Oral thrush is a fungal infection in the lining of the mouth, which is caused by a fungus called Candida albicans.
Although anyone can develop oral thrush, some individuals are at higher risk – infants and those with compromised immune systems. Other health conditions such as anaemia and diabetes may also increase the risk. In addition, oral thrush infections are more common in those who smoke cigarettes.
Initially, the infection will not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, as the infection progresses, signs and symptoms will being to appear. In most cases, oral thrush causes white lesions on the tongue and/or inner cheeks. In more severe infections, oral thrush can spread to other parts of the mouth including the throat, gums and tonsils.
Oral thrush may or may not cause pain. Some patients report mild pain and bleeding after scraping the white lesions. Loss of taste and dry mouth are also experienced by some people.
It is important to seek medical attention if the oral thrush infection is persistent. A doctor can usually diagnose it by performing a physical examination. If the doctor is unsure, they will look at small sample under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
The goal of treatment with oral thrush is to stop the spread of the fungus. For healthy adults, the most common form of medical treatment is antifungal medications. These come in several forms, which include mouthwash, tablets and lozenges. It is important to note that some fungal medications may cause liver damage. As a result, the doctor will most likely order periodic bloods tests to monitor liver function if prolonged use of the medication is required.
There are a few self-help tips that may speed up the recovery from an oral thrush infection. First of all, practicing good oral hygiene is important. Brush your teeth at least two times per day and floss at least once per day. Also, replace your toothbrush often until the infection is cleared up.
Seeing your dentist on a regular basis, especially if you wear dentures, will aid in keeping the mouth and teeth clean and healthy.
Finally, limiting the amount of sugar and yeast consumed will discourage the growth of fungus.
As with most medical conditions, early detection is the key. Thus, it important to contact your health-care professional promptly if you suspect that you have oral thrush.