Causes, Symptoms, Home Remedies, & Treatment
People of any age can get a yeast infection in the mouth, especially if they are not really healthy. This infection is more likely to infect women and babies, but anyone can get it. This fungus is also called thrush, candida, candidiasis, and it is caused by the candida albicans fungus.
Oral Thrush SymptomsThrush can be seen as white patches on the inside of your mouth, throat, cheeks, and tongue. It is sometimes accompanied by pain. You may also have a sore throat and burning sensations in your mouth. It may look like cottage cheese and it will not brush off with a toothbrush.
When diagnosing thrush, a doctor or dentist will usually only need to look at it to be able to identify it. Some general questions about your health may also be asked. Tests are only necessary when it is not evident or if it does not respond to medication.
If a baby has thrush, the baby can pass it to the mother when she is breastfeeding. It can then be passed back and forth. When the mother has thrush in the breast, there will be sharp pain when breastfeeding, and the nipples will be painful with intense itching.
Causes of Oral ThrushThe fungus that causes thrush is normally found on the skin, in your intestines, and in your mouth. It is always there, but other bacteria will normally help to keep it under control.
When there is a problem with normal health, this fungus can grow out of control. Generally, it is when your immune system is not strong. This can be caused by:
Taking steroids (including inhalers)
Receiving chemotherapy or radiation
Have dry mouth
Have HIV or AIDS
You are an older adult
Had an organ transplant
Are a newborn.
Oral thrush is generally not contagious. It is part of the normal bacteria in your mouth and it is usually kept under control by other bacteria – unless the balance is upset. This means you are not likely to get oral thrush from kissing – unless your own immune system is weak.
If you have an oral yeast infection, there are some steps you can take to provide your own home treatment for thrush. These treatments include:
Regular brushing of your teeth
Avoid mouthwashes unless prescribed
Control your diabetes
Eat yogurt that is unsweetened
Rinse your mouth with salt water.
Other oral thrush remedies include using some herbs.
You can add the juice from a lemon to 1 cup of water (warm or cold). Drink it or rinse with it.
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory herb. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric paste to 1 cup of filtered water or milk. Add a dash of black pepper. Then heat it until warm and swish it in your mouth as you drink it.
TreatmentTeens and others with good health will not normally develop oral thrush. If they do, the doctor will look for other health problems.
If it is not treated, candidiasis can spread. It will first spread to your esophagus, then to other parts of your body. At this point, it is called invasive candidiasis, and it is the most common fungal infection in hospitals. It will usually mean long stays in a hospital, large costs, and undesirable outcomes. It is a serious condition because it will cause problems in your organs, such as your heart, brain, liver, and more. When it goes beyond the esophagus, it will likely be accompanied by a fever and you will have difficulty swallowing. When these symptoms are present, it is important to contact a doctor right away because it could become life-threatening.
Candida treatment will start out with medication – usually nystatin. This will usually be a liquid that is swished around the mouth and then swallowed. A lozenge may also be prescribed. It will be necessary to seek to control other health problems, such as diabetes, at the same time. The oral candidiasis fungi feed on the sugar in your bloodstream.
If this does not work well, then you will likely be prescribed an antifungal pill. This may be in conjunction with other medications. In most cases, you can be rid of candida in about 10 to 14 days when properly treated.
Preventing a Thrush InfectionThe best way to avoid thrush is to prevent it. The steps are not difficult and most anyone can follow them. You can reduce your risk by:
Maintaining good oral hygiene with brushing twice a day and flossing.
Eat unsweetened yogurt when taking antibiotics
After using a corticosteroid inhaler, rinse out your mouth.
Control your blood sugar levels.
Clean your dentures every day.
Quit smoking – it weakens your immune system.
If you get a vaginal infection, treat it quickly.
When you have an oral yeast infection, it is important to reduce foods that have sugar and yeast in them. This includes breads, beer, wine, soda, and more. The sugar will cause the yeast to grow.
Avoid dry mouth by staying hydrated. If necessary, get a saliva substitute. Dry mouth promotes bacterial growth and may also lead to more cavities and gum disease.
If you have an oral yeast infection and need an oral thrush treatment, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist can help you. He provides oral candidiasis treatment and complete oral care in his dental offices in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.