What Are the Common Causes of Pus in the Mouth?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2019
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Pus in the mouth is often an uncomfortable and disgusting sign of infection. Dental abscesses and throat infections are common causes of pus. Advanced gum disease can also result in pus pockets forming in the gums. Canker sores can also become infected and pus may drain from these lesions. Some piercings, particularly tongue piercings, may also leak a clear or white pus-like fluid, and they can become infected as well.

Dental abscesses, which are often very painful, are one of the most common causes of pus in the mouth. These can occur when the nerves of a tooth become infected, either due to decay or injury. Pus can then become trapped in infected area.

It is generally recommended to seek medical attention to deal with a tooth abscess. A dentist or other medical professional will often prescribe an antibiotic, and he may also recommend encouraging the pus to drain. This can usually be accomplished by holding warm salt water in the mouth. If the abscess does not drain on its own, a dentist may drain it manually, either by making an incision in the gum or extracting the tooth.


Some severe throat infections, including strep throat and tonsillitis, can also cause pockets of pus in the mouth, particularly on the back of the throat. These illnesses will also usually be accompanied by other symptoms, including sore throat, fever, and swelling. An antibiotic is often necessary to clear up these infections. In severe chronic cases of tonsillitis, however, a tonsillectomy may also be performed.

Periodontitis is a type of dental disease that occurs when the soft tissues and bones that support the teeth become infected. This will often cause discomfort, receding gums, loose teeth, halitosis, and mouth sores. Pockets of pus around the teeth may also form in the advanced stages of this disease. Dentists will often recommend a good oral hygiene regimen, and possibly an antibiotic, to treat these symptoms.

Canker sores may also be a source of pus in the mouth, particularly if they become infected. These are usually shallow painful lesions on the soft tissues of the mouth. The gums, tongue, and cheek tissues are usually the areas that are affected the most. These sores will usually clear up on their own, but they can become infected, and pus may drain from them.

Tongue piercings may also cause pus in the mouth. Some drainage from a tongue piercing is typically considered normal, and this drainage will usually be clear to white, and it will sometimes crust around the tongue jewelry. An infection in a tongue piercing, however, will sometimes result in greenish colored pus, and it will often be accompanied by pain and swelling. When treating an infected piercing, individuals are usually advised to leave the piercing in place. Removing the piercing could cause the outside hole to close up, trapping the infection inside the tongue.


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Post 3

I used to get pus in my throat and mouth frequently when I had a sinus infection. The infection from my sinuses were draining to the back of my throat. I was very surprised to hear my diagnosis, because I thought that the infection was in my mouth. My doctor said that the sinuses, nose, throat and ears are all connected. So an infection in one can affect the other. Anyway, a course of antibiotics cleared it up.

Post 2

@ddljohn-- You need to see a doctor. Only a doctor can say whether it's normal or not and what's causing it.

Is it pus or just mouth mucus? Mucus is normal but pus is not. Pus develops when there is an infection. White blood cells, bacteria and mucus combine to form pus.

If it's developing in your throat, you might have a throat infection or an infection of your tonsils.

Post 1

I experience pus in the mornings, when I wake up. It's not foul smelling or odd colored though. It just builds up in my throat during the night. This is normal right?

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