Oral Thrush
Oral Thrush

ORAL THRUSH

Overview

Oral Thrush (also known as oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis) is a fungal infection of the mouth. This mouth yeast infection which occurs most often in infants & toddlers is known to cause yellowish or whitish bumps on the inside of the cheeks and the tongue.

Oral Thrush is a mild oral condition that usually resolves with or without treatments. In persons with weakened immune systems, the fungi can spread to other body parts leading to potentially severe complications.

SYMPTOMS

Oral thrush may not manifest any symptoms in its early stages, but as it worsens, some of these symptoms may develop:

  • The appearance of white or yellow patches of bumps on your tongue, inner cheeks, lips, gums or tonsils.
  • Burning and soreness in the mouth.
  • Slight bleeding in the mouth if the bumps patches get scraped.
  • Dry or cracked skin at the mouth corners
  • Difficulty in swallowing meals.
  • Inability to taste
  • Bad taste in the mouth.
  • Cotton –like sensation in the mouth

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ORAL THRUSH?

Candida albicans are found naturally in the guts and mouth where they live in, without causing a problem. Oral thrush can occur when there are several multiplications of these fungi in the guts. This could happen due to the following reasons:

  • Prolong use of antibiotics or intake of high dose.
  • The use of inhaled corticosteroid medications in the case of asthma
  • Dentures that are not correctly fitted.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Dry and cracking mouth.
  • Smoking
  • Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

WHO ARE AT RISK?

Babies, infants, toddlers, young children and the older citizens are at greater risk of developing oral thrush.

People who are suffering from certain medical conditions such as HIV, Iron Deficiency, Vitamin B12 deficiency and Hypothyroidism are also at high risk of getting oral thrush.

IS ORAL THRUSH CONTAGIOUS?

It is possible to pass the Candida albicans fungi through kissing to someone who is not affected. The person might likely develop the condition afterwards.

The fungus can be passed from your mouth to other parts of someone else’s body. Candida albicans can cause yeast infection of the vagina or penis through oral, anal or vaginal sex.

During pregnancy, if the mother has a vaginal yeast infection, the fungus can be passed potentially to the baby during delivery. It can also be transmitted during breastfeeding if the mother has breast yeast infection or nipple yeast infection. Babies can also transfer the fungus to their mothers during breastfeeding if they have oral thrush.

When the fungus C. Albicans is transferred from a person to another, it does not always cause oral thrush, but because of how common these fungi are in our environment, a yeast infection can be developed without being infected by someone else.

HOW IS ORAL THRUSH DIAGNOSED?

Through a simple physical examination of the bumps in your mouth, our dentist at Harley Street London might be able to diagnose oral thrush.

Our dentist might need to take a biopsy of the affected area of your mouth to confirm the diagnosis made. To do this, a small portion of the bump will be scraped from your mouth. A throat swab culture or endoscopy might be used to confirm if you have oral thrush in your oesophagus.

This sample will be sent to a medical laboratory to be tested for the presence of Candida albicans.

HOW ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR ORAL THRUSH?

Oral thrush can be treated successfully through the use of antifungal medications which could be in gel, liquid, capsules or tablets forms. Your doctor will prescribe one or more of these antifungal medications to treat your oral thrush:

  • Fluconazole (Diflucan): It an oral antifungal medication.
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox): It is an oral antifungal drug used in patients with HIV and those who do not respond to other antifungal medications.
  • Nystatin (Nyata, Nystop): This is an antifungal mouth wash.
  • Clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche): It is available in tablets and lozenges.
  • Amphotericin B (Fungizone, AmBisome): This is used for severe cases of oral thrush.

Once treatment commences, oral thrush should subside in few weeks. However, it can reoccur in some people.

HOW TO PREVENT ORAL THRUSH?

You can prevent oral thrush or instead reduce your chances of developing it by practising the following tips:

  • Brush your mouth two times daily with a toothpaste that has fluoride.
  • Rinse your mouth after every meal.
  • Floss regularly.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups, even if you do not have dentures.
  • Remove your dentures every night for cleaning.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • After using a corticosteroid inhaler, rinse your mouth with water and spit it out.
  • Ensure you control all underlying conditions you might have, such as Diabetes mellitus.

HOME REMEDIES FOR ORAL THRUSH

Some home remedies might help relieve oral thrush symptoms.

  • Rinse your mouth with one of these homemade solutions:
    • Saltwater
    • Water and baking soda solution
    • Lemon juice and water mixture
    • Apple Cider Vinegar and water mixture
  • Eat yoghurt or take probiotic supplement. Yoghurt contains beneficial bacteria.

WHERE TO GET HELP

When you experience any symptom of oral thrush, there is need to get immediate care. You can rely on our dentists at Smile Works Dental to provide effective treatment for oral thrush.

You can walk into our dental clinic at Harley Street, London. You can also call us on 020 71834091 to book an appointment with our dental team.

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