Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis in layman terms is a fungal infection of the mouth. This infection is usually caused due to the fungus Candida albicans but can also occur due to Candida glabrata or Candida tropicalis and mostly affects the mucous membranes of the mouth. The fungus can also cause diaper rash in children, vaginal yeast infection in women and penile yeast infection in men. Also Read: Vaginal Yeast Infection: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Generally, people have some amount the candida fungus in the mouth, oral cavities, digestive tract and skin, but they are mostly harmless and under control due to the presence of good bacteria in the mouth. But, on interaction with a certain type of medicine or invasion of other infective germs, the fungus can disturb the balance and go out of control and ultimately lead to oral thrush.
Apart from the foreign invasion, thrush can also occur due to HIV infection, uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, excessive smoking or poorly fitted dentures. It is very common in infants and toddlers and in some cases adults, in the form of creamy white lesions in the tongue, inner cheeks, but can also spread to the roof of the mouth, back of the tongue or even tonsillitis.
It is extremely contagious and may pass on to another person unless treated on time.
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Signs and symptoms of oral thrush are not visible initially and may take some time to come up. They mostly include:
- Creamy white lesions in different parts of the mouth
- Cottage-cheese like raised lesions
- Redness, burning or soreness in the mouth
- Difficulty in eating or swallowing
- Slight bleeding when the lesions are rubbed or scraped
- Cracking and redness at the corners of the lips or mouth
- Loss of taste
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Redness, irritation, and pain under dentures
- Fever, if the infection spreads
Diagnosis and Treatment
Once you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is strictly advisable to go to a doctor or health practitioner. The doctor can easily diagnose the thrush by a complete mouth and oral cavity check-up. He may perform a biopsy of the affected area or perform a complete lab analysis of the throat swab culture or do an endoscopy to confirm the infection.
Once the thrush is confirmed, the doctor may prescribe for oral anti-fungal medications and mouthwashes or pain medications to reduce the pain and infection and uplift the oral health.
As you start to recover, the doctor may suggest a few home remedies to rush up the healing process and prevent further infections. These include:
- Brush the teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Avoid mouth refreshing sprays and mouthwashes unless prescribed
- Don’t use the toothbrush you were using during the oral thrush treatment as it may cause infection. Replace with a new one.
- Clean your dentures properly after eating. Also Read: The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
You can also try any of the above-mentioned home remedies for rinsing your mouth with salt water, or a mixture of water and lemon juice or water and baking soda or water and apple cider vinegar to avoid infections in the future.