Herpes stomatitis is caused by the human herpes simplex DNA virus. There are two strains of the virus. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is usually associated with the oral cavity and herpes simplex virus 2 is associated with the genital region. HSV-1 is associated with stomatitis and is frequently acquired between the ages of 6 months to 5 years.
Read on to learn more about the symptoms and how to manage this condition.
Cause and Symptoms
The viral symptoms are usually subclinical and the child and parent are not aware of that and there has been exposure to the virus. The virus is highly contagious even if it is not exhibiting symptoms. The transfer of oral fluids, like saliva, can spread the virus between individuals.
When symptoms do present, they include fever, malaise, drooling, dysphagia (also known as difficulty swallowing), and mouth sores and ulcers, according to the National Institutes of Health. The child's gums may become red, swollen, painful and may bleed.
Usually, a doctor will be able to identify herpes stomatitis by a visual exam, though he or she may order a laboratory test to confirm, notes The Aga Khan University Hospital.
Treatment and Management
Once contracted, there is no way for the body to eliminate the herpes virus. The outbreaks are usually infrequent. In healthy individuals the virus does not present a major health issue. Because the outbreaks are self-limiting, they can be treated with over-the-counter pain and fever medications for children. Children should also drink plenty of fluids during a herpes stomatitis outbreak, especially if they don't have an appetite. The clinical situation usually resolves in two weeks or sooner.
The recurrence of HSV-1 does not affect everyone who has acquired the virus. Sometimes if the outbreaks are frequent, anti-viral medications like acyclovir in either pill or ointment form can be prescribed to speed the healing process. Once again, this is not a cure but to limit the outbreak's duration.
A great oral hygiene routine should always be followed. Brush twice daily with a quality toothpaste, like Colgate Total Advanced Deep Clean. It helps maintain a dentist-clean feeling with advanced-cleaning silica similar to what dentists use in practice.