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Thrush (Oral Candidiasis)

Clinical Overview


Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

A fungal (yeast) infection of the oral cavity due to Candida. It is common in infants, diabetics or those on chemotherapy and is well recognized in patients with AIDS. Oral thrush or candidiasis is caused by a fungus or yeast called Candida. This is the same organism that causes vaginal yeast infections. The infection displays in the form of white curd-like patches on the moist surfaces of the tongue, palate, cheeks, and lips. It often causes discomfort or a burning sensation. Oral candida infections are most often seen in newborns and the elderly, and when observed in a young person, thrush may be an indicator of HIV infection. Thrush or candidiasis can be accompanied by a low-grade fever, general sick feeling, fussiness and loss of appetite. This treatable disease often occurs during or after a course of antibiotics because of reduced oral bacteria that normally keep the level of candida fungi in check. Irritation from dental prostheses can also promote oral thrush, as can various disease including diabetes, mononucleosis, cancer, HIV, and other immune deficiency problems.

Last updated: May-03-07

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