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A 27-year-old female asked:

How can you tell the difference between oral thrush and geographic tongue? can both be caused by yeast infection?

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Bouvier
Pediatrics 25 years experience
See below: Thrush is white on the tongue and mucosa on the side and top and bottom of the mouth. The geographic tongue is not caused by thrush and is benign. It looks more like continents - thus the name. If concerned, see your doc.
Dr. Joel Doyon
Cosmetic Dentistry 36 years experience
Thrush is yeast: Oral thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth while geographic tongue is just a reaction of the tissue on the surface of the tongue being lost for a time, then regrowing, then losing another patch in a different area of the tongue, then regrowing. Oral thrush, or candida, usually covers the entire surface of the tongue.
Dr. Sandra Eleczko
Dentistry 36 years experience
White tongue: Geographic tongue is a benign condition that does not require treatment. There are white spots on the tongue that sometimes look like a topographic map. In a thrush infections there is also a white tongue but this can be scrapped off. Sometimes it can be thick white stuff, like cottage cheese. Geographic tongue does not scrape off. Thrush occurs when immune system is low and needs treatment.
Dr. Gary Sandler
Dentistry 54 years experience
Thrush vs Geographic: Thrush-creamy white coating; fungal (candidia a.) due to imbalance of organisms\immune system issues; can be brushed off to some extent; worsens with time; requires treatment! geographic tongue- random and varied bald spots, changes over time in size and location; unknown etiology; benign and does not require treatment. See your dentist for an accurate diagnosis.

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Last updated Apr 4, 2019

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