Is Oral Thrush Alarming?

Oral Thrush, which is a mouth infection caused by yeast that's also known as candida fungus, typically occurs in babies and toddlers, although it can also affect older children and adults. For most babies and adults, this condition can easily be treated, so in that sense you don't have much to worry about it. You should only begin to worry if you or your child has a weak immune system. People with weakened immune system may find it a little hard to get this mouth infection treated. Here are bits and pieces of information that will help you get through this condition if you or anyone in the family develops it.

Candida Fungus is the root cause of oral thrush. There are small amounts of this yeast present in some parts of the body such as mouth, skin, and digestive tract.

The level of candida fungus is regulated by the other bacteria and microorganisms. Certain medical conditions, medications, and stress can throw off that balance and cause the yeast to grow uncontrollably, resulting in oral thrush.

Some of the medications that can put off the balance of microorganisms in the mouth include:
- corticosteroids
- birth control pills
- antibiotics

Meanwhile, certain illnesses can also lead to thrush. They are:
- cancer
- diabetes
- dry mouth
- HIV infection

People who smoke and wear ill-fitting dental appliance such as dentures are also prone to this mouth infection.

Symptoms
The most common sign of this mouth infection is the creamy white lesions in the mouth such as the tongue, inner cheeks, gums, tonsils, roof of the mouth, or back of the throat. The lesions look a lot like cottage cheese. They are painful and sometimes they can bleed when you brush your teeth.

In serious cases, these lesions can spread to the esophagus and bring pain or difficulty in swallowing, fever, and that feeling of having food stuck in the throat.

The infection can also spread to other parts of the body like the liver, skin and lungs.

Diagnosis
A dentist will diagnose this condition through mouth examination.
- He/she will analyze the white lesions present on your mouth, tongue or cheeks.
- He/she will lightly brush the lesions to find the red and tender area that are distinctive for this condition.
- To confirm the diagnosis, a microscopic examination of the tissue from the lesion will be performed.
- For cases wherein there is a spread of thrush in the esophagus, further tests such as endoscopy and X-rays are required.

Treatments
As mentioned earlier, those who are healthy can easily be treated for this condition. However, those with weakened immune system may experience severe symptoms and may find it a struggle to manage the condition.

- Dentists will usually advise antifungal medications to be taken for 10 to 14 days. Antifungal medications are available in the forms of liquids, tablets and lozenges.
- If an underlying medical condition is suspected, the dentist will recommend the patient to see a doctor for the treatment of that condition.

 


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