Oral manifestations of COVID-19 disease: A review article

Dermatol Ther. 2021 Jan;34(1):e14578. doi: 10.1111/dth.14578. Epub 2020 Dec 13.


Dysgeusia is the first recognized oral symptom of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In this review article, we described oral lesions of COVID-19 patients. We searched PubMed library and Google Scholar for published literature since December 2019 until September 2020. Finally, we selected 35 articles including case reports, case series and letters to editor. Oral manifestations included ulcer, erosion, bulla, vesicle, pustule, fissured or depapillated tongue, macule, papule, plaque, pigmentation, halitosis, whitish areas, hemorrhagic crust, necrosis, petechiae, swelling, erythema, and spontaneous bleeding. The most common sites of involvement in descending order were tongue (38%), labial mucosa (26%), and palate (22%). Suggested diagnoses of the lesions were aphthous stomatitis, herpetiform lesions, candidiasis, vasculitis, Kawasaki-like, EM-like, mucositis, drug eruption, necrotizing periodontal disease, angina bullosa-like, angular cheilitis, atypical Sweet syndrome, and Melkerson-Rosenthal syndrome. Oral lesions were symptomatic in 68% of the cases. Oral lesions were nearly equal in both genders (49% female and 51% male). Patients with older age and higher severity of COVID-19 disease had more widespread and sever oral lesions. Lack of oral hygiene, opportunistic infections, stress, immunosuppression, vasculitis, and hyper-inflammatory response secondary to COVID-19 are the most important predisposing factors for onset of oral lesions in COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; aphthous; gingivostomatitis; manifestation; oral.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Humans
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2