Oral thrush happens when a yeast infection develops inside your mouth. It’s also known as oral candidiasis, oropharyngeal candidiasis, or simply thrush.
Oral thrush most often occurs in infants and toddlers. It causes white or yellowish bumps to form on the inner cheeks and tongue. Those bumps usually go away with treatment.
The infection is typically mild and rarely causes serious problems. But in people with weakened immune systems, it can spread to other parts of the body and causes potentially serious complications.
Oral thrush is sometimes divided into three groups based on appearance, although the condition can sometimes sit between categories –
It is the classic and most common version of oral thrush.
In this category condition appears red raw rather than white.
It is also referred as “plaque like candidiasis” or “nodular candidiasis” due to the presence of a hard to remove solid white plaque. This is the least common variant, it is most often seen in patients with HIV.
In its early stages, oral thrush may not cause any symptoms. But as the infection gets worse, one or more of the following symptoms may develop –
• White or yellow patches of bumps on your inner cheeks, tongue, tonsils,gums or lips
• Dry cracked skin at the corners of mouth
• Soreness or burning in mouth
• Difficulty swallowing
• A bad taste in mouth
• A loss of taste
• A cotton like sensation in the mouth
• Slight bleeding if the bumps are scraped
Oral thrush and other yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus named Candida albicans.
It’s normal for a small amount of C. albicans to live in your mouth, without causing harm. When your immune system is working properly, beneficial bacteria in your body help keep C. albicans under control.
But if your immune system is compromised or the balance of microorganisms in your body is disrupted, the fungus can grow out of control.
Risk Factors –
• People who wear dentures
especially if they are not kept clean, do not fit properly, or not taken out before going to sleep.
• Excessive mouthwash use
individuals who overuse antibacterial mouthwashes may also destroy bacteria which keep Candida at bay, thus increasing the risk of developing oral thrush.
• Dry mouth
People with less than normal quantities of saliva are more prone to Oral thrush.
• Antibiotics –
Antibiotics may destroy the bacteria that prevent the Candida from growing out of control and increases risk of developing oral thrush.
Some more risk factors can be –
• Steroid medication
• Weakened immune system
• Poor diet
Oral thrush is seldom a problem for healthy children and adults. Untreated oral thrush in weakened immunity people can be more serious systemic Candida infections. Due to weak immunity it may spreed to oesophagus or other parts of the body.
In the vast majority of cases, the doctor can diagnose Oral though by looking into the patient’s mouth and asking some question about their problem.
The doctor may scrape some tissue from the inside of the mouth for analysis.
To treat such infection, following medications can be prescribed –
• Fluconazole (DifIucan), an oral antifungal medication
• Clotrimazole, an antifungal medication available as a lozenge
• Nystatin, an antifungal mouthwash that you can swish in your mouth or swab in your baby’s mouth
• Itraconazole, an oral antifungal medication that’s used to treat people who don’t respond to other treatments for oral thrush and people
• Amphotericin B, a medication used to treat severe cases of oral thrush.
• Rinse mouth with salt water
• Use a soft toothbrush to avoid scraping the lesions
• Do not use mouthwashes or sprays
• Eat unsweetened yogurt to restore healthy bacteria levels
• Use a new toothbrush every day until the infection has gone
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