Fungal infections of the mouth

Candida albicans is present as a harmless commensal in the oral cavity of as many as 20–50% of healthy individuals. Clinical fungal infection develops when the host’s resistance is impaired and the natural balance of the oral flora becomes disturbed. Fungal infection is therefore a sign of either a local or systemic impairment of the host’s resistance. Local predisposing factors include the lack of normal bacterial flora in newborn babies, poor oral hygiene in denture wearers, reduced salivation, smoking and inhaled corticosteroids. Systemic predisposing factors include antibiotics, diabetes, Down syndrome, APECED (autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidosis-ectodermal dystrophy), advanced cancer, immunodeficiency, immunosuppressive therapy and radiotherapy around the salivary gland area.