Support DermNet NZ

There are several options for donations—which are gratefully received. Your gift will be spent on expanding and improving DermNet New Zealand's content and design.

Donate Now

Oral candidiasis

What is 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.

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

Making a donation

Donate Today!