Oral mucosal inflammation is a reddening of the mucous membranes that occurs in the mouth region and is often perceived as unpleasant. It can be localized or spread to the entire inner oral cavity. In the following, the definition, causes, diagnosis, therapy and prevention of oral mucosal inflammation will be discussed in more detail.
What is oral mucosal inflammation?
Oral mucosal inflammation is also commonly defined as mouth rot, or technically as aphthous stomatitis. Since this disease is very often caused by viral infections, especially by the herpes virus, the term “herpes simplex type 1” or HSV-1 is also common. See electronicsmatter for Diffuse B-cell Lymphoma Definition.
Inflammation of the oral mucosa is one of the periodontal diseases, i.e. diseases that attack the inner areas of the mouth such as the gums or the oral mucosa.
Inflammation of the oral mucosa is often noticed as a side effect of other diseases. The most common direct cause of mouth sores comes from herpes viruses.
It is estimated that about 95% of all people carry the herpes virus, but it remains passive until the immune system is weakened by other diseases. Mostly HSV-1 is the cause of a disease, occasionally also HSV-2.
Herpes is highly contagious and affects mostly small children, in rare cases also adults. It can be transmitted through direct skin contact or through saliva. The incubation period of herpes is a maximum of 26 days, although it should be noted that the majority of all infections with such viruses are asymptomatic, i.e. there is no outbreak of oral mucosal inflammation.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Inflammation of the oral mucosa (stomatitis) has different appearances depending on the causative agent. In most cases, stomatitis causes only mild to moderate symptoms and remains localized. However, the complete infestation of the oral cavity cannot be ruled out and is often a result of a weakened body’s defenses. General features include intense reddening of the oral mucosa.
Swellings, which can be reminiscent of ulcers in their severity, are also typical. Many of the affected areas cause mild to moderate, sometimes burning pain. Infections involving the Candida yeast cause distinctive, white deposits (oral thrush) to develop. Simple scraping with a brush or spoon removes the conspicuous deposits.
The surface of the oral mucosa often shows bloody tears in stomatitis. Inhibited salivation exacerbates the symptoms and slows down the healing process. The formation of blisters (aphthae) in virus infections is often accompanied by an unpleasant bad breath. These circular, red areas of inflammation have a maximum diameter of five millimeters.
At the same time, they are surrounded by a whitish coating. Herpes viruses can form a large number of small aphthae. The resulting bad breath is extremely penetrating. The inflammation of the oral mucosa then turns into mouth rot. If the disease progresses severely, those affected have serious problems with eating.
Pain, numbness and difficulty swallowing increase the level of suffering up to complete refusal of food and lead to further weakening of a patient. There is also fever, general malaise with vomiting and severe exhaustion.
Diagnosis & History
In cases in which symptomatic inflammation of the oral mucosa actually occurs after the incubation period of between 1 and 26 days, the following symptoms should become visible:
As the name suggests, the most obvious sign of oral mucosal inflammation is the reddish swelling of the very lining of the lining of the mouth. However, this can also affect the deep throat, palate and gums. Cold sores can also form, lesions and ulcerations can occur in the mouth and also on the lips.
In addition, the lymph nodes in the neck area swell noticeably, unpleasant bad breath, increased salivation and a slight fever are noticeable. Based on this clinical picture and some laboratory tests, a doctor will be able to make a reliable diagnosis of oral mucosal inflammation.
Inflammation of the oral mucosa usually leads to swallowing and chewing difficulties and, as a result, to loss of appetite and restricted fluid intake. This can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, among other things. The diverse symptoms such as fever, increased salivation and swollen lymph nodes can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
In the long term, inflammation of the oral mucosa leads to receding gums. Periodontal disease leads to bad breath and increases the long-term risk of serious illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke. It can also lead to tooth displacement and other inflammations, which in turn lead to complications.
In addition to the physical consequences, these side effects often lead to social exclusion and thus to psychological problems. In the case of chronically ill people in particular, the general physical and mental well-being decreases considerably. Typical complications of treatment include side effects from mouthwashes, painkillers, and anesthetics, as well as bleeding and scarring after surgery.
Home remedies and natural remedies can also damage the oral mucosa. This can lead to bleeding gums, inflammation of the periodontium and other complications. Due to the severity of these subsequent symptoms, a doctor should be consulted immediately if you suspect oral mucosal inflammation.
When should you go to the doctor?
If the affected person suffers from changes in the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat, there is cause for concern. If the abnormalities persist for several days or if they increase in intensity, a doctor should be consulted. Small inflammations can lead to a reduction in symptoms or spontaneous healing within a short period of time. In these cases, a doctor is usually not needed. However, if major impairments occur, medical treatment should be used to quickly alleviate the symptoms.
