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Oral thrush

Oral thrush: Introduction

Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth that is caused by a fungal microorganism called Candida albicans. Oral thrust is most common in infants and is generally not a serious condition in itself. However, it can be uncomfortable and lead to difficulties with eating or infant feeding if it does not resolve or is not treated. It can also be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes.

The fungal yeast that causes oral thrush, Candida albicans, normally lives in the mouth in a certain balance with other microorganisms, such as bacteria. However, some factors or conditions may result in an overgrowth of Candida albicans. Candida albicans can also cause a yeast or thrush infection in the vagina, resulting in the exposure of an infant to the infection during the vaginal birthing process. It can also cause an infection in a woman's nipples, which can then be transmitted to an infant's mouth during breastfeeding.

People at risk for oral thrush include those taking strong antibiotics, especially for a long period of time. Antibiotics kill bacteria, which can alter the balance of microorganisms in the mouth and result in a proliferation of yeast.

People with weakened immune systems are also more likely to develop oral thrush and have recurrent bouts of the infection. This includes people with HIV/AIDS or those taking steroid medications or on chemotherapy, which all suppress the immune system. People with diabetes are more likely to develop oral thrush because the elevated level of sugar in the body provide food for yeast and encourage its overgrowth. Other people at risk include the very young and very old and people with ill-fitting dentures.

Oral thrush causes a rash in the mouth which can become sore and painful and cause further problems. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of oral thrush.

Making a diagnosis of oral thrush includes performing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination, including an oral exam. Diagnosis is generally made based on the typical appearance of the oral thrush sores and a history of factors that make the infection likely. Diagnostic testing may include taking a small sample or swab of the rash and examining it under a microscope to confirm an overgrowth of the yeast, Candida albicans, which causes the infection.

It is possible that a diagnosis of oral thrush can be missed or delayed because symptoms may be mild. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of oral thrush.

Oral thrush can be successfully treated with an individualized treatment plan that best fits the patient's age, medical history, and addresses underlying risk factors, such as diabetes. Treatment may include improving oral hygiene, eating certain foods, and medication. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of oral thrush. ...more »

Oral thrush: Thrush refers to candida infection of the mouth and oral areas. The term "thrush" is sometimes also used incorrectly to describe a Candida infection of the genital area; see vaginal candiasis or penile candidiasis. Thrush is common in infants, and can arise particularly after a course of antibiotics. Otherwise, oral thrush usually affects only the ill, particularly those with a weakened immune system. ...more »

Oral thrush: Symptoms

The classic symptom of oral thrush is the development of yellow-white patchy lesions in the mouth and on the tongue. The sores are raised and may also appear in the throat as well. The patches may become sore and raw, and it may become painful and difficult to swallow.

Oral thrush that occurs in newborns may go away without treatment within a couple of weeks. ...more symptoms »

Oral thrush: Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for oral thrush uses a multifaceted approach. The first step in treatment is prevention. Prevention measures include maintaining good oral hygiene and ensuring dentures fit properly.

To prevent transmission of a yeast infection to a newborn infant, pregnant women should consult with their licensed health care provider if they have symptoms of a ...more treatments »

Oral thrush: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of oral thrush begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam that includes an oral exam. A diagnosis of oral thrush may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms may be mild in some people or may be attributed to other causes, such as canker sores, cold sores, burning the tongue with hot foods or eating spicy ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Oral thrush

Treatments for Oral thrush

  • Watchful waiting - some cases are mild and self-limiting and may require no treatment; check with your doctor.
  • Natural yoghurt - to rebalance levels of "good" bacteria.
  • Acidophilus - to increase "good" bacterial levels.
  • Warm salt-water mouth rinses - mainly to ease discomfort.
  • Antifungal treatments
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Oral thrush:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Oral thrush?

Oral thrush: Related Patient Stories

Types of Oral thrush

  • Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis (type of Candidiasis) - severe form common in the immunosuppressed.
  • Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (type of Candidiasis)
  • Chronic hyperplastic candidiasis
  • more types...»

Diagnostic Tests for Oral thrush

Test for Oral thrush in your own home

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Oral thrush: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Oral thrush:

  • Difficulty feeding
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Esophagus candidiasis (type of Candidiasis)
  • Throat thrush symptoms
  • Spread of thrush to other areas
  • Spread of thrush from infant's mouth to nursing mother's nipples/breasts
  • Gastrointestinal thrush
  • more complications...»

Causes of Oral thrush

More information about causes of Oral thrush:

Disease Topics Related To Oral thrush

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Oral thrush:

Oral thrush: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Oral thrush

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be an inflammation of more »

Oral thrush: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Oral thrush

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Oral thrush:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Oral thrush, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Oral thrush: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Oral thrush

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Oral thrush

Medical research articles related to Oral thrush include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Prognosis for Oral thrush

Prognosis for Oral thrush: Rarely harmful and often self-limiting.

Research about Oral thrush

Visit our research pages for current research about Oral thrush treatments.

Clinical Trials for Oral thrush

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Oral thrush include:

Prevention of Oral thrush

Prevention information for Oral thrush has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Oral thrush.

Oral thrush: Broader Related Topics

Oral thrush Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

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Article Excerpts about Oral thrush

Candidiasis of the mouth and throat, also known as a "thrush" or oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), is a fungal infection that occurs when there is overgrowth of fungus called Candida. Candida is normally found on skin or mucous membranes. However, if the environment inside the mouth or throat becomes imbalanced, Candida can multiply. When this happens, symptoms of thrush appear. (Source: excerpt from Oropharyngeal Candidiasis: DBMD)

Definitions of Oral thrush:

Infection of the mucous membranes of the mouth by a fungus of the genus CANDIDA. (Dorland, 27th ed) - (Source - Diseases Database)


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