Go to contents


Posted July. 10, 2006 03:03,   


What with the late night soccer games, vacation preparation, and other stress, office workers are having a hard time of it lately. If the fatigue accumulates, stomatitis can develop inside the mouth. Stomatitis is an oral disease that makes painful canker sores and raw spots inside the mouth. Once an inflammation develops, it continues to burn for many days. Below are the solutions for stomatitis.

Stomatitis is especially prevalent in diabetic and anemic patients, and is a common disease with 20.1 percent of general hospital patients and 10.6 percent of private patients showing the symptoms.

The etiology of stomatitis is presumed to be a lack of iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, the infection of viruses and bacteria, or mental stress. It is easier to contract in an unsanitary mouth.

A professor of oralogy at the College of Medicine at Yonsei Medical, Ahn Hyung-joon, explains, “If there’s an invasive bacteria attacking the mucous of the mouth, the immunity cells overreact and make stomatitis.”

Professor Go Hong-seop at Seoul National University says, “Diabetics and anemic patients are especially vulnerable, so if you have stomatitis you should consider getting a diabetes or anemia exam.”

There are many strains of the ulcer virus. If a whitish spot appears, it may be the most common aphthous ulcuer. The spot itself is about 6.0 millimeters and naturally heals within one to two weeks, but if the size of the spot is larger, the symptom may continue for over a month. For women, the symptoms frequently appear before monthly menstruation. If there are clusters of tiny canker sores it may be herpes simplex, which is contracted by a virus. Another familiar symptom is the bumps on the surface of the tongue which is called folliculi. It occurs when there’s a lack of sleep or nutrition or oral appliances like dentures aggravate the tongue.

Daily oral hygiene is important to ward off the incurable disease. Mouthwash is helpful in suppressing the symptoms and preventing a recurrence.

To relieve the inflammation, ointments and steroids in the form of adhesive plaster are on the market. In the case of severe pain, anesthetic mouthwash is available. But for simple herpes the sole use of steroids may worsen the area, so antiviral tetracycline is needed.

In the past there have been treatments that used chemicals to kill the nerves for pain, but recently it has been discovered that this may deter natural healing.

Some specific types of stomatitis exist, such as children’s hand, foot and mouth disease. Ruddy spots or round blisters form on the hands, feet, and insides of mouth on babies aged 6 months to 5-year-old children appear and are highly contagious. Professor Heoh Joon at Samsung Medical Center advises, “If a child cannot eat due to the raw sores, partial anesthesia can be sprayed on the area so that liquid foods can be consumed. Generally it takes seven to ten days to cure the symptom.”

If the ulcers spread to the eyes or genital areas, it may be a skin disease called the Behcet disease. Since the eyes are prone to ulcers, it’s best to see a dermatologist immediately. The canker sores inside the mouth may become as large as coins, or in the case of Kawasaki disease the texture of the tongue resembles a strawberry, with cracked skin. Children are more prone to the disease and arteries may become infected. The initial symptoms are similar to those of the common flu, but heart artery may become damaged.

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com