Fungi in the mouth: symptoms, causes and treatment

Talking, singing, eating, laughing, kissing … our mouths are one of the most versatile and useful parts of our body, which we use in so many ways to adapt to the environment. It is a very innervated area of ​​the body over which we have a great capacity for control.

And yet, it is also a very delicate part of our body and is often in contact with bacteria and elements both from the inside (such as the intestinal flora) and from the outside. Sometimes we may suffer from some kind of infection or problem, being one of the possible causes of the appearance of fungus in the mouth.

Throughout this article, we’ll look at the main symptoms that alert us to the presence of a possible oral fungal infection, some of its possible causes, and how they can be treated.

    Mushrooms in the mouth: what are they?

    We are talking about fungal infections or fungal infections when we are talking about the existence of a number of symptoms that are derived from the presence of different species of fungi in our body. These infections can occur in any part of the body, such as the skin or the genital tract, and in the case of which we are discussed in this article also in one of the most exposed openings in the body and in contact with the outside elements or with microbes dedicated to food processing: the mouth.

    There are many fungi that can reach our body and many of them have the ability to cause infections. Some of the best known and most common oral fungi are the fungi Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis, which can cause oral thrush. Other examples are Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (found in Latin America and entering the body by inhaling its spores in the breath) or Cryptococcus neoformans.


    Fungal infection of the mouth is usually asymptomatic at firstIn other words, from the start, the affected person may not perceive any kind of alteration or discomfort. However, as these fungi grow and multiply, they can lead to various discomforts and injuries.

    Among these injuries and alterations inflammation and / or bleeding gums and / or pain in the tongue, mouth or throatAppearance of white patches (which are scratched off and leave bleeding lesions) or reddish or bleeding lesions, painful cracks and canker sores on the tongue or lips, and bad breath. In general, they are usually not dangerous, but some care should be taken because in some cases they can lead to serious complications and infections and inflammation in different organs.

    How do they get here? Risk factors for its occurrence

    The appearance of fungi at the oral level does not have a single and clear cause, but can be given and influenced by a wide variety of factors. In general, if this is possible, it is because in the subject’s mouth there are sufficient conditions for the fungi to develop. this it does not necessarily imply a lack of hygieneBut it can also be different diseases or our way of life and our diet, which makes it easier to have the elements necessary for the survival of the fungus.

    Many factors facilitate infection. Among them we can find the presence of diabetes (in which there is also a higher concentration of sugars in saliva, which serves as food) or anemia, in addition to congenital or acquired immunodeficiency (such as lack nutrients such as vitamins and / or immune system defenses facilitate the survival of the fungus).

    Likewise also excessive consumption or excessive consumption of certain foods promotes the birth and reproduction of fungi. Endocrine and hormonal disorders or alterations can also be factors that influence their appearance or maintenance. Finally, the consumption of substances adulterated or not contributes greatly to their appearance, especially in the case of tobacco or alcohol.

    Lack of dental hygiene or the existence of dentures or hard-to-reach areas when cleaning the mouth also increases the likelihood of suffering from it. Certain diseases such as leukemia or other infections can also promote them, due to the existence of a weaker immune system response.

    In addition, certain medications can cause oral yeast infection., Like some antibiotics or corticosteroids (including some vaporized or aspirated). Chemotherapy and radiotherapy also, by lowering the defenses.

    In addition, it should be remembered that there are periods of vital vulnerability, including the first moments after birth, infancy, old age or pregnancy. In general, the changes generated at the hormonal level or the decrease in defenses or substances capable of fighting or stopping the fungus are considerable risk factors.


      Treating the presence of fungi in the mouth will require a specific approach depending on the fungus and the presence of other factors such as possible comorbid diseases. However, they can generally be used antifungal or antifungal drugs, Which can act by slowing their growth or killing them directly.

      Some of these drugs can be nystatin (one of the most widely used, especially in oral thrush) or cyclopyroxolamine. They may also apply systemic treatments such as ketoconazole (although the latter depending on the amounts may be hepatotoxic). Now keep this in mind these drugs must be prescribed by a doctor and that some cannot be taken for example by pregnant women or people with certain basic health problems.

      One should also take into account the need to prevent or add to the diet foods that promote oral pH control, such as yogurt, or allow the acquisition of vitamins, fiber and nutrients that help keep the body well. balanced. Brushing and good dental hygiene are also very helpful. In cases where there are diseases such as those mentioned, it should also be borne in mind that they should be treated with the proper methods.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Cavaller Martínez, F .; Jurado Moreno, J. and López Rocha, A. (2005). Guide to good clinical practice in fungal infections. Collegiate Medical Organization of Spain. Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs. Spain.
      • Pardi, GH; Mata, S .; Colella, MT, Roselló, A. and Pineda, V. (2013). Mycosis of the oral cavity – Part I. Bibliographical reviews. Venezuelan Dental Law, 51 (2).

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