The Source of Oral Fungal Infections

dentist speaking with a patient in chair

Your immune system is constantly fighting off invaders that can make you sick. While bacteria and viruses might first come to mind, fungi are also common culprits and can make their home inside your mouth when proper oral hygiene is neglected. Fortunately, the team at Rutgers Health University Dental Associates can treat oral fungal infections and prevent further complications. Learn more about fungal infections, their symptoms, and how to treat them with help from our dentists.

Oral Thrush

One of the more common types of oral fungal infections is thrush, which is the result of a yeast infection caused by a growth of the Candida albicans fungus inside your mouth. This condition usually impacts people with weakened immune systems, namely children and the elderly, but can affect anyone. Symptoms of thrush include:

  • Creamy white deposits on the surface of your tongue
  • White or yellow lesions on your tongue, gums, inner cheeks, or lips
  • A cottony feeling in your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Burning or soreness in your mouth

Oral thrush is contagious and can be passed to other people through bodily contact. Transmission may cause yeast infections on other parts of the body, not just the mouth. To treat this condition, your dentist will prescribe an antifungal medication that should resolve the infection in a matter of weeks. To help prevent thrush at home, rinse your mouth with saltwater, water and lemon juice, or water and baking soda on a regular basis.

Median Rhomboid Glossitis

This rare condition is caused by a chronic fungal infection as well. Median rhomboid glossitis is characterized by a smooth, discolored red patch on the tongue. As the name suggests, this patch usually appears in the middle of the tongue with the shape of a rhomboid, occurring when the filiform papillae that cover the surface of your tongue deteriorates. Cases of this oral fungal infection are usually spotted at the dentist when the distinct shape and color of the patch is noticed. Symptoms are usually mild but may include some burning while eating certain foods. Accordingly, treatment is usually not necessary, but antifungal medication may be prescribed to kill the yeast that causes the infection.

Angular Cheilitis

Angular cheilitis originates from several causes, but the main culprit is the development of a yeast infection due to built-up saliva in the corners of your mouth. This can lead to swollen red patches that become itchy and blistered. Angular cheilitis is more likely to affect people who have an upper lip overhang that creates deep angles at the corners of the lips, those with sensitive skin, and people who regularly experience oral thrush. If a yeast infection is the cause of your case, then you may be prescribed antifungal medication, as well as topical steroid ointments or topical antiseptics. Regular use of lip balm can help keep the lips moisturized and prevent angular cheilitis.

Specialized Care

Oral fungal infections can affect your mouth without you being aware, which makes regular checkups with your dentist important. If you’ve noticed the symptoms of any of the conditions above or have concerns about oral fungal infections, schedule an appointment with Rutgers Health University Dental Associates today. Our expert team will assess your symptoms and provide the oral pathology services needed to restore good health.