With a repeated taste of blood in the mouth or pus formation, there is increased caution. Open wounds can occur, which in severe cases can trigger sepsis. Germs and other pathogens can get into the organism and trigger further diseases or worsen the general state of health.
If you refuse to eat, have an elevated body temperature or are irritable, you should consult a doctor. If you experience unwanted weight loss, bad breath or mouth pain, you should consult a doctor. Aphthae or blisters in the mouth, problems with existing dentures or swellings must be examined and treated. If the teeth can no longer be cleaned due to the existing symptoms, if headaches or sleep disorders occur, the person concerned needs help.
Treatment & Therapy
In the treatment of oral mucosal inflammation, a distinction is made between drug and non-drug treatment, both of which are usually only aimed at combating the unpleasant symptoms. This is because the disease does not pose a fatal threat and will subside on its own over time.
Various painkillers such as paracetamol or anesthetics can be prescribed to relieve the pain in the mouth area. If one decides to actively combat the virus, the most common method is to use nucleoside analogues, a drug that prevents the virus from spreading further by damaging the viral DNA polymerase. Mouthwashes can also relieve irritation and pain ; mixtures of diphenhydramine and antacid are recommended here.
With all medicines, however, it is essential to consult a doctor about which medicines are also suitable for small children. The non-drug treatments primarily include avoiding dehydration, which can be achieved by taking liquids and, if possible, semi-solid food (porridge, etc.). Care must be taken because children do not like to eat on their own due to the pain of eating and swallowing.
Otherwise, the body usually heals itself, but the person affected by oral mucosal inflammation, especially if it is a child, should stay at home due to the high risk of infection.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of oral mucosal inflammation is usually good. Stomatitis heals quickly with appropriate treatment. The disease usually resolves within one to two weeks. Follow-up complaints are not to be expected. The prognosis improves if professional tooth cleaning takes place after the treatment and oral hygiene is carried out particularly carefully from then on.
The prognosis for chronic oral mucosal inflammation is worse. Patients have to take medication for a longer period of time and are therefore exposed to the risk of serious side effects. In addition, the disease itself represents a greater burden, since many foods and drinks must not be consumed. This can have a negative impact on the well-being and quality of life of the patient.
If the symptoms do not subside, there may be a chronic disease. A comprehensive examination and treatment in a specialist clinic provides information about the causes and allows targeted treatment. Stomatitis can sometimes have side effects such as severe pain, bleeding or infection in the mouth and throat that need to be treated. Life expectancy is not reduced by oral mucosal inflammation.
It is not possible to effectively prevent oral mucosal inflammation because the herpes virus that causes it is too contagious. There are no vaccinations yet. One can only ensure that the blight is not transmitted further by those affected in whom the disease occurs symptomatically. This is achieved by keeping the person with oral mucosal infection away from other people, especially children.
In most cases, the patient with an inflammation of the oral mucosa has only very few and limited follow-up measures available. First and foremost, this disease must be treated very quickly and, above all, at a very early stage, so that other complications and symptoms do not occur in the further course.
As a rule, self-healing cannot occur, so that those affected are always dependent on medical examination and treatment. In general, a very high standard of hygiene should be observed to prevent renewed inflammation of the oral mucosa. The affected person should also clean the mouth with a mouthwash. The symptoms themselves can be relieved relatively easily with the help of medication.
The person concerned should ensure that they are taken regularly and also pay attention to the correct dosage in order to limit the symptoms. Especially with children, parents must control the intake. Patients should ideally observe bed rest and avoid contact with other people in order not to infect other people. As a rule, no further follow-up measures are necessary. Oral mucosal inflammation does not reduce the life expectancy of the person affected.
You can do that yourself
Inflammation of the oral mucosa is usually associated with other diseases, the most common triggers being herpes viruses. Since herpes pathogens are highly contagious, one of the most important self-help measures is to prevent the infection from spreading.
Anyone suffering from oral mucosal inflammation should make sure that they do not share glasses, cups, plates or other crockery or cutlery. The best way to clean such items of daily use is in the dishwasher at at least 60 degrees Celsius. In order to avoid secondary infections, great importance is also attached to appropriate oral hygiene. The teeth, gums and tongue should be cleaned gently with a soft brush after each meal. A disinfecting, pain-relieving mouthwash can also be helpful.
If the inflammation of the mucous membrane is accompanied by severe pain, over-the-counter painkillers can be taken from the pharmacy. If severe discomfort occurs when eating and drinking, it often happens that the patient does not drink enough and becomes dehydrated. Those affected should therefore make sure that they drink at least enough liquid despite the pain. Deficiency symptoms due to low food intake can be prevented by taking dietary supplements. In this situation, multivitamin preparations also support the immune system, which is usually already under attack.
If possible, patients should allow themselves a few days of bed rest. This is particularly indicated if the oral mucosa is accompanied by a cold or another flu-like infection.