Oral candidiasis, also known as thrush, is a type of fungal infection that occurs in the mouth. It is caused by the overgrowth of a yeast called Candida, which normally lives in the mouth in small amounts.
Oral candidiasis can affect anyone, but it is more common in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or who are undergoing cancer treatment. It can also occur in people who use corticosteroid inhalers for asthma or have diabetes.
The symptoms of oral candidiasis include white patches or plaques on the tongue, inner cheeks, gums, tonsils, or back of the throat, as well as redness, soreness, and difficulty swallowing. In severe cases, the infection can spread to the esophagus, causing pain and difficulty swallowing.
Treatment for oral candidiasis typically involves antifungal medications, such as nystatin or fluconazole, which are available in the form of oral rinses, lozenges, or tablets. In addition to medication, good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing regularly, can also help prevent oral candidiasis from occurring or recurring. It is also important to identify and address any underlying health conditions that may be contributing to the infection.