The cause of oral candidiasis is a fungus, candida albicans; it is one of the many microorganisms that are usually present in the mouth, but in a small number. If your natural body resistance is weakened due to illness, or if the treatment with antibiotics disrupted the natural balance of microorganisms in the mouth, the fungi can multiply uncontrollably. This will cause wounds in the mouth, and sometimes in the throat. These places are yellowish – white and somewhat elevated. If you take them away by rubbing, e.g. when eating or cleaning your teeth, you will be left with a painful, wound spot. The fungi can also contribute to denture problems.
Most people sooner or later get candidiasis, but it is more common among very small children and the elderly. In women, the same fungus can cause vaginal yeast infection. If you have any of the symptoms described, go to your doctor as soon as possible.
The doctor will examine you, possibly take the swab off for laboratory testing, and may even send you to your blood test to exclude the possibility of a serious underlying condition. In the meantime, you will take antifungal pastilles, which you will take up to ten days. The disease itself is not serious and can be solved very quickly, although it can come back.
If you are a man, you must be careful not to transfer the fungus to your partner’s vagina.
Leukoplakia is thickening and swelling of the soft, sensitive lining of the mouth or tongue. Sometimes this is the way a body seeks to protect the area that has become painful due to constant rubbing of rough tooth or denture, and sometimes a protective reaction to the hot, inhaled tobacco smoke (in this case called smoker’s keratosis). However, in most cases, there is no apparent cause.
Symptoms of oral candidiasis
Over a couple of weeks, the white or gray blur of the mucosa develops on larger or smaller surfaces. At first there is no discomfort, but the affected area may become rough and stiff as well as sensitive to hot or spicy food.
It can occur in people of all ages, although it is most common in older people.
If you think you have a leukoplakia, contact your dentist or doctor.
Treatment of oral candidiasis
The treatment consists in removing the source of irritation that has caused the development of leukoplakia. This means that the rough tooth or denture needs to be polished. If you have smoker’s keratosis, your doctor will advise you to stop smoking. In many cases, nothing more is needed.
If the problem is not resolved within three weeks, the doctor may cut off a bite of the affected tissue (biopsy) and send it to the lab for a search, as in 3% of cases such mucosal changes are signs of a mouth tumor.