Prime Health Blog

Thrush (Oral Candidiasis)

Facts About Oral Thrush

Oral Thrush Facts:

  • Thrush (oropharyngeal candidiasis) is a medical condition where a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans overgrows in the mouth and throat.
  • It might be triggered to occur by a variety of factors, such as sickness, pregnancy, drugs, smoking, or dentures.
  • In newborns and infants is common and usually not harmful.
  • Risk factors for thrush include weakened immune systems, medications, smoking, or stress.
  • Signs and symptoms of thrush include
    • White patches in the mouth area, inner lips or cheeks, throat, palate, and tongue, along with
    • Soreness or Mouth pain.
  • Thrush is generally diagnosed by clinical examination by a doctor or dentist.
  • Treatment for thrush depends on the seriousness and the cause and may consist of simple home treatments, oral medications, or systemic medications.
  • The prognosis for moderate cases of thrush is great. The outlook for severe cases is dependent on the underlying cause and also the condition of the individual’s immune system.
  • It’s possible to prevent thrush in most cases by risk factor modification.

What is Oral Thrush?

Thrush (oropharyngeal candidiasis) is a medical condition in which a yeast-shaped fungus called Candida albicans (the old and not as frequently used name for Candida is Monilia) overgrows at the mouth and throat.

Candida albicans are usually present in the mouth, digestive tract, and skin of the majority of healthy people.

Thrush infection (oral yeast infection) is not the same as a vaginal yeast infection (also called moniliasis).

However, the Candida fungus also causes diaper rash, but diaper rash happens on a kid’s back end, genitals, and inner thighs, while oral thrush occurs in the throat and mouth.

Adults may get candidal infections in regions of overlapping skin, such as beneath breasts or in skin folds like creases in skin because of fatty tissue.

What causes oral thrush?

An overgrowth of the Candida species of fungus in the mouth or throat is the thing that triggers an oral yeast infection.

This overgrowth may be triggered to happen when the person experiences changes like pregnancy, illness, new drugs, or changes in the immune system.

Thrush in babies and toddlers is relatively common and is only a concern if it causes poor feeding or is related to weight loss or other signs of systemic illness.

Consult a pediatrician if thrush in an infant lasts over a couple of weeks.

What are the basic risk factors for thrush?

Healthy adults typically do not get thrush without having some risk variables.

Patients with weakened immune systems are at risk for getting fungal infections such as thrush.

Risk factors associated with thrush comprise the following:

  • Illnesses, including poorly controlled diabetes, obesity, HIV/AIDS disease, cancer, and dry mouth
  • Pregnancy
  • With an organ transplant
  • Taking medications such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, chemotherapy or other cancer drugs, radiation, and birth control pills
  • Smoking
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Anxiety or Stress

Is Thrush Contagious?

In general, thrush (or even candidiasis) isn’t contagious. But a breast-feeding infant with thrush may transmit it into the mother’s breast by touch.

Technically, oral thrush may be transmitted through kissing or oral sex, though that is uncommon.

It is an opportunistic disease, and its development is contingent upon the strength of your immune system.

What are the signs and symptoms of thrush?

oral thrush, showing ulcers inside the mouth
Oral thrush, showing ulcers inside the mouth

It is characterized by a white coating or white patches on the tongue, mouth, inner cheeks, and also the rear of the throat.

The tissue beneath the white patches is often red, raw, and sore.

The lesions can be debilitating and also bleed if scraped.

Oral thrush often looks like cottage cheese or milk curds.

Some general symptoms and signs are as follows:

  • Characteristic white stains (white patches)
  • Redness beneath the snowy stains (under the white patches)
  • White tongue
  • Cracking at the outer edges of the lips (cheilosis)
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat or feeling of food stuck in the throat
  • Soreness in teeth
  • Unpleasant or Strange taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)

Oral thrush can also lead to a disease known as burning mouth syndrome, which may have symptoms of a painful burning sensation.

Mouth dryness, soreness, tingling, or numbness in the mouth and tongue, and sometimes an abnormal bitter or metallic taste in the mouth area.

In severe cases of oral-thrush, the esophagus, which leads down to the gut, might also be involved. This will cause pain with swallowing.

If a person has a weakened immune system (HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, cancer, etc.), the Candida fungus can spread to other areas of the body and cause a systemic infection.

If an individual has signs or symptoms of thrush and develops a fever, shaking or chills, or difficulty swallowing, contact a physician immediately.

How do physicians diagnose oral thrush?

Candidiasis is clinically diagnosed by a doctor or dentist when characteristic-looking white spots are found in the mouth or throat.

To confirm the diagnosis, or if there is a question about if the white patches are brought on by the Candida fungus, scraping may be done.

The physician or dentist can scrape off a small amount of the white thing from the throat or mouth and look at it under a microscope and then see the feature yeast-shaped fungi.

