Stomatitis is an inflammation of the mucous lining of the mouth, which may involve the cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, and roof or floor of the mouth. The word "stomatitis" literally means inflammation of the mouth.
Stomatitis is an inflammation of the lining of any of the soft-tissue structures of the mouth. It is usually a painful condition, associated with redness, swelling, and occasional bleeding from the affected area. The inflammation may be caused by conditions in the mouth itself, such as poor hygiene, from burns from hot food or drinks, or by conditions that affect the entire body, such as medications, allergic reactions, or infections. Children may develop stomatitis at any point in their development, from infancy to adolescence. The two most common types seen in children are herpes stomatitis, which is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and aphthous stomatitis, more often referred to as canker sores.
Depending upon its cause, stomatitis may or may not be contagious. Herpes stomatitis is considered contagious. Children may be exposed through kissing, sharing food, or playing in close contact with others who have an active herpes infection, such as a cold sore. Aphthous stomatitis is not contagious.
Though stomatitis may occur at any time during a child's growth, different types affect children at different times. Herpes stomatitis can occur anywhere between six months and five years of age but is most common in children one to two years old who have not been exposed to the herpes virus before. Aphthous stomatitis begins in childhood or adolescence, with peak onset in those aged ten to 19 years. Aphthous ulcers may be more common in females than males. Children of higher socioeconomic status may be more affected than those who are from lower socioeconomic groups.
Deanna M. Swartout-Corbeil RN, Joseph Knight PA, Thomson Gale, Gale, Detroit,