You’re probably familiar with the word “herpes,” but you may not know how this general term plays a role in your oral health.
While it may be alarming at first to learn that you have a herpes infection, it is a manageable condition that many people experience. Herpes h two categories. HSV-2 is usually sexually transmitted and causes genital herpes, while HSV-1 is transmitted orally and causes herpes on the gums and mouth. Oral herpes can be bothersome, but it can be controlled with the help of your dentist.
There are several ways to acquire HSV-1. Most people diagnosed with oral herpes get it in childhood through close exposure to family members who have it. Even if someone does not show symptoms of HSV-1, they can transmit it through casual contact, such as touching the skin. In fact, many people who spread oral herpes are not even aware that they have herpes.
While skin-to-skin contact with family members is the most common way children become infected, they can also be transmitted through other forms of communication. For example, a child can catch HSV-1 at school through the bodily fluids of other children. As children grow, they can acquire it in their teens or young adulthood. This can happen after kissing an infected person or sharing personal items (like lip balm or a razor).
Gingivostomatitis, a herpes-related infection of the mouth and gums, is the standard form in which herpes can affect your oral health. Oral herpes on the gums and mouth area is common among children who have recently been infected with HSV-1 and experience the first symptoms of herpes.
According to experts, common symptoms of Gingivostomatitis or Herpetic stomatitis include:
.Red, swollen and painful gums
.Herpes or blisters in or around the mouth, which can be painful if they open
.Ulcers on the gums that can be painful
.Increased saliva flow (more drooling)
.Swollen lymph nodes
A dentist will examine your gums for a confirmed diagnosis of HSV-1 or the presence of Gingivostomatitis. They can usually identify oral herpes without special tests. However, if your dentist is worried that you may have an STD or a condition with similar symptoms, diagnostic tests may be a good idea. In this case, they may take a small sample of tissue from your wounds and have it tested for other types of viral or bacterial infections. Your dentist may perform a biopsy if they suspect the wounds are cancerous.
Your child’s herpes should go away within ten days without treatment. During this time, your dentist may recommend using an over-the-counter desensitizing agent to relieve pain while you heal. You may also be prescribed an antiviral medication to further shorten the appearance of these sores. Allow the sores to heal without picking and apply cold compresses to relieve irritation.
The recurrence of oral herpes depends on many factors. Some children may never experience symptoms again after their first outbreak of herpes. At the same time, stress factors such as exposure to intense temperatures, illness, malnutrition, dehydration, fatigue, and breakouts in the skin can cause the symptoms of oral herpes to reappear.
As always, it’s crucial to maintain a good oral health regimen, even when recovering from an irritating virus. If your gums are irritated, switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush will prevent teeth from getting worse. Remember to be gentle with your mouth and know that these painful but common symptoms will pass.