Thrush in Mouth

You develop oral thrush because of a yeast infection developing on your tongue and on the inside of your mouth. Also called oropharyngeal candidiasis, it is the result of an overgrowth of a fungus called candida albicans. Thrush in mouth usually affects toddlers and infants and causes white bumps to appear on the tongue and inner cheeks. The infection responds quite well to treatment, and it is important to seek treatment quickly if your immune system is weak. Let's find out more about it.

How to Know If You Have Thrush in Mouth

It is possible to have symptoms of oral thrush in the beginning. What causes thrush in the first place has an impact on when certain symptoms appear. They can appear suddenly or develop slowly. Once you have those symptoms, they may persist for weeks or months in some cases. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with thrush in mouth:

  • You may have creamy white lesions on your inner cheek, tongue, and even on the roof of your mouth, tonsils, and gums.
  • You may have soreness along with redness that may be so serious to cause difficulty swallowing or eating.
  • You may notice some bleeding in case the lesions are scraped or rubbed. 
  • You may develop redness and cracking at the corners of your mouth.
  • You may have a cottony feeling in your mouth or you may lose the sense of taste.

In certain cases, the lesion can spread deep into your esophagus, which in turn may cause difficulty swallowing. Some people may also feel as if something is stuck in the throat.

Infants and breastfeeding mothers

Along with the distinctive mouth lesion, your infant may feel irritable and fussy. They may have trouble feeding as well. They can pass the infection to their mothers. Once your breast becomes infected, the infection may pass back and forth between your baby's mouth and your breast. If your breasts are infected, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Your nipples may become itchy sensitive and red.
  • You may develop flaky or shiny skin on the area round your nipple.
  • You may experience pain while nursing.
  • You may have stabbing pains in the breast even after you have finished nursing.

  Why Does It Occur?

The fungus candida is naturally present in your digestive system and mouth but it rarely causes any problem unless it grows out of control. The fungus candida may multiply due to a number of reasons. For instance:

  • It may happen while taking a course of antibiotics.
  • It may be the result of taking inhaled corticosteroid medication to treat asthma.
  • It can be the result of wearing dentures especially if they do not fit properly.
  • It can be the result of having a dry mouth or poor oral hygiene.
  • It may happen while undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Young children, babies, and elderly people are at an increased risk of developing oral thrush. You are also likely to develop oral thrush in mouth if you have certain conditions, such as an iron deficiency, diabetes, an under active thyroid or vitamin B12 deficiency.

Treat Your Thrush in Mouth

Your doctor will determine the best treatment approach considering your age and overall health. They will try to use different treatment options to prevent the growth of the fungus. They may give you an oral antifungal medication, such as Fluconazole or ask you to use an antifungal lozenge that you need to keep in your mouth. The use of an antifungal mouthwash, such as Nystatin may also help. If you have a weak immune system due to AIDS or another condition, your doctor may give you an oral antifungal medication called itraconazole.

You can also take certain steps to treat and prevent the spread of oral thrush. For instance:

  • Use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. It should be soft enough to cause no harm to the lesions.
  • Be sure to replace your toothbrush daily until you are no longer infected.
  • Avoid using sprays or mouthwashes for some time.
  • Rinse your mouth often using a saline solution.
  • Pay attention to your diet to control blood sugar levels.

In case your breastfeeding infant is infected, it is important that both of you receive treatment. Your doctor may give your baby an antifungal medication, whereas you may have to use an antifungal cream to clear the infection from your breasts. It is important to rinse bottle nipples, pacifiers, and pieces of a breast pump to ensure it stays clean and safe.

Prevent It In the First Place

It is possible to treat your oral thrush, but you need to keep in mind that it can return in the future. Unless you have a healthy immune system, you may have to deal with recurrent infections. Therefore, it is better to take steps to prevent the infection in the first place. Here are a few steps to take:

  • Do not forget to rinse your mouth after each meal.
  • Be sure to brush your teeth at least two times a day using toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Go for regular dental checkups, especially if you wear dentures.
  • Do not sleep with your dentures and remove them before going to bed at night.
  • Clean dentures properly using soap and water and soak them in a mixture prepared using denture-cleaning tablets and water.
  • Use a soft brush to brush your tongue, gums, and inside your mouth.
  • See your dentist immediately if you think your dentures need fixing.
  • Do not smoke; consider quitting as soon as possible.
  • Work with your doctor to control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
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