Stomatitis in children, symptoms and treatments

Fonte: shutterstock

In this article

  • What is it
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Transmission
  • Duration of contagiousness
  • Healing
  • Duration of the disease
  • When can he go back to school
  • Supplements
  • Prevention

What is stomatitis

Stomatitis is a disease very annoying involving the mucous membranes of the mouth.

What does it look like? With canker sores and sometimes fever

Stomatitis occurs with painful blisters called canker sores. Sometimes, even a high fever may be present. It is a disease quite common in children: "It is calculated that one in 10 children in his life he has experienced at least one episode of mouth ulcers "he points out Michele Fiore, family pediatrician in Genoa.

In some cases, aphthous stomatitis appears recurrently. We talk about SAR - recurrent aphthous stomatitis - which is the most frequent form from 10-11 years of age and is also found in adulthood.

The causes

Viral stomatitis

"Some forms of children's stomatitis can be caused byvirus infection, among which above all those of the herpes virus family "explains Fiore, underlining however that with the exception of the forms of clear viral origin, in general, the causes of stomatitis and SAR are not yet fully known.

However, some studies have correlated the appearance of stomatitis with situations such as:

  • vitamin deficiencies (especially B vitamins);
  • food or drug intolerances;
  • emotional stress;
  • hormonal changes;
  • antibiotic therapies;
  • diseases such as celiac disease or ulcerative colitis.

Others have also described a correlation, especially in children, with:
contact with dirty objects;

  • minor trauma of the mouth (for example if you accidentally die your cheek);
  • vigorous use of the toothbrush;
  • consumption of acidic or spicy foods.
Read also: Cold sores in children, symptoms and treatments

Stomatitis, SAR and herpetic stomatitis, the symptoms

Il symptom characteristic is the appearance within the oral cavity of canker sores, that is small, painful ulcers. Sometimes the "bubbles" are accompanied by a sore throat and a slight feverish rise (no more than 38 ° C). SAR is typically characterized by ulcers that form on the inside of the lips, cheeks, and tongue and disappear within 5 to 15 days.

Herpetic stomatitis in children

La herpetic stomatitisFinally, caused by the Herpes simplex virus type 1, it is the most "serious" form, especially when it is first contracted. In this case it is characterized by vesicles that ulcerate easily, causing pain, swollen and red gums, which bleed easily, abundant salivation, high fever, even above 39 ° C e general malaise.

Once the infection is contracted, the herpes virus remains in the body in a latent form and then reactivates, in predisposed subjects, in particular periods of weakness of the immune defenses, for example after an illness or stress. In reactivations - o fallout - the disorder usually manifests itself in a milder form, "limiting itself" to the appearance of canker sores in the oral cavity and possibly vesicles on the lip.

Due to the pain and discomfort, the child with stomatitis may have difficulty feeding.

How it is transmitted

Viral forms are always contagious and they are transmitted through the droplets of saliva, both by respiratory route and by direct or indirect contact with the child carrying the virus: this is why it is essential not to use the same dishes or towels and to avoid close contact with other children who may be present in the family.

How long the contagion lasts

"Although there are no definitive studies on the subject, it is estimated that the period of contagiousness of viruses that give viral stomatitis is approximately 4 6-days"explains Fiore.

How is stomatitis treated?

If the symptoms are modest: the "grandmother's remedies"

  • feeding with fresh or cold foods
  • hydration
  • cuddles

"If the symptoms are modest, just worry about thesupply - it is advisable to offer the child fresh or cold foods, among those most pleasing to him - dellhydration and to do a lot to the little one cuddles"recommends Fiore, underlining that in any case to relieve pain and discomfort" they can be prescribed painkillers generally, or even locally, usually in the form of a gel or spray ".

If the form is severe

If, on the other hand, we are faced with a severe form of primary herpetic stomatitis the pediatrician can prescribe the antiviral Acyclovir, which can reduce the intensity and duration of symptoms. "But be careful to avoid do-it-yourself" specifies Fiore. "You should always follow the doctor's advice."

What to do if the baby does not eat?

When the child has stomatitis, the main concern of the parents is that he does not eat. Indeed, passing food into the mouth can be very painful, so you shouldn't force it to eat: even if you eat less than usual for a few days, don't worry. Sure it is iIt is important to make him drink, to avoid dehydration, and on the most critical days you can try giving him something cold like ice cream, milk or yogurt.

How long does stomatitis last?

Herpetic stomatitis: duration

For herpetic stomatitis, the worst phase lasts 3-4 days; within 6-7 days there is the disappearance of the fever and a clear reduction of the lesions; total healing occurs after 15-20 days.

Duration other forms of stomatitis in children

For other forms of stomatitis, the fever lasts no more than 3-4 days and complete recovery occurs in 7-10 days.

When can the child who has had stomatitis go back to kindergarten or school?

"The child he cannot return to the community as long as he is symptomatic, because it would be contagious ”explains Fiore. "Furthermore, it is good to keep him at home as much as possible to implement the treatments (and any therapies) we have talked about, which must be repeated several times a day".

Read also: This is why children who are still sick should not go back to school

Supplements to restore strength?

According to what is reported in a document on vitamins and supplements issued by the Del Paesena Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics and by the Federation of Paesena pediatricians, infectious processes and episodes of disease in general easily "consume" vitamins and micronutrients such as zinc and iron.

It is therefore possible that even after a stomatitis the doctor decides to propose some supplements to help recovery. However, what is always very important, once the disease is over, is resume a healthy diet, varied, balanced and naturally rich in fruit and vegetables.

Read also: Supplements and vitamins for children

Is it possible to prevent any relapses?

"At the moment there are no known therapies or interventions that will certainly avoid the recurrence of canker sores" explains Fiore. However, it offers some general advice ("without definitive scientific evidence!"):

  • brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush;
  • take care of the hygiene of orthodontic appliances and inform the dentist of any discomfort or injury;
  • follow a rich and varied diet in order to avoid small vitamin deficiencies;
  • for older children and adults, reduce stress.

"It is also essential to evaluate the possible presence of diseases that could be at the basis of the recurrent aphthous stomatitis, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, immunodeficiencies, Behcet's disease, some forms of periodic fever such as PFAPA ".

Other sources for this article: Pediatric Aphthous Ulcers, article on MedScape; information material of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital.

  • stomatitis
  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • cold
  • 3-5 children years
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