Mouth blight in the child and toddler


The oral blight in the child is a very painful inflammatory disease of the oral mucosa. Mouth rot (also called gingivostomatitis herpetica ) usually occurs at the age of 10 months to three years and is triggered by the first contact of the child with the herpes simplex virus type 1 .

It usually comes to fever during the illness and - due to the painful inflammation in the mouth - to the refusal of the food intake. Especially on the gums and palate, many small aphthae and yellowish wounds are formed, and the inside of the lips and tongue may be affected as well.

Causes of oral blight

The cause of the child 's mouth blight is the first contact with the herpes simplex virus type 1, which is transmitted from person to person. Most adults carry the herpes virus, but a strengthened immune system does not always lead to the onset of the disease, but they can still transmit the herpes virus.

This is different with children: for the first time they come into contact with the herpes virus and their immune system is still under construction, so it quickly comes to an infection and the spread of oral blight in the oral cavity. The disease is highly contagious and is transmitted through the saliva.

The herpes virus is very commonly transmitted from the parents to the child. Everyday situations are often the trigger, it is a licking of the pacifier, a sharing of the cutlery or a simple kisses to transfer the herpes virus.

Especially with an acute cold sore in a parent's every mouth contact with the child should be avoided. Sometimes child-to-child transmission occurs through toys, which children put into their mouths.

That's the way of infection

Herpes simplex - viruses are transmitted via a contact infection, this includes the lubrication and droplet infection. Above all, the virus is transmitted via the saliva. The children suffering from oral rash excrete the viruses through the saliva to the environment, the viruses survive and can be absorbed by other people. Depending on the state of the immune system, the first infection or the secondary infection occurs, the latter manifests itself in lip herpes, whereby the first infection usually develops into a mouth rot. During the time of the illness one should pay attention to sufficient hygiene.

Such is the course of the mouth rot

Mouth rot in children often starts with fever, which can sometimes be quite high. The fever usually lasts for up to five days .

After the first two to three days it usually comes to blistering and formation of aphthae on the oral mucosa. Predominantly localized on the palate and gums, but also the insides of the lips and the tongue may be affected. The gums can also swell.

In the first few days, there is usually no pain, only when the mouth rot has spread further and even small open wounds develop to the increased number of blisters. It then comes to burning on-going pain, so that the food intake is very limited possible.

It can also lead to bleeding gums and the gums are turning to darker red. Since the tongue is also inflamed, the tongue papillae may appear whitish. The inflammation can also cause swelling of the tongue, which can lead to additional difficulty swallowing.

The cervical lymph nodes can also swell during this time. After about a week it comes to dehydration of the blisters and to heal the wounds. Only then does the pain diminish and the acute danger of infection no longer exists.

The mouth rot can be so dangerous

Due to the fever and the strong pain in the mouth, the children feel very bad and often refuse to eat, especially the regular and sufficient drinking is very important. Not infrequently it can come to the dehydration ( drying out ) of the child and thereby to dangerous conditions.

If the toddler does not want to eat and drink, you should go to the pediatrician immediately. Particularly at risk are babies and toddlers. These can lead to a severe course of the mouth rot and even to an inflammation of the brain. This disease is called herpes simplex encephalitis.

If there is an additional infection of the skin near the eye, in the worst case it can lead to an infection of the cornea.


The oral blight is a common and relatively easily recognizable disease for the medical profession. The association between initial fever and the course of the disease, which causes blistering and burning pain, is a typical hallmark of the disease of the mouth.

Nevertheless, a pure visual diagnosis is not one hundred percent sure and especially in cases of severe cases of oral blight, an additional laboratory examination is recommended. This can be done by a saliva test or a mouth swab. There are numerous other oral diseases, especially oral canker show similar symptoms.

This doctor treats the mouth rot

The child's mouth rot should first be examined by a pediatrician. The pediatrician can make a diagnosis relatively quickly. Drugs are only needed in exceptional cases and used differently depending on the severity of the disease. First, the fever is treated by antipyretic drugs (eg paracetamol juice ). The pain can be alleviated by applying gel or tincture.

Even a dentist can make the diagnosis and if necessary prescribe the appropriate medication. Homoeopathic medicines and home remedies often help, but a visit to the doctor for diagnosis should always be made.

These symptoms can help you recognize the blight

Typical symptoms of oral blight include initial high fever, which can last up to five days. Externally palpable and possibly visible swollen lymph nodes on the neck and in the mouth a swollen gums. The gums are dyed red in a darker color and can cause bleeding gums. In addition, the entire oral mucosa may be swollen.

On the oral mucosa, especially on the palate and on the gums, one discovers fluid-filled blisters and aphthae, often resulting in small open wounds. Especially when eating it comes to increased pain and therefore often to the refusal of food intake. In addition, there are sore throat, difficulty swallowing and increased salivation. The children feel struck and weak overall and often have acidic bad breath.

