Bearded Dragon Mouth Rot (Signs, Causes, and Treatment)

Mouth rot is one of the most common illnesses in bearded dragons, although it is pretty easy to treat. Most pet owners do not know what signs to look out for to detect mouth rot. This article will discuss the various symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Mouth rot also known as infectious stomatics is a prevalent disease in many reptiles. Common symptoms include sticky fluid oozing from your bearded dragon’s mouth, a loss of appetite, bleeding gums, and loose teeth. Although mouth rots can easily be treated and do not take a lot of time to heal.

Mouth rot is caused by bacteria present in contaminated food, water, and the enclosure your pet is living in. Having a weakened immune system or being under a lot of stress makes your beardie more susceptible to mouth-related infections.

There are a few signs that you can look out for to detect mouth rot in your bearded dragon. Your pet will feel lethargic and will start drolling. They might also experience discomfort in closing their mouth, and you would be able to see a discharge build-up in their mouth.

You can prevent mouth rot from occurring by giving your beardie a healthy and balanced diet. You should clean up their surroundings from time to time; to give them a clean enclosure to live in. If your bearded dragon does have mouth rot, you can treat it by using an antiseptic such as betadine to cure and prevent the infection from spreading.

What Is Mouth Rot in Bearded Dragons?

Bearded Dragon mouth rot

Bearded dragon mouth rot is very common, and occurs at any age of their life. Mouth rot also known as infectious stomatitis is a bacterial build-up that can cause swelling, bleeding, and discharge. Mouth rot occurs when harmful bacteria enter your pet’s body through a physical injury.

You should look out for all these signs to provide an early cure for your bearded dragon. If left untreated, the mouth rot can worsen and could prove to be very fatal for your pet. The best step is to consult a vet as soon as you have identified the problem.

The vet will prescribe you medicines, including antibiotics which will help get rid of infectious bacteria quickly. While mouth rot starts from a bearded dragon’s gum, it will soon spread to its teeth, tongue, and jaws. Many beardies lose their teeth to this infection. The jaw and head could also suffer from this infection as it spreads to the rest of the body.

Untreated mouth rot can even lead to organ failure, intestinal damage, and various health issues. The bacteria can even get into the bloodstream and shut down the primary functions of the body. Ignoring early signs can prove to be fatal and hence needs to be cured quickly.

Causes of Mouth Rot in Bearded Dragons

Mouth rot can be very painful for your bearded dragons. The condition can cause gum inflammation, bleeding, and even death if left untreated. Here are the five causes, why mouth rot happens.

Unhygienic Conditions

Bearded Dragon Unhygienic Conditions

Unhygienic conditions are one of the primary causes of mouth rot to occur in bearded dragons. You should always clean up your bearded dragon’s enclosure to minimize the chance of them getting mouth rot. As a pet owner, you should also pay attention to the amount of heating provided inside the enclosure.

Poor hygiene is an invitation for bacteria to build up in. It is easy for the bacteria to breed in an unhygienic environment and get transmitted to your beardie. So make sure you clean your pet’s tank regularly and provide them with the right environment.

Poor Diet

Bearded Dragon eating worm

An unbalanced or poor diet can be another cause for mouth rot to develop. You should feed your bearded dragon a well-balanced diet that includes insects, vegetables, and fruits like grapes. A poor diet can weaken your bearded dragon’s immune system and make them more susceptible to mouth rot.

Editor’s Note
You should always make sure that the food consumed by your bearded dragon has a good nutritional value. Also, make sure their food content is not too high in fat, as this can decrease their immunity.


Bearded Dragon with sore lip

If your bearded dragon has gotten a recent injury in their mouth, they are more likely to get an oral infection. These injuries can be caused by an accidental bite or trauma. Make sure you handle your bearded dragon gently, as an open wound can create an opening for bacteria to breed in.


Stressed Bearded Dragon

A stressed bearded dragon will have a weak immune system, making them more susceptible to illnesses. Stress can be due to various reasons, which include noisy environments, overcrowding, and bright light. Make sure your bearded dragon has enough room for a hiding spot and gets the right living conditions.

Poor Water Quality

Bearded dragons need a clean source of drinking water as it is an easy way for bacteria to enter their body. Poor water quality can make them prone to mouth infections which can eventually lead to mouth rot.

You should also provide clean water for them to swim and bathe in, as they might ingest some bad water. Keeping a healthy environment is necessary to avoid any chances of getting mouth rot.

Signs of Mouth Rot in Bearded Dragons

Weak Bearded Dragon

If you keep a keen eye on your bearded dragon mouth rot is quite easy to detect. Mouth rot has a wide range of symptoms which can lead to behavioral changes. Here are three symptoms to look out for if your bearded dragon has mouth rot.

Loss in Appetite

Mouth rots can be very painful and thus cause discomfort while eating. Bearded dragons already have a limited diet, but this picky eating behavior will increase if there is mouth rot in play.

