Measles in the mouth

Posted .

Posted on April 8, 2015
Measles. It’s been in the news lately and, like cavities, is a completely preventable disease of

childhood. Whether or not to vaccinate your child for measles is not the topic of this blog, but

having a frank discussion with your physician ( you know, the person who dedicated their life’s

work to helping your family) about vaccinations is a good idea. What I want to discuss as a

father and pediatric dentist is the fact that early signs of measles often appear in the mouth first!

Dr. Catherine Flaitz, a renown pediatric dental disease expert recently published an article on the

children’s dentist role in detecting measles. Here are the highlights of her article:

1) Kopic spots on the inside cheeks. These small red spots can be itchy, but will not be raised

like herpes or ulcerated like canker sores. They usually happen in multiples.

2) Atypical gingivitis. Red painful gums that suddenly appear around teeth without a change in

oral hygiene can signal a body problem. Other illness can also do this.

3) Operculitis or gum necrosis. More severe and more painful that gingivitis, where the gum

tissue is remodeling, like around an erupting tooth. The gum will be red with a white or brownish

dead area at the tip. This is very abnormal in an otherwise healthy child.

If you combine these oral symptoms with the more classic symptoms of infection: conjunctivitis

or red goopy eyes, runny nose and a cough, you may very well be seeing early measles before

the typical itchy rash of the face, neck and trunk appear. That being said, this blog, like other

sources on the web or google search, is NOT MEANT TO DIAGNOSE. Please, if you need an

opinion, find your local friendly pediatric dentist (you know, the person who dedicated their life’s

work to helping your family). I love what I do and I love helping you raise healthy, happy kids.

Contact me at for comments of this or any other topic of pediatric