Gingivostomatitis In Children – Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

Written by Enozia Vakil • 

Are you worried that your growing child may contract some viral infection this winter? You should be as children are more prone to bacterial and viral infections. It is mostly because their immune system is not completely developed. They take time to develop resistance to bacteria and other infectious agents. Gingivostomatitis is one of the many infections that commonly affect young children.

How can you tell if your child is affected by gingivostomatitis? Is it really dangerous? Will it affect your child negatively? In the article below we tell you what gingivostomatitis is and what are its causes, symptoms and treatment options.

What Is Gingivostomatitis?

Gingivostomatitis, also known as primary herpetic gingivostomatitis is an infection that affects the mouth and the lips. This infection commonly affects young children, but young adults too may be affected. Gingivostomatitis infection occurs due to a virus. It is known to cause soreness of the mouth.

Causes Of Gingivostomatitis In Children:

The herpes simplex virus type 1, also known as HSV1, is known to be responsible for gingivostomatitis infection. While the herpes simplex virus is generally transmitted sexually, it may also infect an individual when it enters the body through some other modes.

In children, this infection is usually transmitted due to contact with the saliva of an affected individual or by sharing utensils with an infected person. Thumb-sucking, putting toys in the mouth, and similar other activities may also cause the virus to enter the child’s body.

[ Read: How To Teach Tooth Brushing To Kids ]

Herpetic Gingivostomatitis Symptoms In Children:

Some common signs and symptoms associated with gingivostomatitis infection include:

  1. Small sores (around 1-5 mm in diameter) that appears greyish in the middle and red around the edges
  2. Sores on the inside of the cheeks, on the gums and on the back of the mouth
  3. Inflammation of gums
  4. Bleeding gums
  5. Painful sores
  6. High fever
  7. Bad breath
  8. Swollen lymph nodes (particularly around the neck)
  9. Watery eyes those are sensitive to light (in severe cases)
  10. Discomfort in the mouth
  11. Difficulty in eating
  12. Refusal to eat or drink
  13. Drooling

[ Read: Treatment For Strep Throat In Children ]

Treatment Of Herpetic Gingivostomatitis In Children:

If such symptoms appear, it is advised to get that individual examined by a doctor. The doctor may take a culture from the sore to check for bacteria or virus to confirm the form of infection.

Once diagnosed, the child may be prescribed certain antibiotics or medications to curb the infection. The doctor may also clean the affected area to stimulate healing. Gingivostomatitis sores usually go away within 2-3 weeks, irrespective of the fact that they are treated or not. However, certain steps must be taken to relieve the patient of discomfort.

  • Ensure that the child has a healthy diet. Avoid giving him food that is extremely salty, spicy or sour. These foods tend to irritate the sores and aggravate pain and inflammation. Stick to soft, liquid foods.
  • Follow the medication that the doctor prescribes. Avoid skipping doses.
  • Get the child to rinse his mouth with a medicated mouthwash that has hydrogen peroxide. Make sure you seek a doctor’s advice before you do this though.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to brush the child’s teeth. Symptoms tend to worsen if the child doesn’t brush his teeth.

[ Read: Bacterial Infections In Children ]

Complications Of Gingivostomatitis:

While this infection does not pose any major health risks whatsoever, in rare cases, it may affect the eye. If the virus has infected the cornea of the eye, seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, it may also cause permanent eye damage and blindness.

We hope this article has made you aware of gingivostomatitis. If you have any suggestion or advice, please do leave your comment.

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