Symptoms on the tongue

Tongue papillae can inflame during oral rot and appear as whitish spots. The inflammation of the tongue can also be very painful and lead to swallowing. Swelling of the tongue is also possible, which additionally makes swallowing difficult and should be strictly observed. The pain on the tongue often makes speaking difficult.

Treatment and therapy

The therapy is usually symptomatic, that is, one fights the symptoms and not the cause. It is important to visit the pediatrician to make an accurate diagnosis and to choose the appropriate therapy accordingly. Above all, care should be taken to ensure adequate fluid intake to prevent dehydration of the body.

To reduce fever, the antipyretic drug paracetamol is often used. In children often in the form of a juice or a suppository .

In addition, an anesthetic gel (eg Zahnungsgel ) can be applied to the sores. It is recommended to drink cold chamomile tea, this should have a healing effect and at the same time relieve the pain by cooling.

The children should rest and not go to kindergarten during the time until the complete eradication of the mouth rot. There are also other homeopathic remedies such as clove oil, which should have a pain-relieving effect.

Soft, low-salt and cool food makes the food more bearable and a portion of ice is supposed to relieve the pain by cooling and counteract the inflammation.

When does my child need antibiotics?

Since oral blight is a viral disease caused by the herpes simplex virus, no antibiotics are used for therapy. Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections . One possibility would be the use of antivirals, such as acyclovir . These are used only in very serious cases and use in children is indicated only in exceptional cases.

Home remedies for oral blight

A fortified home remedy for oral blight is chamomile tea. These should be allowed to cool well before drinking and best cooled in addition in the refrigerator. It has a calming effect and by cooling it also has an analgesic effect. Since proper hydration is also very important, a straw can make drinking easier.

Soft cool foods and even ice creams help to relieve pain. Unsuitable are hot, spicy or sour foods, even salty foods should be avoided. In addition, fruit juice can trigger additional burning due to the fruit acid .

Helping to reduce fever, cold compresses like calf wrap help.


There are clove oil, colloidal silver or a myrrh tincture as homeopathic alternatives to treat child mouth rot . Soak the clove oil or the myrrh tincture with the cotton swab and dab the bubbles with it. The colloidal silver used undiluted as a mouthwash, it should be kept in the mouth as long as possible and then spit out. A concentration of 10 ppm or 25 ppm (parts per million) is completely sufficient in this case. The myrrh - tincture, however, has a bitter taste and can also burn on the wounds. Although it is said to have a good healing effect, but it is not accepted by children because of their taste and the additional burning.

So contagious is the mouth rot

The child's mouth rot is a smear and droplet infection and is highly contagious. It transmits over the saliva. Especially in kindergarten, the children can quickly get infected by the toy, which is often put into the mouth. Especially the first contact with the herpes simplex virus type 1 leads to the outbreak of the mouth rot in children.

When is my child allowed to return to kindergarten?

The oral blight is highly contagious and only with complete healing and drying out of the blisters, the contagion phase is over. Only then may the child have contact with other children again. Therefore, with the visit of the kindergarten the complete healing should be waited. In addition, the children affected by fever and the pain in the mouth feel very weak and battered, so that a visit to the kindergarten is not possible.

incubation period

The incubation period is the time between the contact with the herpes virus and the actual outbreak of the disease. It usually lasts for 1 to 26 days and varies from child to child.

The relatively long period of time makes it difficult to find out exactly what triggered the infection, but it is usually found in the immediate environment of the child. The incubation period depends on the physical condition and the strength of the child's immune system. Especially in very young children, the immune system is still under construction and it comes faster to infection.

First, the disease starts with a high fever and when the first blisters appear on the oral mucosa, the typical pain and concomitants of the mouth rot.


The child's mouth blight is usually accompanied by fever, which lasts for up to five days, after the first 2-3 days usually form the typical blisters on the oral mucosa. Depending on the severity and course of the disease, the acute phase of the mouth rot lasts about one to two weeks, after which the blisters and wounds dry out and heal slowly, this can take up to three weeks .

After healing, the acute risk of infection is overcome, however, the herpes virus remains in the body and can later, even in adulthood, trigger an infection again. This secondary infection usually occurs with a weakened immune system or stress and is manifested by cold sores, the so-called lip herpes .

In babies, the disease can last longer and be more severe. Usually, the oral blight in the baby lasts for about two weeks in the acute state until an improvement occurs and the entire course of the disease can even last up to six weeks in the baby. Especially in babies, the control should be done by a pediatrician at the first sign, it often comes to the refusal of food intake and can thus come to dangerous dehydration ( dehydration ).

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