Adults kissing kids should be discouraged to prevent mouth infection – Expert says
Dr Ganiyu Abib is a general dentist at GeeTee Dental Centre in Southwest Houston , Texas, US.
He talks about herpetic gingivostomatitis , a contagious infection of the mouth common among children and adults, in this interview with ALEXANDER OKERE
Herpetic gingivostomatitis ?
Herpetic gingivostomatitis is a contagious
infection of the mouth caused by a virus called
herpes simplex virus, also known as HSV .
Numerous small blisters erupt in the affected
area and these blisters rapidly rupture , leaving
a painful ulcer which may coalesce and form a
bigger ulcer .
The term , herpetic , is derived from the first part of the virus ’ name, herpes , and the term , gingivostomatitis , is combination of gingivitis and stomatitis .
Gingivitis is a medical term for inflammation of
the gum and stomatitis simply refers to inflammation of the lining of the mouth,
including the lips.
The virus responsible for this infection is of two types: herpes simplex virus type – 1 and herpes simplex virus type – 2.
HSV – 1 causes most of the infection in the mouth, nose , face and eyes , whereas , HSV – 2 is responsible for the infection in the genital areas and skin in the lower part of the body .
There are two types of infection
primary (acute ) herpetic gingivostomatitis and secondary ( recurrent ) herpetic gingivostomatitis .
The PHGS refers to the infection of HSV when it
happens for the first time . Subsequent infection by HSV is known as secondary ( recurrent ) herpetic gingivostomatitis .
occurs most often in infancy or childhood. It
may or may not be symptomatic .
Gingivostomatitis is the most common
presentation in young children. It presents with
blisters and then ulcers after a rupture on the
tongue, lips, gums , buccal mucosa and hard
and soft palates.
Pain , inability to swallow, drooling and dehydration are common .
There may be associated fever, cervical lymphadenopathy ( swelling of glands in the neck), halitosis ( mouth odour ) , lethargy , irritability and loss of appetite.
Pharyngitis (inflammation of upper part of the throat ) is a more common presentation in adolescents .
Herpetic whitlow is the infection of a finger by the HSV, which may occasionally occur via spread to the fingers .
The recurrent infection tends to occur in the
same location , usually unilateral (affecting only
one side of the body ) and recurs two or three
times a year on average .
Prodromal ( early) symptoms may occur six to 24 hours before the appearance of a lesion and include tingling , pain and or itching in the skin around the mouth.
Cold sores are usually seen on the lips and
extend to the skin around the mouth. Other
areas on the face , chin , or nose are sometimes involved .
Lesions begin as reddish areas that swell and then become vesicles ( blisters ) , which then rupture into ulcers .
This takes one to three days .
The ulcers crust over and the skin returns to normal within about two weeks without scar formation.
How does the infection present itself in severe cases ? In severe cases of PHGS , the infection appears as several clusters of blisters on the gum , lining of lips , cheeks , tongue, palate (roof of the mouth) and throat .
Approximately 24 hours later, the blisters rupture resulting in several painful sores with red margin and whitish central portion .
There may be presence of swelling and bleeding of the gum . Sometimes , it may be difficult to swallow and drooling may
be present .
Also, because the sores make it difficult to eat and drink , dehydration can occur .
What is the major cause ?
Herpes simplex virus type – 1 is the major cause of PHGS .
During the initial ( primary ) infection , the virus ascends through the nerve to an area of the brain called ganglion .
The virus remains dormant in the ganglion until favourable time for secondary infection comes.
The dormant HSV in the brain is responsible for
the secondary infection ( SHGS ) . Reactivation of the dormant virus can be spontaneous or can be due to factors like stress , trauma , sunlight , feverish condition , low immunity and so on .
After reactivation , the virus travels down
through the nerve to infect different parts of
the mouth and perioral areas.
Source: Punching. Com