Erythematous candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by candida albicans. This fungus is naturally present inside your mouth, but in some cases, the fungus can overgrow and lead to an infection. Here are four things you need to know about this infection.
What are the signs of erythematous candidiasis?
If you have erythematous candidiasis, your oral soft tissues will be red and sore and you may notice red patches. The tongue is usually the most affected. If your tongue is affected, you will see a red patch on the back two-thirds of your tongue.
Who is at risk?
Candida albicans is a normal part of the oral environment, and for people with healthy immune systems, this isn't a problem as the immune system keeps the fungi in check. However, candida albicans can be an opportunistic pathogen in people with compromised immune systems. The following groups of people are at risk of this infection:
- AIDS patients;
- Organ transplant recipients;
- Cancer patients;
- Very young or very old people;
- Steroid inhaler users;
- Others with compromised immune systems.
Other factors can also make you more likely to develop erythematous candidiasis. Poor oral hygiene and wearing dentures overnight can help the fungus grow within your mouth. If you are immunocompromised, make sure to follow a good oral hygiene routine, and if you wear dentures, make sure to follow the care directions from your dentist.
How is it treated?
Your dentist will treat your infection with antifungal medications. These medications can take a few different forms, including pills and mouth rinses. Your dentist will choose the medication best suited for your individual case. Make sure to keep taking the antifungals for as long as your dentist recommends; stopping the treatment early can allow the fungi to become antifungal-resistant.
If possible, contributing factors will also need to be controlled. Your dentist may recommend brushing and flossing more often, cleaning your dentures with an anti-fungal denture cleaner, and taking your dentures out when you go to sleep.
How common is erythematous candidiasis?
Erythematous candidiasis is a fairly common infection among immunocompromised people. One study of patients who had received kidney transplants found that 3.8% of them suffered from erythematous candidiasis while no one in the control group did. A study of HIV-positive people found that 48% of them had erythematous candidiasis.
If you are immunocompromised and notice red patches on your tongue or on your other oral tissues, see a dentist, like Prairie Mall Dental Clinic, for treatment right away.