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6 Common Oral Infections that You Need to Know About

Posted on 11/15/2015 by Raymond Liu
A man suffering from an oral infection.There are a variety of bacteria, viral, and fungal infections that can affect the mouth, and these infections can impact both adults and children. While some of these issues can be avoided with good dental hygiene, others, especially those that are common in children, are illnesses that can be spread from person to person. By better understanding the most common oral infections that can affect your mouth, you can take steps to avoid them and to keep yourself safe.


Gingivitis is a mouth infection that is an early form of gum disease. It results when bacteria settle into the crevices of the gums, as the bacteria will produce toxins. The gums will react to the toxins with swelling and inflammation, and this can cause bleeding when you brush. A majority of adults have gingivitis, and if left untreated, periodontitis and a variety of other health problems may result. Fortunately, with good oral hygiene, gingivitis can actually be reversed.


If gingivitis isn't treated, the infection can spread below the gums in order to affect the bone and the tissues that support the bone. Pockets will develop around your teeth, leading to bone loss and inflammation, and your teeth may begin to loosen as the teeth are destroyed. Roughly 10% of adults have periodontitis, and it is the most common factor that contributes to tooth loss. Not only that, but the condition can also worsen other medical problems, such as chronic lung and heart conditions.

Oral Herpes

Oral herpes affect 50%-80% of U.S. adults, and this infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus. The first infection may result in blisters on the gums and tongue with flu-like symptoms, and for other people, no symptoms may be experienced at all. Unfortunately, once you've been infected, the virus will maintain a consistent presence in your body, but proper care could keep the virus dormant. Subsequent outbreaks tend to be mild and only last for 7-10 days, and they will be characterized by fluid-filled blisters that appear around the outside of the mouth.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease are most likely to occur with toddlers and young children, and it is generally caused by the Coxsackie A16 virus. With this infection, you'll experience a couple days of fever and sore throat, and painful blisters may result inside of the mouth and on the tongue. Your child will also exhibit blisters on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. Fortunately, the infection usually goes away on its own within a matter of days, and medical intervention isn't usually required.


This infection is related to hand, foot, and mouth disease, and it is also a disease that primarily affects children. Kids between the ages of 3 and 10 generally come down with it during the autumn and summer months. Sore throat, swallowing difficulties, and fever are usually the first symptoms to show up, and then tiny blisters will pop up at the back of the mouth. When they rupture, large ulcers may form. The infection will typically only last for 3-5 days.

Dental Cavities

Dental cavities are the most common oral infection, and they typically result from tooth decay. Dental cavities are the top cause of tooth loss in children, and they can result from the Streptococcus mutans bacteria. Fortunately, cavities are entirely preventable with good brushing and flossing habits in order to properly remove bacteria from the teeth before they are able to develop plaque and tartar.

Do you think that you could be suffering from an infection in your mouth? Contact your dentist to set up an appointment.
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