lower jaw: the actual oral cavity is the frontal and lateral area enclosed by the teeth and is largely taken up by the tongue. The area between the tooth rows and the lips or cheeks is called the oral vestibule. The entire oral cavity is lined by the mucosa and is kept moist by the saliva produced by the salivary glands. The mucosa contains sense receptors for temperature and tactile sense. The mucosa of the tongue’s surface also contains the taste receptors.
Teeth of humans are small, calcified, hard, whitish structures found in the mouth. They function in mechanically breaking down items of food by cutting and crushing them in preparation for swallowing and digestion. The roots of teeth are embedded in the maxilla (upper jaw) or the mandible (lower jaw) and are covered by gums. Teeth are made of multiple tissues of varying density and hardness.
Stomatitis is an inflammation of the mucous lining of any of the structures in the mouth, which may involve the cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, throat, and roof or floor of the mouth. The inflammation can be caused by conditions in the mouth itself, such as poor oral hygiene, dietary protein deficiency, poorly fitted dentures, or from mouth burns from hot food or drinks, toxic plants, or by conditions that affect the entire body. Severe iron deficiency anemia can lead to stomatitis. Iron is necessary for cell replication and repair. Lack of iron can lead to ineffective repair and regeneration of epithelial cells, especially in the mouth and lips.
Many things may contribute to their development, such as certain medications, trauma to the mouth, poor nutrition, stress, bacteria or viruses and certain foods such as potatoes, citrus fruits or coffee. Stomatitis may also be related to a temporarily reduced immune system because of a cold or flu, hormonal changes, or low levels of vitamin B12 or folate. Even biting the inside of the cheek or chewing a sharp piece of food can trigger Stomatitis. Another type of Stomatitis is cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious from the time the blister ruptures to the time it has completely healed. The initial infection often occurs before adulthood and may be confused with a cold or the flu.
Stress can also trigger Stomatitis, as it is a trigger to bring HSV-1 out of seclusion. It can be tough to prevent cold sores entirely, but reducing your triggers can help. Stay out of the sun, or use sunscreen and UV-blocking lip balm. Keep your immune system healthy by getting plenty of sleep and daily exercise.
Start with a healthy mouth and teeth. Brush your teeth and gums with a soft toothbrush after every meal. Stomatitis can be cured in 1-2 weeks if it’s not too serious, but it is cumbersome symptoms may prolong. Brush your teeth properly after meals, floss and always maintain dental hygiene.
Applying milk of magnesia a few times a day may be soothing. Diluting hydrogen peroxide with equal parts of water and dabbing a bit on each sore may relieve some inflammation. If pain is significant or sores are larger, topical creams with benzocaine or another numbing agent may be applied. Mouth rinses of salt water or a mild mouthwash may help.
Certain nutritional supplements like B vitamins (folate, B6, B12) may help. Foods high in these vitamins can also help.
Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
Medications may be used with treatment that includes scaling and root planning, but they cannot always take the place of surgery. Depending on how far the disease has progressed, the dentist or periodontist may still suggest surgical treatment.