Who gets oral yeast infections? How to treat them?
Most healthy people’s mouths are colonized with yeast, Candida albicans. When the yeast count is at a routine level, this should have no symptoms.
Who is at risk for symptomatic oral yeast infection?
- People on oral or inhaled steroids *for asthma or sinus issues)
- Malnourished individuals
- Recent antibiotic use
- Denture use
- Immunosuppressed individuals
What does oral candida look like? White plaques (on inside of cheeks, palate or tongue)that can’t be wiped off and are often on the sides of the tongue or white plaques that when wiped off show redness at their base. Patients may have no symptoms, complain of “cotton-mouth” or oral burning, or have a metallic taste in their mouth.
Dentures may be colonized with yeast. Removing the appliance overnight and soaking in 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or 4% chlorhexidine will help decrease colonization. Brushing dentures with toothpaste can cause scratching on the denture surface.
Treatment usually consists of oral antifungal lozenge or tablets for 1-2 weeks. If the white plaque does not resolve with treatment with an antifungal, a biopsy is needed to rule out cancer.