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Stomatiti and Other Oral Infections

Stomatitis is a common infection that can occur in children or adults, alone or as part of a systemic disease. This inflammation of the oral mucosa may also extend to the buccal mucosa, lips, and palate. The two main types are acute herpetic stomatitis and aphthous stomatitis.

Acute herpetic stomatitis is usually self-limiting; however, it may be severe and, in neonates, generalized and potentially fatal. This type of stomatitis is common in children between ages 1 and 3.

Aphthous stomatitis is common in girls and female adolescents and usually heals spontaneously, without a scar, in 10 to 14 days. Other oral infections include gingivitis, peripdontitis, and Vincent's angina.



Signs and Symptoms

Diagnostic tests

Diagnosis depends on the physical examination. The following tests may help to identify the type of infection: A smear of ulcer exudate allows identification of the causative organism in Vincent's angina, and viral cultures may be performed on fluid and herpetic vesicles in acute herpetic stomatitis.


For both acute herpetic and aphthous stomatitis, treatment is conservative, focusing on symptom relief until the infection resolves.

For acute herpetic stomatitis, symptom management includes nonantiseptic warm-water mouth rinses and topical medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Topical anesthetic solutions that may be used include lidocaine viscous or dyclonine. Topical corticosteroids may also be prescribed. Acyclovir may be ordered to manage herpetic stomatitis. Supplementary treatments to ease symptoms until the infection subsides include a soft, pureed, or liquid diet and, in severe cases of stomatitis, I. V. fluids and bed rest.

For aphthous stomatitis, a topical anesthetic coating agent, such as kaolin and milk of magnesia, is the primary treatment. The coating helps to relieve severe oral pain while preventing further irritation.

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