What is Oral Thrush?

What is Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a common yeast infection that grows inside of the mouth and on the tongue. It is caused by the Candida albicans fungus.


What are the symptoms of oral thrush?

Initially, oral thrush may be asymptomatic. However, as time passes and the fungus continues to grow, the following symptoms may manifest:

  • bleeding when bumps on the tongue are scraped
  • dry, cracked skin at the corners of the mouth
  • difficulty swallowing
  • white bumps on the tongue, inner cheeks, gums, or tonsils


What causes thrush?

  • Thrush may occur when the immune system is weakened.
  • Some medications can inhibit good microorganisms that naturally prevent infection.
  • Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, can make you susceptible to oral thrush.
  • Compromised immune systems which can occur with HIV, AIDS, and leukemia increase susceptibility to oral thrush.
  • Diabetes can contribute to oral thrush.


How is oral thrush treated?

  • Oral antifungal medication
  • Antifungal mouthwash


At-home treatments for oral thrush may include:

  • Rinsing with salt water
  • Maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels
  • Eating unsweetened yogurt to restore and maintain healthy levels of good bacteria
  • Brushing with a soft toothbrush and replacing the toothbrush daily until the infection resolves.

Oral thrush can usually be treated successfully within two or three weeks. Maintaining a healthy immune system can help prevent thrush from returning.


Dr. Keith Phillips has over 25 years of experience practicing family dentistry, prosthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. He and the staff of Distinctive Dentistry are proficient at treating any aspect of your oral health. We pay attention to detail.

Distinctive Dentistry is located in Tacoma, WA serving patients in the greater Tacoma area including Gig Harbor, Puyallup, and Federal Way.

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5615 Valley Ave. E., Tacoma, WA 98424


(253) 922-6822


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7am - 4pm

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