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What causes thrush (oral candidiasis)?

Thrush is caused by a yeast infection. Yeast is a form of fungus that lives throughout the environment, and in your body. Your mouth naturally contains a small amount of yeast called Candida. Normally, your immune system keeps Candida under control. However, if your immune system has been weakened for any reason (such as taking certain medications or simply being in poor health), Candida may flourish and cause the symptoms of thrush, which include white sores in the mouth and on the tongue. These sores may bleed.
Oral thrush is primarily a fungal infection caused by a strain of yeast called Candida Albicans. In a healthy person, this yeast is present in only tiny amounts. Many different factors can contribute to an overgrowth of Candida resulting in a case of thrush. These factors include dry mouth, poor oral home care, or using an oral appliance (like a denture or a retainer) that hasn't been kept clean. Taking antibiotics will wipe out bacteria in the mouth, allowing Candida to proliferate. Anything that decreases your immune system increases your risk of oral thrush. This includes medications like corticosteroids, chronic illnesses like diabetes, stress, certain anemias, radiation, and chemotherapy. Infants, with their developing immune systems, are prone to oral thrush. Also, individuals with HIV are at high risk for developing oral thrush.

Continue Learning about Oral Thrush

How do medications treat oral thrush?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Antifungal medications treat oral thrush by killing the fungus responsible for the condition: candid...
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How do other illnesses affect oral thrush?
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Other illnesses, particularly those that make your immune system weak, can make it more likely that ...
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Should I be worried about oral thrush?
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Oral thrush is not usually serious. If left untreated, however, oral thrush can spread into the esop...
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How common is oral thrush?
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.