The goal is to reduce symptoms. Practice good oral hygiene. Even if there is bleeding and it is painful, thorough but gentle brushing of the gums is important to reduce the chances of another infection from normal mouth bacteria.
Antibiotics may be needed. The dentist may need to clean infected tissue (a process called debridement).
Medicated mouth rinses may be recommended to reduce pain. Salt water (one-half teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water) or over-the-counter mouthwashes like hydrogen peroxide or Xylocaine may be soothing.
Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Soft, bland (non-spicy) foods may reduce discomfort during eating.
Gingivostomatitis infections range from mild and slightly uncomfortable to severe and painful. The sores generally get better in 2 or 3 weeks with or without treatment. Treatment may reduce discomfort and speed healing.
Gingivostomatitis may disguise other, more serious mouth ulcers.
Call your health care provider if:
Schiffer JT, Corey L. Herpes simplex virus. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 136.
Modlin JF. Coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, newer enteroviruses, and parechoviruses. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 172.
Christian JM. Odontogenic infections. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2010:chap 12.
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