The aim of this study was to evaluate NF-kB during 5-fluorouracil (FU)-induced oral mucositis and ascertain whether photobiomodulation (PBM), as a preventive and/or therapeutic modality, influences this transcription factor. Ninety-six male golden Syrian hamsters were allocated into four groups: control (no treatment); PBM therapeutic, PBM preventive, and PBM combined. Animals received an injection of 5-FU on days 0 and 2. On days 3 and 4, the buccal mucosa was scratched. Irradiation was carried out using a 660-nm, 40-mW diode laser at 6 J/cm2 during 6 s/point, 0.24 J/point, for a total dose of 1.44 J/day of application. Animals were euthanized on days 0, 5, 10, and 15 (n=6). Buccal mucosa was removed for protein quantification by Western blot. Clinical analysis revealed that PBM groups exhibited less mucositis than controls on day 10. Control animals exhibited lower levels of NF-kB during mucositis development and healing. The preventive and combined protocols were associated with higher NF-kB levels at day 5; however, the therapeutic group had higher levels at days 10 and 15. These findings suggest that the preventive and/or therapeutic PBM protocols reduced the severity of oral mucositis by activating the NF-kB pathway.