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Oral candidiasis in Sjögren's syndrome: Prevalence, clinical correlations, and treatment

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Red, nonulcerated, uncomfortable oral mucosal lesions that are often thought to be caused by chronic xerostomia develop in some patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS). However, we find that these lesions (1) clinically resemble chronic atrophic candidiasis (CAC), (2) usually yield Candida species from their surface, and (3) can be eliminated by topical antifungal drugs in spite of continuing xerostomia. In 246 patients who had primary or secondary SS, we correlated the presence or absence of atrophic oral mucosal lesions with the patient's salivary function and other clinical features. The 91 patients (37%) who had these lesions were older, had a greater frequency of primary SS and of oral symptoms, had had oral symptoms for a longer period, had more salivary gland inflammation, and had lower stimulated parotid flow rates than the 155 patients without CAC (p less than 0.05). However, unstimulated whole salivary flow rates and denture status were not significantly different. Topical antifungal treatment, begun on 47 patients, eliminated lesions in some. The methods of treating CAC are discussed. Candida-associated oral mucosal lesions do not develop in all patients with SS, but in susceptible patients, SS leads to a reversible form of CAC that is not associated with dentures.

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