Dental Health

Kissing disease symptoms: causes, treatment, and more

Kissing sickness is a common viral infection that is transmitted through saliva. kissing disease symptoms include fever, sore throat, fatigue, and swollen glands in the neck. Most people make a full recovery within a couple of weeks, as we mentioned above, but the disease can have negative effects on oral health.

Effects of kissing disease on oral health:

This disease can negatively affect oral health. These are the most common effects that can appear on our patient’s oral health:

Gum inflammation: Kissing disease can cause some inflammation of the gums, which can cause pain and bleeding. Inflammation of the gums can also indicate the existence of periodontal disease, a disease that, if not treated properly, can compromise our patient’s teeth.

Mouth ulcers: These are painful lesions in the mouth that can be a side effect of kissing disease. These ulcers can appear on the lips, tongue, gums, and the inside of the cheeks.

Increased risk of tooth decay: The virus that causes kissing disease may increase the risk of developing tooth decay. This is partly because the virus can change the composition of saliva, which can affect its ability to protect teeth from cavities.

Transmission of other oral infections: Kissing disease is transmitted through saliva, meaning the virus can be transmitted to other people through kissing, sharing utensils, or any other activity that involves close contact with the mouth. This increases the risk of contracting other oral infections, such as oral thrush or gingivitis.

Difficulty brushing your teeth: Symptoms of kissing disease, such as gum inflammation and mouth ulcers, can make it difficult to brush and use toothpaste. This can increase the risk of developing cavities and gum disease.It is important to take preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection and protect oral health. Additionally, if you experience symptoms of kissing disease, such as swollen gums or mouth ulcers, it is important to seek medical attention to obtain treatment and avoid complications.

What is kissing disease?

The technical name for the famous kissing disease is infectious mononucleosis. It is caused by the presence of a virus known as Epstein-Barr (EBV). This virus is part of some of the most common herpes. EBV usually affects blood lymphocytes, causing the constant destruction of white blood cells. Hence, one of the main symptoms of mononucleosis is extreme fatigue.

It is important to emphasize that kissing disease does not usually cause episodes that are too serious on a general level. In fact, on many occasions, people who are suffering from the viral disease barely realize that their immune system is being attacked by the EBV virus. However, in other cases, the presence of symptoms becomes much more evident and annoying.

We should also talk about childhood mononucleosis. During the first years of life, it is more common for children to share toys and utensils. This can cause contact with saliva between children to cause the spread of the pathology. However, kissing disease symptoms in children is usually very mild, with little worrying symptoms and easy recovery. Despite this, if you think that your child may be suffering from childhood mononucleosis, we recommend that you go to the pediatrician as soon as possible. This way it will be easier for you to prevent contagion.

As we have already told you, the causes of kissing disease are explained by the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus, which attacks blood lymphocytes. To prevent indiscriminate contagion, at Acacias we recommend that you always follow good dental hygiene routines.

What causes kissing disease

Many patients come to our Horta Nord Dental Clinic with discomfort or inflammation in the lymph node area, thinking that it could be tonsillitis or tonsillitis infection. However, it is important to know that there is a condition known as kissing disease, which also produces these same symptoms, and that it is important to diagnose to apply the appropriate treatment.

As we said, kissing disease receives this name because its contagion occurs through oral secretions, such as saliva. In addition to this, it is important to keep in mind that anyone can become infected, although it is more common in adolescents or young adults (between 15 and 24 years old). It is less common in babies, children, or the elderly, in which case they may not have visible symptoms.

For there to be contagion, therefore, an exchange of saliva must have occurred. However, it is not only spread through kisses, there are other possible routes of infection between, for example, two people who live together or between whom there is a very close relationship: coughing, sneezing, sharing towels, cutlery, glasses, etc.

What are the symptoms of kissing disease?

The first days the most characteristic symptoms of infectious mononucleosis can be confused with acute tonsillitis; that is, with angina, since the main symptoms are fever, sore throat, and tonsillar exudates.

It must be taken into account that kissing disease is caused by a virus, so it does not improve with antibiotic treatment. It has the peculiarity that when treated with amoxicillin, thinking that it is bacterial tonsillitis, sometimes reddish spots appear on the skin that we call an exanthema.

Symptoms and duration of kissing disease

kissing disease symptoms can vary from person to person, but generally include:

*Extreme fatigue: One of the most common symptoms of kissing sickness is a persistent feeling of tiredness and weakness, which can last weeks or even months.

