Diseases of oral mucosa

The most common diseases of oral mucosa are candidiasis, leukoplakia and lichen planus. These occur at any age.

Causes of the diseases of oral mucosa

The causes of stomatitis are many and varied. Mucosal diseases, depending on their development, are either independent (primary) or symptomatic (secondary – manifestations of skin and other diseases in the oral cavity).

Primary diseases of the oral mucosa include stomatitis as a result of locally acting factors of infection such as:

  • traumas (sharp edges of dentures, untreated caries, broken teeth)
  • physical (burns from hot food, oral electro-galvanism)
  • chemical (acids, formalin, sodium hydroxide)
  • infectious (caused by fungus – Candida, Actinomyces species)
  • viral (common herpes, herpes zoster, aphthous stomatitis)

Secondary (symptomatic) diseases include stomatitis accompanying various common diseases:

  • skin diseases (lichen planus)
  • gastrointestinal diseases (gastritis, ulcer)
  • blood disorders (anemia, leukosis)
  • hypovitaminosis (vitamin deficiency – A, B, C, PP)
  • infectious diseases (influenza, infectious mononucleosis)

Occurrence of mucosal diseases

Increase in the occurrence of diseases of the oral mucosa is seen with lowering of the body’s defence and increased virulence of microorganisms in the oral cavity. However varied the causes of stomatitis are, the major changes they cause in the oral mucosa are similar to each other and are therefore difficult to distinguish.

Stomatitis is characterized by the signs of inflammatory diseases – redness, swelling, warmth, pain and disruption of the function of the organ. In the oral cavity the most common symptoms are loss of taste, difficulty in chewing, speech disorders, etc. The disease may extend to a particular area or the entire oral mucosa.


Disease and treatment

Oral candidiasis (candidiasis stomatitis) is a superficial inflammation of the oral mucosa caused by the fungus Candida albicans. It affects predominantly premature and newborn children, and it can develop after antibiotic treatment, dysbiosis, hypovitaminosis, etc. in adults. The mucous membrane is very red and covered in white creamy lesions/ plaques. There is symptoms of burning, itching and severe pain, and the ability to eat is disturbed. Candidiasis can occur both acutely and chronically. It is treated through maintenance of an alkaline environment in the mouth. Mouth rinsing with alkaline solutions, weak antiseptics and dyes is used. Nystatin tablets can be prescribed as a treatment as well.



Lichen ruber planus/ Lichen planus is a skin disease that causes characteristic changes in the oral cavity. They are characterized by hyperkeratosis (thickening) of the affected areas of the oral mucosa and skin. Significant for this disease are bacterial, viral, traumatic, neurogenic and other factors. The characteristic changes in lichen planus have a pearl white colour and are located on healthy-looking mucosa, without signs of inflammation. They are most often found on the mucous membranes of the cheeks around the last molars. Pearl white plaques develop almost without symptoms. On rare occasions there may be slight tingling.


Leukoplakia is a chronic disease of the oral mucosa, resulting in epithelial changes. Of great importance for its occurrence are harmful habits such as smoking, regular intake of alcohol, spicy and irritating food, poor hygiene, sharp edges of broken teeth, inconvenient dentures, professional factors (paints, varnishes, and petrol vapours), vitamin deficiency and others. Leukoplakia affects mainly the upper surface and the lateral edges of the tongue, the lining of the cheeks, the lower lip and the corners of the mouth. It begins as small whitish spots that merge with each other to form a thin, flat, whitish plaque. It has a greyish-white colour, uneven borders and is protruding over the rest of the unmodified mucosa. There may be tightness, pulling to slight pain in the area, and abnormal taste sensation. Wounds and erosions appear in the plaque, and the general complaints also increase. Leukoplakia refers to precancerous oral conditions and therefore its timely diagnosis and treatment are vital. Treatment involves removal of irritating factors and elimination of harmful habits such as smoking and alcohol. Alkaline and soft solutions are used to rinse and clean the oral cavity.

The oral mucosa is very sensitive and that is where the symptoms of inflammatory diseases very often occur at first which helps the diagnosis of diseases in other organs of the human body in a timely manner. Upon thorough examination by the dentist, many diseases can be detected at an early stage.

ул. „Райко Алексиев" №4, София, България

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