Oral candidiasis physical examination

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Oral candidiasis Microchapters


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Differentiating Oral candidiasis from other Diseases

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ahmed Younes M.B.B.CH [2]


Oral candidiasis usually appears as thick white curdy deposits. Underlying mucosa may appear inflamed (red and possibly slightly raised).

Physical examination

The appearance of lesions on physical examination varies according to the subtype of oral candidiasis.

Pseudomembranous oropharyngeal candidiasis:

  • Candida lesions appear as white plaques on the mouth and tongue.
  • Trying to remove the patches with tongue depressor will leave an erythematous area and sometimes bleeding (which differentiates it from lichen planus).[1]

Atrophic oropharyngeal candidiasis:

Hyperplastic oropharyngeal candidiasis (candidal leukoplakia):

Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis:

  • This syndrome is characterized by recurrent or persistent candidal infection in the mouth, tongue, scalp and nails.
  • Due to chronicity of the infection, it’s usually associated with disfigurement and thickness of the affected areas. Nails appear brittle and broken.
  • In rare cases, condition might progress into systemic candidiasis (usually if accompanied by another immunocompromisation).[4]
  • Patients frequently have accompanying autoimmune disorders as hypopararthyroidism, diabetes or Grave’s disease.





  1. Akpan A, Morgan R (2002). "Oral candidiasis". Postgrad Med J. 78 (922): 455–9. PMC 1742467. PMID 12185216.
  2. Budtz-Jørgensen E (1981). "Oral mucosal lesions associated with the wearing of removable dentures". J. Oral Pathol. 10 (2): 65–80. PMID 6792333.
  3. Sitheeque MA, Samaranayake LP (2003). "Chronic hyperplastic candidosis/candidiasis (candidal leukoplakia)". Crit. Rev. Oral Biol. Med. 14 (4): 253–67. PMID 12907694.
  4. Kirkpatrick CH (2001). "Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis". Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 20 (2): 197–206. PMID 11224843.
  5. "Public Health Image Library (PHIL)".

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