Oral Thrush Causes, Signs, Symptoms And Dangers

What is oral thrush? Thrush is a fairly common infection of the mouth due to a yeast infection. Typically the infection lasts for about two weeks and appears as a white velvety patch or sometimes red, raw skin.


What causes oral thrush and yeast infections? Thrush is due to an imbalance in the natural oral flora in the mouth.

Certain people are more likely to develop thrush than others. Common risk groups include:

  • Infants

  • Elderly

  • Denture wearers

  • Immunocompromised (diabetes, HIV/AIDS)

  • Poor oral hygiene

  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)

  • Use of steroid, antibiotic or asthma medication

  • Chemotherapy

People with suppressed immune systems are more likely to develop infections like oral thrush. Diabetics may have a difficult time managing the infection due to elevated blood sugar levels. Because yeast feeds off of sugar, imbalances in diabetics may make the infection worsen. Typically most of the above listed factors are the primary causes for oral thrush.

Signs And Symptoms

Oral thrush symptoms may appear as:

  • White velvety patches in the mouth

  • Red, raw tissues

  • Sores in the corners of the mouth where upper and lower lips meet

  • Sores on the central, back portion of the tongue

Most yeast infections are not painful, but they may be uncomfortable in some people depending on the severity.

Dangers And Health Risks

It is very rare for oral thrush infections to cause severe adverse reactions although it is worth mentioning that severe infections that are uncontrolled may possibly place other parts of the body at risk due to spread of infection through the touch or cardiovascular system. Examples of increased secondary infection sites are the eyes, esophagus, heart and brain.

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