Fungal infections of the oral mucosa

Indian J Dent Res. 2012 Sep-Oct;23(5):650-9. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.107384.


Fungal infections in humans occur as a result of defects in the immune system. An increasing emergence in oral Candidal and non-Candidal fungal infections is evident in the past decade owing to the rise in the immunodeficient and immunocompromised population globally. Oral Candidal infection usually involves a compromised host and the compromise may be local or systemic. Local compromising factors include decreased salivation, poor oral hygiene, wearing dentures among others while systemic factors include diabetes mellitus, nutritional deficiency, HIV infection/AIDS and others. Oral candidiasis is generally a localized infection and rarely appears as a systemic fungal disease whereas oral non-Candidal fungal infections are usually signs of disseminated disease. Some of the non-Candidal fungi that were once considered exotic and geographically restricted are now seen worldwide, beyond their natural habitat, probably attributed to globalization and travels. Currently infections from these fungi are more prevalent than before and they may present either as primary oral lesions or as oral manifestations of systemic mycoses. This review discusses the various predisposing factors, clinical presentations, clinical differential diagnosis, diagnosis and management of oral candidiasis, as well as briefly highlights upon a few of the more exotic non-Candidal fungi that infect the oral mucosa.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Candidiasis, Oral / diagnosis*
  • Candidiasis, Oral / drug therapy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Mouth Diseases / drug therapy
  • Mouth Diseases / microbiology*
  • Mycoses / diagnosis*
  • Mycoses / drug therapy
  • Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis
  • Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy
  • Risk Factors