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What Are The First Symptoms Of Oral Thrush & How Do You Test For It?

Oral thrush takes place whenever a yeast infection develops in your mouth. Doctors also refer to it as oral candidiasis. This type of problem mainly takes place in toddlers and infants. The problem causes yellowish or white bumps on your tongue and inner cheeks. These bumps often go away with proper treatment.(1)

What Are The First Symptoms Of Oral Thrush?

Symptoms In Adults And Children

If we talk about adults and children, they may hardly notice any symptoms related to oral thrush. However, when signs and symptoms occur, they may be anything from-

  • Creamy or white lesions on your inner cheeks, tongue and sometimes, on the roof of your gums, mouth, and tonsils.
  • Patients may have lesions raised slightly and they have cottage cheese type of appearance.
  • Soreness, burning, and redness, which may become severe enough to create difficulty in swallowing or having food items
  • Minor bleeding if you accidentally scrape or rub the lesions
  • Redness and cracking at your mouth’s corners
  • Cottony type of feeling inside your mouth
  • Loss in your taste
  • Pain, irritation or redness below your dentures i.e. denture stomatitis

If the problem reaches to its severe form, your lesions may spread towards downward in the esophagus to cause Candida esophagitis. These conditions have relations with a weak immune system due to HIV AIDS or cancer.

Symptoms In Breast-Feeding Mothers And Infants

Other than the distinctive type of white mouth lesions, infants may have difficulty in feeding or stay irritable and fussy. These infants pass the same infection to mothers at the time of breastfeeding procedure. The infection passes forth and back between the baby’s mouth and the mother’s breasts. On the other side, women with Candida infected breasts may have additional signs and symptoms, which include-

  • Itchy, unusually red, cracked or sensitive nipples
  • Flaky or shiny skin on the circular area across her nipple i.e. areola
  • Unusual pain at the time of nursing or pain in nipples at the time of feeding babies
  • Deep stabbing pain in the breast.(2)

How Do You Test For Oral Thrush?

Home-Based Testing: Oral thrush may take place in the form of the white coat at the inner area of your throat and mouth, loss of taste, soreness or cottony sensation within the mouth. To diagnose at home, doctors recommend a practice called candida spit test that involves spitting in clear water glass water immediately after you wake up. If the proponents suggest that saliva sinks towards the glass bottom or converts the nearby water cloudy, it indicates the presence of thrush.

Lab Tests For Oral Thrush

Throat Culture Procedure: According to the throat culture procedure, doctors use a cotton swab for collecting samples from the back area of your throat. Later on, they place the collected sample in a special environment for the growth of cells to analyze the culture.

Sample Collection And Analysis: Your doctor may collect a sample from the affected area of your mouth, especially the formed lesion/lesions and examine it by placing under a microscope. These samples involve painless and gentle scraping.

Blood Test: Oral thrush may sometimes indicate any other underlying health problem, like for instance diabetes. Because of this, your doctor recommends you undergo a blood test.

Imaging Test: If your doctor suspects the presence of oral thrush in your esophagus, your doctor will use endoscopy i.e. an imaging test. The technique mainly involves an examination of your esophagus, upper area of the small intestine and stomach by the help of an endoscope. Here, the endoscope is a type of lightweight and flexible tube equipped with a camera device at its end.

Differential Diagnosis For Oral Thrush

In some of the cases, oral thrush may create many symptoms, which are related to other types of illnesses. Because of this, your doctor recommends the diagnosis of other conditions at the time of evaluating the possibility of thrush.


To conclude, we should say that symptoms vary among children, infants and women. Besides, the diagnosis procedure may vary according to the affected area.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 1, 2020

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