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Oral thrush

Oral thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by a yeast fungus known as candida. More than half of the population will have candida present in their mouth, without experiencing any ill effects.

Candida can cause problems when there is a change in the chemicals inside the mouth, which wipes out the good bacteria and allows the yeast fungus to grow and develop.

Oral thrush is common in people:

  • with diabetes
  • with chronic medical conditions like cancer or untreated HIV
  • taking antibiotics (especially for long periods of time)
  • who abuse drugs
  • who eat a poor diet (malnutrition)
  • who wear dentures (especially if they do not fit well).

Oral thrush treatment

You may require an antifungal medication or lozenge to clear the infection. You can speak to your pharmacist about the best treatment.

Speak to your doctor if the thrush is severe or comes back after treatment.

Looking after your mouth

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to reduce the build-up of bacteria in your mouth.
  • Use a soft toothbrush if your mouth is painful.
  • If you wear dentures, ensure they are cleaned properly and that the skin under the dentures is also clean. Rinse your mouth out after every meal.
  • Drink water unless you have an existing medical condition which means this is not possible.
  • Smoking can also make symptoms worse. If you smoke, try to cut down or quit smoking.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your oral thrush, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: August 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

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Oral Thrush (Monoliasis, Oral Candidiasis, OC) | myVMC

Oral thrush (candidiasis) is a yeast infection that occurs in the mouth. It is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. Anti-fungals are used in treatment.

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Oral thrush or moniliasis in children | Raising Children Network

Oral thrush is a fungal infection in and around babies mouths. Its common and isnt usually anything to worry about. Read about oral thrush treatment.

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Oral thrush in babies

Trusted information on oral thrush in babies including what it is, who is affected, treatment, prevention, plus links to trusted resources.

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Breast and Nipple Thrush (BNT; Breast and Nipple Candidiasis; Mammary Candidiasis) | myVMC

Breast and nipple thrush (BNT) is a yeast infection of the nipple and breast caused by a fungal organism known asCandida albicans, a common cause of all thrush infections

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Vaginal thrush during pregnancy

Trusted information on vaginal thrush during pregnancy including what it is, treatment, prevention, plus links to trusted resources.

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