HIV Neg guy says he has thrush

Question

Dr. Bob,

I was reading through your posts (as I always do)and read a post from someone who thought they had thrush--even though they had negative HIV tests. You said what he thinks is thrush may not be that.

I had a thought about what he might be seeing when he thinks he has thrush. I've noticed a lot of smokers get this white plaque on their tongues. I believe it is caused from the nicotine or something. I remember a friend thought he had thrush, because of this white looking plaque. When we looked at pix of thrush on-line, thrush was much different and much thicker. I'm not sure if the questioner is a smoker.

Anyway, thanks for all ya do.

Answer

Hi,

"Thrush" is frequently misdiagnosed. Yes, smoking can cause visible changes to the tongue. Likewise, mouth breathing at night can dehydrate the membranes and cause a whitish coating. There are other potential causes as well, such as postnasal drip, etc. that have been confused with "thrush."

Thanks for your comment.

Dr. Bob