*Sore throat: The throat may feel sore and swollen, making it difficult to swallow and speak normally. It may be accompanied by swollen tonsils covered with a white or yellow coating.

*Fever: Many people experience a high fever, usually between 38°C and 40°C, as the immune system’s response to the virus.

*Swollen lymph nodes: Lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, and groin may swell and become tender to the touch.

*Skin rashes: Some people may develop a characteristic skin rash, which may appear as small pink or reddish spots.

*Muscle aches: Muscle aches and pains, similar to those felt during the flu, can occur in various parts of the body.

*Loss of appetite: Kissing disease can cause a decrease in appetite, which can lead to temporary weight loss.

The duration of kissing sickness varies from person to person. Generally, symptoms can last two to four weeks, but in some cases, fatigue and weakness can persist for several months. It is important to note that each individual may experience the illness differently, and full recovery may take time.

What are the symptoms of mononucleosis?

The most frequent symptomatology is the classic triad (50-70% of cases):

*Fever (93-95%) that may be persistent and last more than 15 days

*Pharyngitis (85%)

*Local lymphadenopathy (90-95%)

Common kissing disease symptoms: general malaise, asthenia, headache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

In 75% of cases, it is asymptomatic, and in older patients, it is nonspecific (prolonged fever, general malaise, asthenia, and myalgia).

It can be confused with a streptococcal infection (this does not cause fatigue or splenomegaly)

The presence of palatal petechiae, splenomegaly, and posterior cervical and/or auricular lymphadenopathy, as well as inguinal lymphadenopathy, are characteristics of Infectious Mononucleosis.

Its symptoms are similar to the flu. How are they different?

In MI, fever lasts longer, painful lymphadenopathy is present, and fatigue lasts a few weeks, but can persist for 2 or 3 months. The duration of symptoms is also longer (2 to 4 weeks) than in the case of the flu and splenic and hepatic inflammation can be seen that does not appear in the flu.

Common symptoms of infectious mononucleosis

Kissing disease has an incubation period of between 10 and 15 days, so during this time, the infected person would not present any symptoms. From there, the first signs appear that could indicate the existence of this type of viral disease. The most common symptoms of kissing disease are:

*General malaise, tiredness, or fatigue.


*Loss of appetite, or asthenia.

*Abdominal pain or discomfort.

*Fever, usually high.

*Swelling of the lymph nodes.

*Sore throat.

*Hepatitis, which can be quite common.

*In more severe cases, inflammation of the liver or hepatomegaly.

*Inflammation of the spleen, or splenomegaly, also in more acute cases.

In the majority of patients who suffer from kissing disease, the symptoms remain progressively and satisfactorily. It is important, however, to know how to detect the first symptoms to go to a specialist doctor as soon as possible. In this way, in addition to following the indicated treatment, it is possible to prevent the possible spread of the virus with people with whom the patient maintains close contact.

As we said at the beginning, among babies or younger children, infectious mononucleosis can go unnoticed and even be asymptomatic. On the other hand, adolescents and young adults usually present all or most of the symptoms, which usually do not last more than one or two weeks if the guidelines indicated by the doctor are correctly followed.

Treatment of infectious mononucleosis

Before talking about the treatment options for kissing disease, we must mention that preventing contagion is key. Keep in mind that the EBV virus can remain in saliva for several months. If you are suffering from this infectious pathology, go to your dental clinic, to undergo good preventive oral treatment. In addition, the dentist will give you guidelines to avoid infections.

The treatment of mononucleosis can vary depending on different parameters. The truth is that no drug eradicates the presence of this virus. But it is possible to treat the symptoms, to make the infectious process less bothersome.

The most important thing is that you go to the doctor to establish a clear diagnosis. Avoiding self-medication is key since there are medications that are completely contraindicated if you suffer from kissing disease symptoms. This is the case with regular aspirin, which could cause more serious problems.

It is common for specialists to prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatories. In more severe cases the use of corticosteroids is also indicated. You will never be prescribed antibiotics, because bacteria are not part of this condition.

During the development of mononucleosis, you must rely on rest and good hydration. In the most serious cases, rest is necessary to avoid that characteristic fatigue and limit problems with the liver or spleen.

How is kissing disease treated?

The treatment is symptomatic, that is, it is aimed at relieving the symptoms:

*Relative rest: resume normal activities after 2-4 weeks and avoid sports activities for at least 1 month in case of splenomegaly.

