Thrush (Oral Candidiasis)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Quick GuideDental Health: Top Problems in Your Mouth

Dental Health: Top Problems in Your Mouth

What are thrush symptoms and signs?

Thrush is characterized by a white coating or white patches on the tongue, mouth, inner cheeks, and the back of the throat. The tissue under the white patches is often red, raw, and sore. The lesions can be painful and even bleed when scraped. Oral thrush often looks like cottage cheese or milk curds. Some general symptoms and signs of thrush are as follows:

  • Characteristic white patches
  • Redness under the white patches
  • White tongue
  • Cracking at the outer edges of the lips (cheilosis)
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling of food stuck in the throat
  • Soreness in teeth
  • Strange or unpleasant taste in mouth
  • Bad breath

Oral thrush can also lead to a condition called burning mouth syndrome, which can have symptoms of a painful burning sensation, mouth dryness, soreness, tingling or numbness throughout the mouth and tongue, and sometimes an abnormal bitter or metallic taste in the mouth.

In severe cases of thrush, the esophagus, which leads down to the stomach, may also be involved. This will cause pain with swallowing. If someone has a weakened immune system (HIV/AIDS, cancer, chemotherapy, etc.), the Candida fungus can spread to other parts of the body and cause a systemic infection. If a person has signs or symptoms of thrush and develops a fever, shaking or chills, or difficulty swallowing, contact a doctor immediately. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 3/30/2016
References
REFERENCES:

American Dental Association. "Burning Mouth Syndrome." JADA 136 August 2005: 1191. <http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/patient_53.pdf?la=en>.

Kumar, Mudra. "Thrush." Medscape.com. June 17, 2015. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/969147-overview>.

Newman, Jack. "Grapefruit Seed Extract for Treatment of Thrush." Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation. Jan. 2005. <http://www.canadianbreastfeedingfoundation.org/basics/grapefruit_seed.shtml>.

Pammi, Mohan. "Treatment of Candida Infection in Neonates." UpToDate.com. February 2016. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-candida-infection-in-neonates?source=search_result&search=thrush+newborn&selectedTitle=1~150>.

Tonn, Elverne M., ed. "Dental Health and Thrush." WebMD.com. May 8, 2012. <http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-thrush>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Oral Candidiasis." Mar. 25, 2013. <http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candidiasis/thrush/>.

IMAGES:

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2. Watney Collection/Phototake, Color Atlas & Synopsis of Pediatric Dermatology Kay Shou-Mei Kane, Peter A. Lio, Alexander J. Stratigos, Richard Allen Johnson Copyright 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.

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4. Bigstock, iStock

5. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology”; Klaus Wolff, Richard Allen Johnson, Dick Suurmond; Copyright 2009 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights reserved, James Heilman, MD, CDC - Sol Silverman, Jr., D.D.S.

6. iStock

7. iStock

8. Bigstock, iStock

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10. iStock

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