Oral Candidiasis

Girl cleaning teeth

What is it?

Keeping your mouth clean and healthy is important for your all overall health. Oral Candidiasis can threaten the health of your mouth with an excess amount of yeast, creating a fungal infection. There are many different types of Oral Candidiasis, but many do not show symptoms except for lesions. Make sure to take good care of your oral hygiene, including routine dental examinations.

Causes

The cause for Oral Candidiasis is a fungal infection from overproduction of yeast, which invades the cells. Most people have these cells in their mouths at any given time, but an overproduction of them can cause an overproduction of bacteria.

Most people get rid of the excess bacteria by practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. The mouth is also set up to naturally get rid of this bacteria using saliva, the tongue and the oral epithelium. If any of these mechanisms are not working correctly you may be predisposed to developing the infection. Other factors that may increase a persons likelihood of developing Oral Candidiasis including being a newborn, taking antibiotics, smoking, poor diet, wearing dentures, going through cancer treatments, elderly or having a compromised immune system due to an infection such as AIDS. A healthy diet is a way to help prevent Oral Candidiasis.

Portrait of a young woman gargling

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of Oral Candidiasis can mirror those of other oral conditions so it is best to see a dentist or Doctor for an exact diagnosis so that you can receive the right treatment. Since there are many different types of Oral Candidiasis there are also many different symptoms. Many people do not have any symptoms, except for lesions found within the mouth. These lesions are painless, and may go undetected. This infection is often confused with burning mouth syndrome because it creates a burning sensation in the mouth. It may even feel as though you have a scolding sensation in your mouth, as though you just drank something that was too hot. Another symptom is an unpleasant taste in the mouth, similar to salt, metal or acids. There are other less common symptoms including having difficulty swallowing, feeling like the throat is closing up and a rough voice.

Diagnosis

Although it may be tempting to diagnose yourself using the internet, it is best to see a Doctor or Dentist so that you can present your symptoms. The medical professional can often diagnose solely through clinical appearance. The Doctor will often take a oral smear or swab to find the bacteria. If the Doctor is looking for the cause of Oral Candiasis in an otherwise healthy individual they may run more tests, such as blood-work to find out any underlying cause.

Kind dentist

Treatment

To treat Oral Candidiasis you will need to take topical anti-fungal drugs. Common medications administered to those with Oral Candiasis include nystatin and Gentian voilet. If the person has recurrent Candidiasis different drugs may be administered, as the infection may have become resistant to them. If the patient is undergoing cancer treatments such as radiation, or has HIV/AIDS which has made them immunocompromised, they may require additional treatment or to take oral and intravenous anti-fungal medications. The very best way to treat this infection is to practice good oral hygiene including brushing the teeth, flossing and using a oral rinse that can kill the bacteria.