1. The opening of any cavity.
2. The cavity within the cheeks, containing the tongue and teeth and communicating with the pharynx.
SYN: SEE: buccal cavity; SEE: oral cavity

Tongue: dry, coated, smooth, strawberry, large, pigmented, geographic, deviated, tremulous, sore. Gums and teeth: gingivitis, sordes, lead line, pyorrhea, atrophy, hypertrophy, dental caries, alveolar abscesses. Mucous membranes and other parts of mouth: eruptions accompanying exanthematous diseases, stomatitis, canker sores, herpes simplex, thrush, trench mouth, cysts, tumors, carcinoma, lesions of syphilis such as chancre, mucous patches, gumma, lesions of tuberculosis, abscesses.

Disorders of the mouth cavity may be indications of purely local diseases or they may be symptoms of systemic disturbances such as dehydration, pernicious anemia, and nutritional deficiencies, esp. avitaminosis.

Rashes of the mouth may indicate stomatitis, measles, or scarlet fever. Rashes on lips may indicate typhoid fever, meningitis, or pneumonia. In secondary syphilis, chancre, cancer, and epithelioma, mucous patches appear.

In addition to visual examination, careful digital examination should be made because it reveals areas of tenderness and alterations of texture characteristic of leukoplakia, cancer, cystic swellings, and lymphadenopathy.

Excessive moisture of the mouth is seen in stomatitis, irritation of the vagus nerve, ingestion of irritating drugs or foods, nervous disorders, teething, seeing appetizing foods, and smelling pleasant odors.
SEE: burning mouth syndrome

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