Course of the mouth rot


Oral rot is a viral disease. It can break out in some people, but not in some either. This depends on the state of the respective immune system.

Young children or babies under 3 years of age are most likely to be affected by the condition. Your immune system is not strong enough to fight the herpes simplex virus. Because the immune systems react differently to the pathogens, the disease also proceeds differently for everyone.
The course can be roughly divided into 3 stages. In a surge phase then a phase in which the symptoms are at their peak, and then a few days in which the symptoms subside again.

Oral rot occurs rarely in adulthood.

Incubation period and the first symptoms

The incubation period extends from the time the virus enters the body to the moment the disease breaks out. The incubation time is also different for each patient. If the immune system is strong, the virus can be contained for the time being. However, this weakens the immune system. In this way, the flooding time can be extended, but the virus ultimately breaks out.

One therefore sometimes speaks of an incubation period of 2-26 days. The first symptoms usually appear within 2-7 days. After a week at the latest, other symptoms will appear in addition to the first signs. The disease is contagious several days before the first symptoms appear.

This is what the first symptoms look like:

  • The first signs are usually small blisters. They mainly develop on the entire oral mucosa. But then they can also be applied to the tongue, the roof of the mouth and the cheek. This symptom is common.
    One speaks of mouth rot when there are several such blisters in the whole mouth. The blisters swell because of the high blood flow in the mouth.
  • They burst open and then pain at the latest. The small wounds are very sensitive to touch and sour and spicy foods. Chewing is difficult because the movement of the tongue or cheeks irritates the vesicles.
  • A few days later the gums become inflamed. It typically swells and turns red in color.

The pain can be relieved by soft or liquid food. It is important that a lot of fluid is taken in during this phase so that the oral cavity does not dry out. A good sign that the immune system is responding to the disease is increased salivation.

Learn more about this at:

  • Vesicles in the mouth
  • Oral rot in the adult

Clearly pronounced oral rot and its symptoms

Over time, the disease solidifies.

  • At the climax, small white dots can be seen on the tongue. In this case, these are the tiny nodules that are extremely inflamed.
  • The general condition deteriorates. Headache and fatigue occur and lead to the fact that children in particular sleep a lot and speak little.
  • Most of the time, a fever also occurs suddenly. This fact is a response of the immune system to the inflammation and to the weakened body. The fever remains at a high temperature level for about 2-5 days.
  • In addition, the lymph nodes in the neck region can swell. This is also part of the defense reaction, because the killed microorganisms are carried away into the bloodstream via the lymph and lymph nodes. In this phase in particular you are very contagious. On the one hand, the pathogens can spread to other people, on the other hand, you are susceptible to other diseases yourself.
    If the mouth rot is not treated in this phase, there is a risk of spreading the virus to the eye region.
  • In addition, this often leads to sore throats or respiratory diseases.
  • To avoid the risk of dehydration or lack of food intake, one should eat cold, liquid drinks. Ice cream is always a good choice for children. It also cools the mouth, reducing inflammation and pain.

Read also below:

  • Contagion with mouth rot
  • Lymph node swelling in the neck - is that dangerous?

Healing phase and its symptoms

It is typical for the healing phase that all symptoms slowly ease. The immune system is on the up again. The general condition improves.

This means that the fever will go down and the tiredness will go away. Little by little, the appetite and the desire for solid food returns.
However, there may be a strong bad breath at the beginning. This comes about through the metabolic products when the pathogens are broken down and have a sour, rotten smell. A whitish coating forms on the blisters in the mouth. It is important for the oral mucosa to heal. Blisters outside the mouth or cracked corners of the mouth become encrusted and normal lip skin forms again.

Also read our topic: Home remedies for mouth rot

Duration of the entire illness

It is difficult to give an exact indication of the duration. The course of oral rot is different in every patient because the immune systems react differently to the virus. In some cases, contact with the herpes virus only results in a small sore.

In physically healthy people, the disease is over after one to two weeks. An old farmer's saying is “come 3 days, stay 3 days, go 3 days.” After about 10 days, minor illnesses will heal.

However, hygienic and medicinal measures must also be initiated during the entire period. The disease is contagious through droplet infection throughout the course. The virus can be transmitted during the incubation period until the phase has completely healed.

More on this: Duration of mouth rot

Does the course differ in the baby from the adult?

Mouth rot is more common in children or babies under 3 years of age. They come into contact with the virus for the first time because they are infected through their parents or other family members. Since their immune system is still weak, or because the immune system does not yet know the virus, the virus acts as a rot. It spreads throughout the mouth.

In adults, usually only a small blister breaks out in the mouth or a blister on the outside of the lip. When the immune system in adults is weakened, multiple vesicles can develop.
It is important that as an adult you do not touch the child's pacifier or cutlery with your mouth. In the same way, spit should be kept away from all objects that children come into contact with. Used handkerchiefs must be removed immediately.

Even if you are not acutely ill with the herpes virus, you can pass the virus on. That is why you should stay away from other people as much as possible and stay at home or not give the child to school or kindergarten. Close physical contact can infect other children or children with weakened immune systems. Children with diseases such as leukemia or who are taking drugs that weaken the immune system are particularly at risk.

Untreated oral rot can have harmful effects on internal organs. The virus can infect the liver or lungs and, in severe cases, cause meningitis. If infected, children with neurodermatitis can develop herpes eczema because of their sensitive skin.

You might also be interested in:

  • Mouth rot in the baby
  • Mouth rot in children / toddlers
  • Herpes in babies - how dangerous is it?

Recommendations from the editorial team

  • Vesicles in the mouth
  • Herpes Simplex - trigger of the oral rot
  • Herpes in babies - how dangerous is it?
  • Mouth rot in the baby
  • Contagion with mouth rot
  • Duration of mouth rot