*Hydration: abundant fluid intake.

*Medications: Analgesics, antipyretics, and anti-inflammatories such as paracetamol or NSAIDs.

The doctor is the one who prescribes the appropriate dose, dosage, and duration. Generally, for adults and adolescents aged 12-18 years, it is 1 tablet (400-600 mg) every 6/8 hours for ibuprofen without exceeding the maximum daily dose of 2400 mg in adults and 1800 mg in adolescents.

If the pain or fever is mild or moderate, the dose of 400 mg every 6 hours is just as effective as 600 mg/8 hours and has fewer side effects.

Tips for the correct use of treatments

Swallow the tablet with a glass of water on an empty stomach (without food) for paracetamol because it has a faster effect if taken on an empty stomach. Ibuprofen is best taken with food to avoid possible gastric damage.

In the case of children, the pharmaceutical form used is syrups. The recommendation is to always use a syringe for administration, no tablespoons.

Do not share syringes and use one for each container.

In addition, the concentration of the syrup must be checked before administration, since ibuprofen is marketed in two concentrations, 2% and 4%.

Read more: Electric and manual teeth brushing techniques

Precautions and treatment for kissing disease

When faced with kissing disease, it is important to take certain precautions and follow appropriate treatment to guarantee optimal recovery:

Rest and self-care: Kissing sickness can cause extreme fatigue, so it is essential to get enough rest and allow the body to recover. Avoid strenuous physical activities and take regular naps to conserve energy.

Adequate hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, fresh juices, and hot soups, helps keep the body hydrated and relieves the symptoms of sore throat and fever.

Healthy diet: Maintain a balanced and healthy diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and foods that strengthen the immune system. Avoid spicy, acidic, or irritating foods that can aggravate a swollen throat.

Avoid close contact: Since kissing disease spreads mainly through saliva, it is important to avoid close contact with other people during the period of illness. Avoid kissing, sharing utensils, glasses, and toothbrushes, and be sure to wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of the virus.Medical control: If symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to seek medical attention to receive a proper diagnosis and professional follow-up. The doctor will be able to provide specific recommendations based on the severity of the symptoms and the patient’s general health.

How to prevent mononucleosis?

The best way to prevent kissing disease is to avoid close contact with infected people and not share personal items such as toothbrushes, glasses, and eating utensils.

Additionally, washing your hands regularly can also help reduce the risk of infection.

Read more: How to choose the best baby toothpaste 

Natural remedies for kissing disease

Because there are no vaccines or antibiotics to treat mononucleosis, recovery from the illness requires a lot of rest. The following are some natural mononucleosis remedies to treat at home:

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is one of the best mononucleosis remedies to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Coconut oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce lymph node swelling.

Cranberry Juice: Natural cranberry juice has antiviral health benefits. It can help eliminate toxins that build up in the body during the course of a mononucleosis infection.

Goldenseal: Goldenseal is a herbal remedy for mononucleosis due to its immunity boosting and antiviral health benefits.

Echinacea: Echinacea is another natural remedy for mononucleosis because it boosts your immunity and increases health benefits that can help reduce the severity of kissing disease symptoms.

Astragalus: Astragalus is a traditional herbal remedy to kill the virus. Taking astragalus supplements may help combat mononucleosis symptoms in some cases.

Garlic: Garlic is a traditional remedy taken for many viral infections, including mononucleosis.

How is mononucleosis spread?

It is transmitted from person to person through saliva and after infection, the virus remains in the carrier’s oropharynx for months or decades.

Other routes are uncommon: hemotransfusion, transplants, sexual contact, or breastfeeding.

Read more: Why is my tongue white? baby, red spots, remedies & more


Any entity that presents with the triad of fever, polyadenopathy, and pharyngotonsillitis is called mononucleosis syndrome (MS).

It is related in 90% of cases to an acute primary infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a condition known as INFECTIOUS MONONUCLEOSIS (IM), “kissing disease” or “Pfeiffer’s ganglionic fever.”

The remaining 10% are made up of other etiologies that include: viruses, bacteria, parasites, side effects of drugs, and systemic autoimmune and hematological diseases.

At least 1 in 4 adolescents and young adults who become infected with EBV develop infectious mononucleosis.

Most people are exposed to this virus since it is transmitted through saliva through close personal contact (kiss).

About 95 percent of adults have the virus and many of them will never find out.

Read more: Most common tongue diseases, symptoms, treatment & more

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