In this process, the physician passes a little camera through the rear of the throat into the esophagus and into the stomach to observe the tissue and also take samples.

When the white lesions are found, they might be biopsied or scraped to validate the diagnosis.

What is the treatment for oral thrush?

A doctor examines throat and mouth
A doctor examines throat and mouth

Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the disease.

Infants, toddlers, and kids with thrush often do not require treatment.

In children who have thrush for over a few weeks, a kid’s pediatrician may prescribe antifungal nystatin (Mycostatin, Nilstat, Nystex) drops.

Antifungal drugs might be used to treat thrush. Miconazole buccal (Oravig) is an antifungal medicine that consists of a tablet placed in the upper gum region and dissolved in the mouth to eliminate thrush.

For more serious cases of thrush or when someone has other motives for a weakened immune system, they may need stronger systemic antifungal medicines, such as fluconazole (Diflucan) or itraconazole (Sporanox).

These antifungal medicines usually work better than ketoconazole (Nizoral). For acute or resistant thrush, amphotericin B may be prescribed instead of fluconazole or itraconazole.

Are there any home remedies for Thrush?

Home remedies for oral candidiasis are aimed at decreasing risk factors for thrush as well as preventing overgrowth of Candida yeast.

  • Brush the teeth using a soft toothbrush.
  • Rinse your mouth using a diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
  • Rinse the mouth with warm saltwater.
  • Avoid mouthwash as it can alter the normal flora of the mouth.
  • Keep dentures clean and see a dentist if they don’t fit properly.
  • Eat unsweetened yogurt while taking antibiotics.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements can help maintain a healthy balance of Candida.
Home remedies that may decrease the discomfort include:
  • Drinking cold liquids, or eating ice or frozen treats.
  • Eating soft, easy-to-swallow foods.
  • Drinking from a straw if the stains are painful.

Gentian violet (1%) is an over-the-counter all-natural treatment that sometimes works as a home remedy for thrush.

It’s a dye that kills germs and parasites, and it’s available without a prescription. Speak to a physician before using gentian violet.

Apple cider vinegar contains antifungal properties that might help regulate Candida in the body. Mix 1 tablespoon to 8 ounces. Water and drink every day.

Baking soda may also help kill the yeast that causes the fungal infection and maintain healthy pH levels from the mouth.

Mix 1-2 tablespoons baking soda with water until it forms a paste. Apply the glue using a cotton ball on the tongue and inner cheeks.

Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then rinse with warm water. Repeat three times a day for several days.

Alternately, mix 1/2 tsp baking soda into a glass of water and use as a mouth rinse twice daily.

Raw virgin coconut oil has antifungal properties. Nursing mothers sometimes use it in their nipples and also the baby’s mouth to prevent the spread of thrush.

Methylene blue oral is an antiseptic that is reported to help alleviate oral candidiasis. Consult a doctor before using this or any supplement.

What types of doctors and physicians treat Thrush?

A primary care provider (PCP) such as a family practitioner, internist, or kid’s pediatrician may diagnose and treat oral thrush.

Oral thrush might also be treated by a dentist. Severe infections normally require consultation with an immunologist or an infectious-disease specialist.

What’s the prognosis of Oral Thrush?

The prognosis of candidiasis and how long it will last is dependent upon the seriousness of the disease as well as the status of the immune system of the individual.

Mild cases of thrush caused by a number of those reversible risk factors are usually easily treated, and the prognosis is good.

Once you’ve begun treatment for oral thrush, symptoms generally go away in about two weeks.

In infants and children is rarely benign or serious and often goes away on its own without any need for medical treatment.

If a kid’s thrush doesn’t improve within a couple of weeks, consult with the child’s pediatrician.

Patients with weakened immune systems are at risk for acute and life-threatening complications.

These patients can get critically ill or die from severe Candida infections.

Candida can disperse across your system to other organs and can cause severe dysfunction. Systemic antifungal therapy in addition to long-term hospitalization may be necessary.

Is it possible to prevent or reduce thrush?

Risk variable changes for prevention of candidiasis contain the following:

  • Brush and floss gums and teeth regularly, and keep proper oral hygiene.
  • See a dentist regularly.
  • Keep diabetes under control.
  • Stop or Quit smoking
  • Eat a balanced, healthful diet low in sugar and yeast.
  • Restrict the use of antibiotics. Only use as prescribed by a doctor or physician.
  • Chlorhexidine (Peridex, Hibiclens) mouthwash could be advocated to prevent thrush in people who take immunosuppressant drugs.

To prevent thrush in babies or breastfeeding babies, maintain pacifiers and bottle nipples clean and sterilized.

Nursing mothers should discuss the use of any over-the-counter or prescribed drugs with their doctor prior to breastfeeding as some drugs may increase the danger.

Ask your friends and loved ones for support.

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…

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