DermNet NZ

Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Oral candidiasis

Oral candidiasis is often known as thrush because its white spots resemble the breast of the bird with the same name. Although candida is present in 50% of healthy mouths, it causes infection (candidiasis) when increased numbers of yeast cells invade the mucosa (the name for the moist skin inside body openings).

Predisposing factors for infection

The usual organism is Candida albicans, but C. tropicalis is sometimes responsible.

Oral thrush
Thrush in a baby
Oral candidiasis
Oral candidiasis
Angular cheilitis
Angular cheilitis
Oral candidiasis

More images of oral candidiasis ...

Clinical features

Candida may arise suddenly as an acute infection or persist for long periods as a chronic infection.

Severe infections may extend down the throat (oesophageal infection).

How is the diagnosis of oral candidiasis made?

Microscopy and culture of skin swabs and scrapings aid in the diagnosis of candidal infections. However, candida can live on a mucosal surface quite harmlessly. It may also secondarily infect an underlying disorder.

Related information

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