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Oral health centre

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What are the symptoms of oral thrush?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Oral thrush usually appears as white patches in your mouth.

Your mouth might feel sore and you may get a burning feeling on your tongue.

If you have thrush in your throat, you may not be able to speak or eat properly. This can make you feel very unwell. Some people find things taste different when they have oral thrush. [3]

There are four main types of oral thrush, and they can look quite different. [4]

  • The most common type of oral thrush appears as small white patches on the inside of the cheeks, throat, tongue, or gums. The patches come off if you rub them, and they may bleed.

  • In another type, you get smooth red patches on the roof of your mouth, the back of your tongue, or the inside of your cheeks.

  • Sometimes, but not very often, oral thrush appears as raised white patches on the inside of one or both cheeks. These may be small and thin or large, dense, and rough. They don't come off if you rub them. Occasionally, the patches are speckled and lumpy. This type of oral thrush can contain cells that could turn into cancer.

  • People who wear dentures can get redness and swelling on the roof of their mouth or around their gums where their dentures come into contact with their mouth.

Your dentist may discover you have oral thrush when you go for a check-up, and give you some medicine to treat it.

If you have symptoms, or the inside of your mouth looks different from usual, you will need to go to your doctor to find out if you have oral thrush, or whether something else is causing your symptoms. Your doctor will probably:

  • Look inside your mouth for white or red patches

  • Ask you about your symptoms.

Sometimes the doctor will take a sample from the affected part of your mouth and send it to the laboratory to test it for Candida.

If the patches in your mouth are still there after you've had medicines to get rid of oral thrush, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. The specialist may take a sample of cells from the affected area (this is called a biopsy) and look at them under a microscope to see if they are normal.


For references related to Thrush, mouth click here.
Last Updated: March 28, 2011
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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