Definition.—An acute inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth, occurring most frequently in children, though no age is exempt.
Etiology.—The causes that give rise to stomatitis are generally local, though it may rise from gastric or intestinal derangements, chemical and mechanical irritants being the most common, such as sharp edges of broken or carious teeth; very hot drinks, such as tea and coffee; highly spiced food; tobacco, both chewing and smoking; irritating dust inhaled at certain work, such as lime, coal, marble, and workers in various minerals; the corrosive acids or alkalies; and sometimes from the decomposition of food lodged between the teeth, and fetid cavities. It may also be caused by dentition, or follow the eruptive fevers.
Symptoms.—The inflammation is attended by the following symptoms: heat, pain, redness, and swelling. At first the mouth is dry and hot, with a burning, smarting sensation; but soon secretion is established, and mucus and saliva are found in excess. This condition is often called catarrhal stomatitis. Mastication is painful, and hot drinks, and coarse food give rise to pain. The tongue is coated, the breath is fetid, and the child becomes peevish and cross. In a few days the disease loses its angry character, the inflammation becomes subacute, while the mouth is bathed in a ropy, offensive mucus.
Diagnosis.—The diagnosis is easily made. The red, inflamed character of the mucous membrane; the tenderness, the burning sensation, dry mouth, followed by hypersecretion of mucus, are symptoms which can not be mistaken for those of any other trouble.
Prognosis.—The prognosis is favorable, the disease usually giving way in a week or ten days.
Treatment.—This is simple and quite successful. After thoroughly cleansing the mouth with a weak solution of pyrozone, or a wash of boracic acid, or, better still, a solution of hydrastin and chlorate of potassium, we prescribe phytolacca ten drops, and water four ounces; a teaspoonful every hour. As a mouth-wash I know of nothing to equal the phosphate of hydrastia and chlorate of potassium. If there are any gastric or intestinal complications, remedies should at once be used to correct these wrongs. If there should be fever, combine aconite with the phytolacca, and give every hour. The mouth should be kept sweet and clean. The diet should consist of liquid food; warm drinks are more agreeable than very cold or very hot fluids.