Although much is still unknown about the full effects of COVID-19, literature from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic (spring and summer 2020) supports a postviral immunologic reaction resulting in a multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). The purpose of this study was to report the rates of documented oral and oropharyngeal manifestations among these patients and to determine the association of these findings with other MIS-C symptoms.
The authors conducted a retrospective review of pediatric patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian. Patients fulfilling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for MIS-C were included in this study. The documented signs, symptoms, and laboratory values were collected and compared with the presence of oral or oropharyngeal findings.
The mean (standard deviation) age of MIS-C patients was 9.0 (5.0) years (range, 1.3-20.0 years), and there was no obvious sex difference (51.1% male, 48.9% female). With respect to oral findings, 23 patients (48.9%) had red or swollen lips, whereas only 5 (10.6%) had a strawberry tongue. Oral or oropharyngeal findings were associated significantly with the presence of systemic rash (P = .04) and conjunctivitis (P = .02).
The presence of oral or oropharyngeal changes may be an early indicator of MIS-C and should be considered suggestive of MIS-C in the setting of COVID-19 infection.
Dental care providers may play an integral role both in the early detection of oral manifestations of MIS-C and in the identification of oral lesions in hospitalized patients with confirmed MIS-C.