Bearded Dragon Mouth Rot: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Bearded dragon mouth is a common disease among bearded dragons but many bearded dragon owners don’t know about it.

The good news is this bacterial infection is curable. For that, you should know the symptoms so that you can act quickly.

This article will guide you to mark the moth rot or infectious stomatitis through symptoms, recognize its causes, how to treat it, and how to prevent it. So, what is bearded dragon moth rot?

Mouth rot is a common disease, that often occurs in reptiles, especially in bearded dragons. Bearded dragons have a special tooth structure called acrodont dentition, in it, teeth fuse to jaws and have very thin gum-line. This fragile structure can easily get infected and results in mouth rot in bearded dragons.

Mouth rot, also known as infectious stomatitis or periodontal disease, is a common bearded dragon bacterial infection that can cause swelling, discharge, irritation, and more.

Bearded dragon has several types of bacteria in their mouths and moth rot occurs when these bacteria proliferate and enter the bearded dragon’s system through physical injury.

Mouth rot can occur at any age in bearded dragons.

It is usually not a medical emergency, and irritation starts mild. But it can worsen the longer you ignore it. Your bearded dragon is a strong reptile but mouth rot has the potential to lead to many other health problems which can even cause the death of your bearded dragon. That is the reason you need to act quickly.

At the beginning of mouth rot, bearded dragons feel mild irritation, but it’s only the beginning of many potential health problems caused by this bacterial infection. Mouth rot can be deadly for your bearded dragon.

Mouth rot usually starts with inflammation of tissues due to bacterial infection, but it can quickly spread to the tongue, teeth, and jaw. As it spreads, your dragon will suffer from dental decay and losing teeth. Bacteria can also spread to the entire jaw, head, and body. Mouth rot in bearded dragons doesn’t stop there, it can also affect many biological processes and can cause organ failure, intestinal damage, and more. It can even spread to the bloodstreams of your beloved bearded dragon, failing many bodily functions.

Mouth rot can be fatal, and spreads quickly. Ignoring the early stages will only increase the pain and suffering for your bearded dragon.

Mouth rot in bearded dragons can occur due to many reasons. The common causes are as follows:

Aeromonas, a “gram-negative” bacteria, is the root cause behind bearded dragon mouth rot.

Bearded dragons are inhabitants of the Australian desert. They need a replica of the desert in their tank. A proper tank setup along with good heating, lighting, and humidity setup is very important for them. Suppose bearded dragons are not getting proper heat, UVB light, and proper humidity levels in their tank. In that case, they will face many health issues including stress, mouth rot, weaker bones, digestive issues, metabolic bone disease, etc.

So, for the overall well-being of bearded dragons and to avoid many health issues including mouth rot, a good tank setup is necessary for bearded dragons.

The second most common cause of bearded dragon mouth rot is an unhygienic environment. In captivity, bearded dragons live in confined spaces where bacteria can flourish. If you don’t clean the tank regularly, it is only a matter of time before bacteria conceal in the complete tank and the health of your dragon starts to decline.

To ensure the better health of your bearded dragon, clean the tank regularly, i.e. weekly and whenever they poop. This will restrict the spread of bacteria in the tank.

Sometimes mouth rot is the secondary infection while your bearded dragon is fighting another disease or health issue. While fighting another disease, the immune system of bearded dragons weakened and it doesn’t have strength left to fight the in-the-mouth bacteria. With time, these bacteria will multiply and eventually cause the infection or mouth rot.

To keep your bearded dragon healthy with a strong immune system, you need to give them a well-balanced diet along with calcium supplements. The diet is not the only factor, you also need the environment to extract all the nutrients from this diet, and for that purpose, a good tank setup with proper heating, lighting, and humidity setup is necessary.

Bearded dragons can have mouth rot due to some physical injury or minor cuts in the mouth. Bacteria exist everywhere, in the environment and the mouth of every living thing including the bearded dragons. When your bearded dragon gets any type of small cut in the mouth, these bacteria can enter the body and can cause many problems including mouth rot.

How bearded dragons get mouth injuries? Bearded dragon’s mouth tissues are delicate and it can experience injuries in several ways. Like, their mouth can get injured while eating some tough exoskeleton or substrate or seeds, etc.

The humidity level in the bearded dragon tank is very important. The recommended humidity level in your bearded dragon tank is 30-60%. If your bearded dragon’s tank has a humidity level of more them 60%, it can cause many health issues including dental diseases and mouth rot.

In high humidity, the substrate stays wet, which increases the bacteria production in the tank which will lead to health issues.

Lack of water is another secondary issue that can cause moth rot in bearded dragons. You see, if bearded dragons will drink less water, their mouth will be cleaned less, and more bacteria can flourish in them.

Similarly, less water can cause dehydration and weaken the immune system which will also result the mouth rot in bearded dragons.

