Oral rot in the adult


As a rule, you get infected with the herpes virus, which causes oral rot, early on.
That is why it is mostly small children between the ages of 7 months and 6 years that develop oral rot. If you come into contact with the herpes virus later, you can also suffer from oral rot in adulthood.
Those who have gone through the full course of the disease, or who have shown no symptoms when infected for the first time, are immune afterwards. Adults often go through a more complicated form than children.

These symptoms can be used to recognize oral rot in adults

First symptoms

The first symptoms that occur when contracting oral rot are:

  • general feeling of illness
  • fever
  • restlessness
  • difficulties swallowing
  • a headache
  • Throat pain

You may also be interested in the following article: Herpes in the mouth

Symptoms after 1-2 days

Typical changes in the oral mucosa in the anterior oral cavity occur after one to two days. Now the symptoms typical of oral rot appear:

  • strong bad breath
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Vesicles in the mouth
  • coated tongue
  • increased salivation
  • Pain when eating, drinking, and speaking

The vesicles can be filled with blood and usually burst quickly. In doing so, they leave behind a torn up oral mucosa, which is surrounded by a red border.

You may also be interested in this topic: Course of the mouth rot

Symptoms on the tongue

The tongue also shows a typical clinical picture of oral rot. It is usually thickly coated. Sore, painful areas that look like whitish “craters” can be found distributed over the tongue and this covering. The tongue may also be swollen.

This is how oral rot is treated

General therapy

First of all, bed rest is paramount. The sore mouth makes it difficult to eat and drink. Therefore pulpy or even liquid food is recommended. It is essential to drink enough to prevent dehydration. The food and drink should not be taken too hot or too cold in order not to irritate the damaged oral mucosa.

Often, slightly chilled drinking and eating are perceived as pleasant. You can rinse your mouth with warm water or a disinfectant mouthwash such as chlorhexidine. Antipyretic drugs and pain relievers are prescribed if necessary. Treatment with antibiotics is usually not necessary. If the oral rot is more severe, a drug against the growth of the virus is prescribed.

Home remedies

At home you have to make sure that you drink enough fluids despite the pain. Drinking with a straw can help. In addition, many sick people find it more pleasant when the drink is slightly cool. There are juices and ointments that the doctor can prescribe that help numb the pain.

Rinsing gently with lukewarm chamomile or sage tea can help. Swedish herbs and propolis are also used for relief. Swedish herbs are a large mixture of different herbs that are said to have healing properties. You can buy it ready-made as a tincture or ointment.

Propolis is made by bees. They use it to insulate their beehive, among other things. also against pathogens. The tincture has an antiviral effect even when applied locally. The tinctures should not be applied directly to the sore lining of the mouth. It can lead to irritation. You should therefore consult your family doctor before using such home remedies.

Read more on the topic: Home remedies for mouth rot


Since the drugs (antivirals) that are used to treat oral rot have side effects, many people seek a way of therapy in homeopathy.
If you have had good experiences with it, nothing speaks against it from a medical point of view. However, despite supportive homeopathic therapy, you should never do without a doctor's visit. Borax, for example, is often recommended, which is available in low to medium potentiation among others. helps against viruses on the oral mucosa.

Read more on the topic: borax

Do antibiotics help?

In normal cases, oral rot therapy does not include antibiotics.
Antibiotics fight bacteria. In the case of oral rot, however, there is an infection by viruses. In the case of more severe forms of the infection, these are fought with the help of antivirals, i.e. agents that are specially designed against viruses. Antibiotics are only used if the weakening of the immune system by the virus is so dramatic that there is a risk of becoming ill again with bacteria. This means that antibiotic therapy in case of oral rot disease prevents a new disease and supports the weakened immune system.

Also read: Antiviral drugs


As mentioned, many people become infected with the herpes virus without even realizing it. It is transmitted through direct physical contact. Over 90% of people carry the virus. In rare cases, the first contact with the virus occurs at an advanced age. If mouth rot occurs at this age, it is important to take a close look at the patient's state of health. Immune defects, i.e. a weakened immune system, often represent an increased risk of developing mouth rot.

If you get oral rot as an adult, you can therefore assume that you have not previously been infected with the herpes virus and that the body is now dealing with the virus in a stronger form due to a weakness of the immune system. This conflict shows up in the clinical picture of oral rot and usually ends in an immunity to a renewed disease of the oral rot.

The cold sore that many people know is a common symptom of the virus, which can still occur afterwards.


Four to six days after the initial infection, a general feeling of sickness with fatigue, fever, body aches and nausea usually follows for two days. Then the typical changes in the oral mucous membrane appear in the form of vesicles.

The symptoms subside after about five days. After one to two weeks you should feel fit again and the sores in your mouth should have healed. Usually there are no scars in the mouth, i.e. after two weeks, absolutely nothing of the symptoms of the disease can be seen.

Read more about this: Duration of mouth rot

incubation period

The incubation period, i.e. the time that elapses from the first contact with the herpes virus to the first signs of oral rot, is estimated at four to six days.
There are also cases that deviate from this norm. The incubation time also depends on the state of health of the infected person and how quickly their immune system can fight the virus.

How contagious is oral rot in adults?

Over 90% of people carry the virus that triggers oral rot, but only about 1% of people who come into contact with the virus for the first time go through the complete course of oral rot. This means that most people do not develop the disease. However, the herpes virus is transmitted very quickly.

Ways of infection by oral rot in adults

The oral rot virus is mainly transmitted through direct physical contact.
The carriers of the virus excrete the viruses with their saliva. Oral rot is mainly transmitted via saliva, when kissing or sharing cutlery, drinks or food. In addition, it is not advisable to share handkerchiefs or even the bath towel. Especially while you are suffering from oral rot, you should pay close attention to hygiene.

Read more on the topic: Contagion with mouth rot

Such is the course of oral rot in adults

After contracting a person's mouth rot, the first signs of disease appear after about four to six days. These do not have to show up in the oral cavity, but are characterized by a general feeling of illness, such as weakness and nausea. After another two days, the first changes in the oral mucosa appear in the form of vesicles. These often do not last long, but burst and form a kind of wound over the entire mucous membrane, which mainly causes pain in the mouth when eating and even speaking.

The gums at this stage are also swollen, red and prone to bleeding quickly. The lymph nodes often swell very much. This can persist for up to 6 weeks after the onset of the disease. As a rule, the condition should improve after about 5 days and after 2 weeks you can count on the complete healing. After the illness, there is normally no longer another illness, as the body produces antibodies, i.e. defense cells, against the oral rot viruses.

Read more on the topic: Course of the mouth rot


The diagnosis of oral rot is usually only possible with the help of a normal examination by a doctor.
He usually recognizes the typical signs of oral rot with the naked eye. If this is not clear enough, he has the option of checking the patient's blood for immune cells against the virus, or of cultivating the virus (virus cultivation) and detecting it. Normal canker sores should not be mistaken for signs of oral rot.

This doctor treats oral rot in adults

Since the first signs of a disease with oral rot are often not specific, but show themselves in a general feeling of illness, such as weakness and nausea, most sufferers first consult their family doctor.
However, if the typical changes in the oral mucous membrane of the oral cavity occur, the dentist is the specialist who can usually attribute the changes to their cause and make the diagnosis.