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    Oral Thrush

    What is Oral Thrush?

    Oral candidiasis or thrush is an infection of the oral cavity by Candida albicans. The infection occurs secondary to immunosuppression where the immunity may be decreased orally or in general. In a healthy person, the immune system and normal flora of bacteria inhibits the growth of candida. However, immunosuppression in such persons due to any systemic illness may favour the growth of candida and cause oral thrush.

    The infection is more common in immunocompromised hosts and has an equal preponderance in both men and women.


    Oral candidiasis is caused by the Candida species, most commonly Candida albicans. It can also result from Candida glabrata, Candida tropicalis, and Candida krusei.

    Sign and symptoms

    Patients usually present with the complaint of patchy white lesions on the tongue and/or buccal mucosa. The clinical signs are as follows-

    • Painless white pseudomembranous plaques which are difficult to remove and bleed when scraped off
    • Location: oral mucosa, tongue, and both hard and soft palates
    • Loss of taste
    • Angular cheilitis (cracking of the skin at the corner of the patient's mouth


    The diagnosis of oral candidiasis is clinical based on the cause and the appearance. Locally, the appearance of inflamed, erythematous and bleeding base after scraping off the plaques confirms the suspicion. Plaques can also be sent for culture which shows pseudohyphae with a potassium hydroxide stain. Any underlying condition like diabetes, steroid use must be checked for.

    General management

    The underlying cause of the immunosuppressed state must be treated with suitable medications with maintenance of the oral hygiene.

    Warning: Above information provided is an overview of the disease, we strongly recommend a doctor's consultation to prevent further advancement of disease and/or development of complications.

    Disclaimer: The information provided herein on request, is not to be taken as a replacement for medical advice or diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DO NOT SELF MEDICATE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND PRESCRIPTION.

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