The good news is, that you can easily spot mouth rot in bearded dragons in the early stages and cure it.

The common symptoms of bearded dragon mouth rot are as follows:

Among many diseases, appetite loss is also a symptom of bearded dragon mouth rot. Mouth rot in bearded dragons is quite painful and it is very difficult for a bearded dragon to eat anything while he is suffering from mouth rot. In the early stages, you will observe that your bearded dragon will become picky about food and with time, they will lose their appetite.

To help your bearded dragon fight the mouth rot, you can give them a soft diet that is easily chewable so that their immune system doesn’t degrade and they get the energy to fight the disease.

Like appetite loss, the bearded dragon also feels pain in drinking water while suffering from mouth rot. To save the bearded dragons from dehydration, you need to keep the freshwater dish in the tank. Also, provide them with indirect water in the form of a water-rich and soft diet.

It is obvious that if your bearded dragon is losing its appetite and also not drinking water, he’ll lose weight. This happens in the later stages of mouth rot. This can be avoided if proper care and medical attention are given to them in time.

There are many visible changes that you can easily notice and indicate mouth rot in bearded dragons:

  • Red and inflamed gums
  • Swelling in Jaws
  • Bleeding gums
  • Peeling skin inside the mouth
  • Abnormal lip line
  • Inability to close the mouth
  • Increased mucous from the mouth
  • Yellow pus coming from the inside mouth
  • Patches of yellow on the inside of the mouth
  • Teeth breaking
  • Swollen Head

During mouth rot, discharge from pus-filled pustules occurs. This discharge is a mixture of cells, and bacteria which further mix with saliva, making a foul-smelling, dangerous cocktail in the bearded dragon’s mouth.

Bearded dragons can also experience the discharge from nostrils and eyes as the infection progresses. Skin peeling and discharge from eyes and nostrils are some of the early symptoms of mouth rot.

Bearded dragons typically keep their mouth dry. They are not known for drooling. You can only see their saliva while they are eating their food.

But when the mouth rot occurs, excessive drooling also starts. The reason is the discharge, saliva, and the fact that they can’t completely close their mouth.

A physical exam is necessary in the early stages of mouth rot. The vet will determine if your bearded dragon is suffering from mouth rot or not. If yes, he’ll start further examination through different tests and methods.

If the vet determines that your bearded dragon is suffering from mouth rot, he’ll do an X-ray to see if the bones of the jaws are affected or not. If yes, additional treatment will be necessary.

This helps the vet to determine what is happening in mouth rot. This gives info at a microscopic level and aids in identifying the infection.

This is one of the important tests as it tells the culture of bacterial and fungal organisms. Identifying the culture or type will lead the vet to cure the disease in a better way.

To check the severity of mouth rot at the microscopic level, a biopsy is very important. It also helps in identifying the microorganisms that are contributing to the mouth rot.

Identifying the real cause of mouth at a microscopic level is very important as the medication will be based on it. A successful identification of microorganisms leads to more effective medication.

Mouth rot is a dangerous disease if left untreated. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat it. You need to adopt the way according to the severity of mouth rot and the recommendation of the vet.

Some of the things that you can do to treat mouth rot in bearded dragons are as follows:

Keeping the tank clean is one of the most important things you do to help your bearded dragon fight mouth rot. Cleanliness can make a big difference. You need to take steps to clean your bearded dragon as well as its environment or tank.

The bacterial infection can spread from one dragon to another. Quarantine is helpful if you are keeping more than one bearded dragon in a single tank. Although bearded dragon shows aggressive behavior while sharing the tank, still some dragon keepers share the tank.

Consider some antiseptic solutions for your bearded dragon, like povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine diacetate. These antiseptic solutions are available at pet stores or pharmacies and will help to control the damage.

With these antiseptic solutions, you need to clean the area around the infection, clean the infected mouth, and remove all the discharge. Also, read the instructions on the bottle, sometimes you need to dilute the solution before applying it to bearded dragon mouth rot.

Providing antibiotics is the best way to treat and cure the mouth rot in bearded dragons. Antibiotics help in killing the bacteria that cause mouth rot and stop the infection spread.

Always use the antibiotics that the vet recommends after a thorough examination of the infected bearded dragon.

If the infection is pretty bad, your vet may need to do surgery to remove all the sections of flesh and teeth that are infected severely. This is the worst-case scenario.

In the recovery stage, you need to feed your pet dragon a liquid-based diet only.

You can easily prevent your bearded dragon from mouth rot by taking care of his diet and environmental needs, i.e. temperature, humidity, tank, lighting, etc.

Luckily, all these things are pretty easy to manage. For instance, if you want to take of a bearded dragon’s diet, you need to give him 80% plants and 20% insects (for adult bearded dragon). In plants, you can give him 20% fruits. You also need to give him calcium and vitamin D3 supplements and you need to learn how to give him calcium powder.

