What is Oral Candida?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 December 2018
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Candida is a formal name for fungi commonly known as yeast. Many people mistakenly believe that yeast is only present in females, but it is a natural part of the human digestive system. Oral Candida is a yeast infection that occurs in the mouth or throat. This is typically caused by an imbalance in the oral cavity that creates an environment that encourages the growth of yeast. A person of either sex and of any age can suffer such an infection.

There are several types of oral Candida infections. One of the most common forms is generally characterized by a thick, creamy coating in the mouth. It can be white or yellow and may cover any part of the mouth including the tongue or gums. This coating can usually be wiped or scraped off but doing so may result in bleeding.

When this type of infection occurs in babies, it is typically called thrush. When it occurs in adults, it is generally more accurate to call it moniliasis. Although the term “moniliasis” is hardly ever used to refer to infant infections, some people do refer to adult infections as thrush.

Angular cheilitis is another form of oral Candida. This type of infection causes the corners of the mouth to crack. In some instances, only one side of the mouth is affected. The infected area may be slightly painful and have a reddish or whitish gummy appearance.


Some people who suffer from oral Candida may experience burning or pain. Other symptoms could include fatigue and depression. If the infection occurs in the throat, a person may find it difficult or painful to swallow.

People who wear dentures commonly suffer from oral Candida. These infections can also be caused by antibiotics, medical conditions that have weakened the immune system, or digestive problems. Smoking and oral piercings can also increase a person’s chances of developing a yeast infection in the mouth.

In most cases, treatment tends to be simple and effective. A person may be given an oral solution that is used like mouthwash but swallowed afterward. She may also be given a topical medication that dissolves once placed in the mouth.

If the infection does not improve in two weeks, the attending physician may begin to test for other medical conditions such as HIV or diabetes. When oral Candida is caused by illnesses that attack the immune system, treatment is often more difficult. It is also likely that the infections will recur.



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