Oral thrush occurs when a yeast or bacterial infection develops inside your mouth.
It is also known as oral candidiasis, pharyngeal candidiasis, or in other words, thrush. Oral thrush often occurs in infants and toddlers. This disease causes white or yellowish bumps on the inner parts and tongue. Usually, these bumps disappear with specific treatment.
This type of infection is usually mild and rarely causes serious problems. But in people with a weak immune system, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause potentially serious complications.
Symptoms of Oral Thrush
In the early stages, oral thrush may not cause any symptoms. But as the infection worsens, one or more of the following symptoms may develop:
- White or yellow spots on the inner ridges of the tongue, tonsils, gums, or lips.
- If the ridges are shaved, there is a possibility of slight bleeding
- Pain or burning in the mouth
- The sensation of an extra object like cotton in your mouth
- Dry, cracked skin at the corners of your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bad taste in the mouth
- loss of sense of taste
In some cases, oral thrush can affect your esophagus, although this is uncommon. The same fungus that causes oral thrush can cause yeast infections in other body parts. Read more about the symptoms of oral thrush and different types of yeast infections.
Causes of Oral Thrush
Oral thrush and other yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans (C. Albicans). It is very typical that a small amount of Candida albicans “C. Albicans can live in your mouth without causing any harm. When your immune system works properly, the beneficial bacteria in your body help keep Candida albicans under control.
But if your immune system is compromised or the balance of microorganisms in your body is disrupted, this fungus can get out of control.
If you are taking certain medications, such as antibiotics, that reduce the number of friendly microorganisms in the body, there is a chance that the medications will cause an overgrowth of Candida albicans; In this situation, mouth sores occur.
Also, cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can destroy or destroy healthy cells. This makes you more susceptible to mouth sores and other infections.
Conditions that weaken your immune systems, such as leukemia and HIV, also increase your risk of developing a yeast infection. Oral thrush is a common opportunistic infection in people with HIV.
Diabetes can also contribute to oral thrush. Uncontrolled diabetes weakens your immune system and increases blood sugar levels. This disease creates conditions for the growth of Candida albicans.
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Diagnosis of Oral Thrush
Your doctor may quickly diagnose oral thrush by examining your mouth for bumps. Sometimes, the doctor may take a sample of the affected area to confirm the diagnosis. Doctors scrape a small part of the lump from your mouth to perform a biopsy. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for the presence of C. Albicans.
If your doctor suspects oral thrush in your esophagus, he may use a throat swab or endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.
To perform a throat swab culture, your doctor will take a tissue sample from the back of your throat using a cotton swab. Then this sample is sent to the laboratory for testing.
To perform an endoscopy, your doctor uses a thin tube with a light and a camera. They insert an “endoscope” through the mouth and esophagus to check the condition. They may also take a tissue sample for analysis.
Treatment of Oral Trush
To treat oral thrush, the doctor may prescribe one or more of the following drugs:
- Fluconazole “fluconazole” (Diflucan), an oral antifungal drug
- Clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche), an antifungal medication available as lozenge-shaped tablets
- Nystatin (Nystop, Nyota) is an antifungal mouthwash that you can swish in your mouth or swab (swirl) in your child’s mouth.
- Itraconazole (Sporanox), an oral antifungal drug, is used to treat people who do not respond to other yeast infection treatments and people with HIV.
- Amphotericin B (AmBisome, Fungizone) is a drug used to treat severe cases of oral thrush.
Oral thrush usually clears up within two weeks after starting treatment, but in some cases, there is a chance that it will come back.
In adults with frequent cases of oral thrush and no known cause, a health care provider will evaluate them for underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the thrush.
Babies may have several episodes of oral thrush in their first year of life.
Oral Thrush Home Remedies
Your doctor may also recommend home remedies or lifestyle changes to help treat canker sores or prevent them from returning.
Oral hygiene is essential during treatment and recovery.
Some important points:
- Brush your teeth (with a soft-bristled toothbrush) to avoid shaving off the bumps caused by thrush.
- Change your toothbrush after you finish treating yeast infection and if you wear dentures, clean them properly to reduce your risk of re-infection.
- Avoid mouthwash or mouth spray unless prescribed by your doctor.
- Also, some home remedies relieve the symptoms of thrush in adults.
For example, the following will help you rinse your mouth correctly:
- A mixture of water and baking soda
- A mixture of water and lemon juice
- A mix of water and apple cider vinegar
There is also a possibility that eating yogurt that contains beneficial bacteria, or probiotic supplements can be used in treatment. Talk to your doctor before giving your baby any supplements. Read more to learn more about home remedies and other treatments.
Oral Thrush in Babies
Oral thrush mainly affects babies and toddlers. Babies can get oral thrush after getting the fungus from their mother during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, or just from yeast naturally present in their environment.
If your child has oral thrush, they may have similar signs and symptoms that can affect other people, including:
- The presence of prominent white or yellow spots on the inner parts of the tongue, tonsils, gums, or lips.
- If the ridges are shaved, there is a possibility of slight bleeding
- Pain or burning in their mouth
- Dry and cracked skin at the corners of their mouths
- Oral thrush in babies may cause feeding problems and irritability or hot flashes.
See your doctor if you suspect your child has a yeast infection. If your baby has thrush while breastfeeding, you both need antifungal treatments. Read about why treatment is essential to keep you and your baby healthy.
Complications of Oral Thrush
In people with a healthy immune system, oral thrush rarely causes complications. In severe cases, the disease may spread to the esophagus.
If your immune system is weakened, you are more likely to develop complications from oral thrush. Without proper treatment, the fungus that causes thrush may enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, brain, eyes, or other organs. This condition is known as invasive or systemic candidiasis.
Prevention of Mouth Sores
To reduce your risk of canker sores, try the following:
- To support the functioning of your immune system, eat a nutritious diet and follow a healthy lifestyle.
- Maintain oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly.
- If your mouth is chronically dry, see your doctor and follow his recommended treatment plan.
- If you have dentures, remove them before going to bed, clean them daily, and ensure they fit correctly.
- If you are using a corticosteroid spray, rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after using it.
- If you have diabetes, take steps to control your blood sugar levels.
- If you have a yeast infection in another part of your body, treat it. In some cases, the infection can spread from one part of your body to another.