If we talk about tanks, there are many things that you can provide, from an excellent tank setup that is according to their natural environment, having appropriate heating, lighting, and humidity levels, having a good substrate, etc. You can also provide them with enriching toys in the tank. Besides toys, there are many enriching activities that you can do with your bearded dragon to keep him exercised and healthy.

All you need to do is provide them with good food and a good tank and they will remain healthy and charming.

The following guidelines will also help you to prevent your bearded dragon from mouth rot in the future:

In the wild, bearded dragons generally live dehydrated and they get all the required water from their food. But in captivity, you need to provide them with clean water for their better health and hydration. You need to place a bowl of water in the tank.

Remember, always change the water daily, especially if it looks dirty.

Dirty water can cause many issues including the mouth rot in bearded dragons. Bearded dragon mouth rot can occur due to dirty water as this water can contain many bacteria and microorganisms that can enter the body of your beloved bearded dragon. This will also affect how much longer your bearded dragon will live. A healthy bearded dragon will live longer than a dragon who is fighting some disease and become weak.

Cleaning the bearded dragon tank also has the same effects on the bearded dragon’s health as that of clean water.

A Bearded Dragon living in a Clean Tank will have better Health.

You need to clean the tank daily, especially when your dragon poop. Besides this, a deep clean is also recommended in which you also change the substrate in the tank. This will ensure that your bearded dragon is living in a healthy environment.

For cleaning the tank, you can spray hot water with a 10% bleach solution. Rinse it down with hot water and let the tank dry in the air. Place back everything carefully. Change the substrate if necessary and Cleaning is Done J

Half of the health of your bearded dragon depends upon a well-balanced diet.

A healthy diet will result in a healthy and robust immune system, which makes your bearded dragon fight all the impending diseases including mouth rot. Bearded dragons eat both plants and insects, they are omnivores. You can feed them crickets, green plants, and fruits as per their diet plan.

A good heating, lighting, and humidity setup is very important for bearded dragons. They need heat and UVB exposure to digest their diet.

If bearded dragons are not getting proper heat and UVB exposure, their diet will be a waste as they will not be able to digest it.

You can read the proper temperature, lighting, and humidity level setup in the following article:

Bearded Dragon Complete Lighting, Heating and Humidity Guide

To ensure a healthy life for a bearded dragon, you need to take him to the vet regularly. This will let you know all the potential diseases and health issues that your dragon can face shortly.

For bearded dragon mouth rot, the ideal time is when you observe the early signs of bacterial infection.

It is best to stop the disease at the start and save your dragon from the worst days. An infection can lead to many other health issues including metabolic bone disease due to a lack of proper diet. To avoid all this, it is necessary to kill the evil in the bud.

Infections can stem from many internal health problems. Furthermore, uncomplicated infections can be tumors or other issues. Vets can examine your little pal, diagnose mouth rot, and determine the best course of action.

Remember that, for fighting diseases and mouth rot, time is of the essence. If you waste it, you will waste your dragon’s life.

Mouth rot in bearded dragons is a common disease that any bearded dragon can face due to any injury in the mouth. All you need to do is to care for and provide a good diet to your bearded dragon.

A Good diet for your bearded dragon is which is balanced, calcium-rich, easy to chew, and easy to digest.

By eating a good diet, and following other tips that are already discussed, you can easily avoid mouth rot.

Even if your bearded dragon is suffering from mouth rot, there is nothing to worry about as this infection is easily curable. Although it is no fun to treat mouth rot, by following proper procedures, tips, and vet advice, it is easily curable. So, good luck with your bearded dragon. I hope your bearded dragon will face this disease and live a healthy life.

If you have any questions, feel free to Contact us.

How do you treat a bearded dragon’s mouth sore?

Mouth sores in bearded dragons should be examined by a vet. You can easily cure the mouth sore by following the vet’s advice. The vet will examine the mouth and determine the cause as well as the severity of the disease.

What mouth problems do bearded dragons have?

Bearded dragons can have many diseases that disturb the mouth, these include:

  • Mouth rot (infectious stomatitis or periodontal disease)
  • Metabolic bone disease
  • Cancer
  • Cephalic aneurysm
  • The skin around the mouth can show signs of yellow fungus disease.

How do you stop mouth rot?

You can prevent mouth rot by:

  • Following a diverse well-balanced, calcium-rich diet.
  • Brush your pet dragon’s teeth by following the instructions of the vet.
  • Providing a good tank setup for your bearded dragon.
  • Providing proper heating, lighting, and humidity levels in the tank.
  • Regularly monitoring the oral cavity.

Why is the inside of my bearded dragon’s mouth yellow?

In some cases, bearded dragons have yellow-pigmented portions on the inside of their mouth, which is normal. In mammals, yellowing of the mouth is usually a symptom of liver disease, but luckily, this is not the case in bearded dragons.

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