If your bearded dragon faces a loss in appetite and losing weight rapidly, it might be due to mouth rot. Beradies might also feel lazy as they do not have a lot of energy. If you do not treat the mouth rot in time, they might even refuse to eat any food till their body shuts down.


If the mouth rot has progressed, there might be a discharge build-up in your bearded dragon’s mouth. The discharge fluid is generally yellowish-white and contains bacteria that will ooze out from the gums of your pet.

You can even smell this discharge as it mixes with the saliva. If you notice any foul smell coming from your bearded dragon’s mouth, it is usually from the discharge build-up in its mouth. Make sure; you take them to a vet who will prescribe them a list of antibiotics that can help your pet get rid of this illness.


Bearded dragons can drool when it comes to eating, but apart from that, they usually have dry mouths. If you see your pet drooling too often, it might be because they can not close their jaw due to mouth rot.

During mouth rot, it gets painful and uncomfortable for your beardies to completely close their mouth. This situation leads to drooling, there might also be a yellowish-white discharge spilling out of their mouth. 

Treatment for Mouth Rot in Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragon isolated in enclosure

Mouth rot can prove to be very fatal for your bearded dragon if left untreated. Luckily, it can be treated very easily, and there are many ways to do so. Mouth rot can be treated at home, but if the infection has gone severe, you should visit a vet immediately.


The first thing you should do is quarantine your bearded dragon from any other pets. If you have other dragons inside the enclosure, keep the infected one away from them till the infection is all gone. 

The bacteria causing mouth rot can spread to other beardies very easily, creating a mess that is hard to control. Keep your bearded dragon in a separate tank and clean the bacteria build-up as much as possible. You can use antiseptics like betadine to stop the illness from spreading.

At-home Treatment

If a trip to the vet is not possible you can give your bearded dragon povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine diacetate to stop the infection from spreading. These antiseptics are easily available in the market, just ask the pet store about their right dosage and you are good to go.

Dilute the antiseptic solution in water and clean it with the help of a cotton swab on the infected area. The medication will kill harmful bacteria and prevent them from spreading. Just clean the area two times a day for the first two days. You can also use a cotton swab to remove any discharge from the mouth.


The best way to cure mouth rot is by using antibiotics. These medications will help kill the harmful bacteria from the bearded dragon’s body and help heal them faster. With the help of antibiotics, your pet will be able to regain its health in no time.

You should only get antibiotics by visiting a vet. You should also follow their instruction on the whole procedure. And lastly, only use antibiotics under the observation of a trained vet and your beardie will be back in its prime form soon enough.

How To Prevent Mouth Rot in Bearded Dragons?

The best way to prevent mouth rot from occurring is to give your bearded dragon a healthy environment to live in. You should also make sure their diet contains a lot of nutrients. Lack of heat and improper temperature inside the enclosure can also lead to mouth rot.

If the humidity levels are too high or too low may provide a bad environment for bearded dragons to live in. Also, make sure you keep their enclosure clean and remove any uneaten food after the feeding session. 

Bearded dragons have a habit of munching in between feeding sessions and will try to eat the bacteria-infested food if you do not clean it. You should also provide your beardie with clean drinking water and always change the water after feeding sessions.

Invest in good quality food and keep a well-balanced diet for your beardie. If your bearded dragon is going through stress you should try and give it some space and identify what is causing them discomfort. Stress can weaken the immune system of your pet, which can eventually lead to mouth rot.

As a pet owner, you should always keep an eye out for any behavior changes to point out if there are any health issues with your beardie. If they have stopped eating or drolling, you should find the cause of these problems. And in the end, if your bearded dragon still gets infected with mouth rot, visit a vet immediately.

When Should You Visit a Vet?

The best time to visit a vet is when you notice any sign of mouth rot in your bearded dragon. If you ignore the symptoms and procrastinate on going to the vet, the infection might spread and lead to a fatal health issue.

Vets can physically examine your bearded dragon and give you the best course of treatment to get rid of any infection. They are also able to prescribe them antibiotics which will fasten the healing process and kill the harmful bacteria within a few days.

In the case of mouth rot, time is of the essence, and you should consider calling a professional. Vets will help you minimize the damage and bring your bearded dragon back to its healthy stage. They will also advise you on how to prevent this from occurring in the future.


What causes mouth rot in bearded dragons?

Mouth rot is caused by bacteria build-up inside the mouth. Harmful bacteria will enter your pet’s body through an injury or an unclean environment. Stress is another cause of mouth rot in bearded dragons as it weakens their immunity.

How to know if my bearded dragon has mouth rot?

Signs of mouth rot include a sudden loss of appetite, drooling, discharge from the gums, and swelling. All these signs are quite noticeable, and you should consider meeting a vet as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts

Mouth rots can be quite painful for your bearded dragons and need to be dealt with immediately. There is nothing to be scared of as long as you are providing your pet with the right care and treatment.

Just look out for the common signs and consult with a vet as soon as possible. Also, provide your bearded dragon with a well-balanced diet and a clean environment to prevent this from ever occurring again.

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