Oral Thrush- What Is It and How to Treat

Oral thrush, known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is one of the fungal infections. It’s caused by the Candida albicans fungus. Oral thrush is a surface infection and causes more difficulty in eating and drinking. It occurs when yeast infection grows inside the mouth and the tongue. Although oral thrush can affect everyone, it’s more likely to appear in the old, babies and people who take certain medications. It’s because they have a weakened immune system. In many cases, oral thrush isn’t dangerous and rarely causes health problems. However, it may be severe and difficult to manage.

Oral thrush- what is it?

Oral thrush is white, slightly areas in the mouth. It’s caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans. A few fungi normally live in the mouth and they are harmless. However, when they begin to develop out of control, an infection can grow in the mouth. This infection causes white bumps on the tongue and the inner cheeks. Sometimes, it may spread to the roof of your gums, mouth or the back of your throat. It also will be disappeared when you receiving your treatment. Oral thrush is a mild infection and rarely leads to complications, but it can be a big problem for those with weakened immune system.

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The causes of oral thrush

Oral thrush happens when Candida albicans begins overgrowth. Normally, the good microorganism fungus is necessary for the body. The immune system will keep all fungi under control. However, when this balance is broken, harmful fungi and bacteria begin developing and causing an infection.

Oral thrush also occurs when the immune system becomes weakened. For those who have certain medications, babies or old people, their immune system are weakened that cannot control harmful fungi. This makes people get oral thrush and other infections easily. Some diseases also increase danger for oral thrush such as HIV, AIDS, diabetes and cancer. These diseases will affect the immune system and can develop the infection as well.

Oral thrush can be spread at birth for newborns. The fungus causes oral thrush also leads to yeast infection. Thus, pregnant women who have vaginal yeast infection can transmit the infection on her baby during delivery.

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What are the symptoms of oral thrush?

Oral thrush grows suddenly, and the symptoms can be noticeable and serious with time. The first sign is commonly creamy white lesions and redness in the mouth. They usually appear on the tongue, inner cheeks, or roof of the mouth. These lesions can be painful or even begin to bleed. Loss of taste, oral inflammation and oral mucus are some other signs of oral thrush.

In some bad cases, the lesions can cause some symptoms such as:

– Fever, if the infection spreads into the esophagus

– Difficulties in eating. Food can be stuck in the throat

– Pain when swallow

Besides, you can experience with headache, fatigue, dizziness and sweating. These signs will disappear within 7-10 days or once the candida leaves your body. Oral thrush rarely leads to complications in people who have healthy immune system. However, it can cause some complications for those who have weakened immune system. The fungus can enter your bloodstream and spread through the body if you have a weak immune system. This leads to problems in some organs such as brain, livers and heart. For babies, oral thrush can get a severe rash.

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How is oral thrush treated?

Treatment for oral thrush depends on ages and overall health. But generally, the goal of this infection treatment is to stop the growth and to prevent rapid spread of the fungus. Medical treatments or home remedies are effective in curing oral thrush.

When contracting oral thrush, doctor can give you some drugs such as fluconazole, clotrimazole, itraconazole, nizoral and amphotericin B. These drugs are used to treat an antifungal medication and severe infection.  For mild cases, a clotrimazole and a nystain can be used to cure the infection. For severe cases, fluconazole and nizoral may be taken within 7-10 days.

Besides, you can cure oral thrush by many ways at home, including:

– Eat unsweetened yogurt to get more good bacteria and maintain healthy levels.

– Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush

– Use saltwater to clean your mouth

– Replace your toothbrush every day until the infection disappear

– Don’t use mouthwashes

When receiving treatments, the infection usually disappears within several weeks. However, oral thrush can return in the future. The best cure is more likely if you are free of other illnesses and have a healthy immune systems.

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How can oral thrush be prevented?

Even though oral thrush can appear suddenly, you can prevent it by some tips:

– Practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and clean your mouth with salty water will keep your mouth out of the infection.

– Treat chronic diseases. A chronic disease can broke the balance of bacteria in the body and may cause oral thrush. If you are taking medications for a chronic disease, take them directed.

– Don’t take too much mouthwashes. Clean with a mouthwashes once or twice a day can keep your gums and teeth healthy. However, using too much mouthwashes will disturb the balance of bacteria in your mouth

– Limit foods that are rich sugar and yeast. Wine, beer and bread can develop yeast and lead to oral thrush. Thus, limit these food and try to add more yogurt that increase good bacteria for the body.

– Get dental checkups regularly. Even you’re healthy and don’t have dental problems, it’s necessary for you to meet your dentist every 6 months.

Oral thrush isn’t too dangerous, but it can lead to complication in a few cases. Thus, you need to know about it and find ways to prevent as well as treat it. For people who have a weak immune system, they need to take care of their healthy diet and practice oral hygiene.

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