Dental Problems

What is Oral Herpes? – Causes, Symptoms

It is an infection formed due to the herpes simplex virus, and it only affect humans. Herpes simplex virus is a Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) virus. This virus will cause painful sores most commonly inside your cheeks, on tongue, gums, roof of your mouth, lips.
Some times it can lead to muscle aches and fever.

Causes of Oral Herpes

There are two herpes subtypes that may cause these mouth sores.

  • Type 1 or Herpes-1, will cause 80% of cases of the oral herpes infections
  • Type 2 or Herpes-2, causes the rest

Stages in Oral Herpes Infection

Primary Infection:

  • The virus enters your mucous membrane or your skin and reproduces
  • Symptoms are oral sores and development of fever.
  • Some times it may not cause any symptoms, this kind of infection is called asymptomatic infection.
  • The chances of getting asymptomatic infection is higher (almost twice) than the infection with symptoms.


  • From the infected area, the viruses move to the nervous tissues of your spine.
  • This region is called dorsal root ganglion.
  • Here the virus reproduces and becomes inactive.


Even if you encounter certain level of physical or emotional stress, the virus gets reactivate causing new symptoms and sores

Symptoms of Oral Herpes

  • It takes any where between two to twelve days to get the symptoms, after the contact with the virus, this time period is called incubation period.
  • These signs and symptoms can last for two to three weeks
  • Fever, muscle aches, irritability and tiredness are some other symptoms
  • Burning sensation, itching, tingling and pain in the infected site are the most common symptoms
  • Clusters of blisters will form and they break down rapidly
  • Sores occur on the gums, lips, tongue and in the throat.
  • You will feel intense pain at these oral sore points
  • Swollen throat is commonly seen in teens

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