Everything You Need to Know About Oral Thrush

December 6, 2022

Oral thrush is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Oral thrush develops due to a mouth and throat yeast infection and can occur in both children and adults. This article will provide everything you need to know about oral thrush, from its causes and symptoms to its treatment options.

What Is Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush is a fungal infection that affects the mucous membranes lining the inside of your mouth. The scientific name for the fungus that causes oral thrush is known as Candida albicans. This fungus is also responsible for other types of candidiasis, such as vaginal yeast infections and intestinal candidiasis.

Oral thrush is relatively common and can occur at any age. However, it’s more likely to affect infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Thrush?

In its early stages, you may not experience any symptoms. However, when the infection gets worse, the following symptoms may manifest:

  • Creamy white patches on the tongue, inner cheeks, throat, or roof of the mouth.
  • Painful burning sensations in the mouth.
  • Cotton-like sensation in the mouth
  • Loss of taste
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Redness or soreness in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Cracking at the corners of the mouth

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must see your dentist to get treatment.

What Are the Causes of Oral Thrush?

The candida fungus is naturally available in the mouth, skin, and digestive tract and is kept in balance by other bacteria. However, certain factors cause the candida to grow out of control. These include illnesses that weaken the immune system, medications that suppress the immune system, and a dry mouth.

Who Is at Risk of Developing Oral Thrush?

People with diabetes or those who take high doses of steroids may also be susceptible. Certain illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS or leukemia, can cause oral thrush by giving the yeast too much room to grow.

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can also put you at risk. If you have an autoimmune disorder like lupus or psoriasis, your body might mistake healthy cells for foreign invaders and attack them. That mistake could leave you more vulnerable to developing oral thrush.

Poor nutrition and smoking cigarettes can also make it harder for your body to fight off infection, putting you at greater risk for developing oral thrush. People who wear dentures are also at increased risk for developing oral thrush.

What Are the Treatment Options for Oral Thrush?

There are several effective oral thrush treatments available, though the best course of treatment may vary depending on the severity of the infection. For mild cases of oral thrush, home remedies such as rinsing with salt water or probiotics may relieve symptoms.

For more stubborn cases, a dentist may prescribe antifungal medication. These medications can be liquids, lozenges, or tablets and you take them for 10 to 14 days. In addition to medical treatment, good oral hygiene is essential for preventing oral thrush from returning.

Is Oral Thrush Contagious?

Oral thrush is not very contagious. However, there are some instances where passing the infection from one person to another is possible. For example, if you kiss someone, you may pass the infection to them. Additionally, if you share eating utensils or toothbrushes with someone who has oral thrush, you have a higher chance of developing the condition.

If you are concerned that you may have contracted oral thrush from another person, it’s important to see a dentist for a diagnosis.

If you think you or your child may have oral thrush, please contact us at Vanyo Dentistry today. Untreated thrush can lead to more serious problems, such as infections in the throat or esophagus. We can help you get the treatment you need to feel better.