Doctor Verified

Oral Thrush- Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

The primary cause of oral thrush is bad habits like poor oral hygiene practices and smoking.

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Jan 22, 2023 12:30 IST
Oral Thrush- Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

You might have thrush if you see a peculiar white rash within your mouth. Also known as oral candidiasis, it is an infection brought on by the yeast-based candida fungus. Thrush can affect anyone, although it most frequently affects young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. To learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of oral thrush, the OnlyMyHealth editorial team talked to Dr Nihal Yadav, BDS (PGI Rohtak), Amayra Dental Clinic, Kaushik Enclave, Burari, Delhi, Former resident at Deen Dayal Hospital, Hari Nagar.

Causes Of Oral Thrush

Your mouth, digestive system, and skin contain trace amounts of the candida fungus. It should be there, and the other bacteria in your body usually keep it in check. But occasionally, certain conditions or medications can throw off the equilibrium. As a result, the fungus may spread rapidly. At that point, you have oral thrush.

Also Read: Poor Oral Health Can Lead To Chronic Diseases, Expert Warns

Bad Habits

Dr Nihal said, "The primary cause of oral thrush is certain bad habits people have, like those who are not thorough with their oral hygiene habits and smoking". 

Dry Mouth

People with a dry mouth condition are more prone to oral thrush. Dr Nihal said, "Most of the cleaning in our mouth is done by saliva. But in a dry mouth condition, saliva production is reduced, hampering the cleaning of the mouth and making people prone to oral thrush." This condition aggravates when a person smokes.

Not Maintaining Oral Hygiene During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the chances of oral thrush are higher, as there is an age-old but unsafe practice to avoid brushing and cleaning the mouth. He said, "There are age-old norms of not brushing teeth properly or avoiding brushing after the delivery in fear of malalignment of teeth. However, this a myth and women should keep their oral cavity clean during pregnancy to keep the risk of oral thrush at bay."

Symptoms Of Oral Thrush

The symptoms of oral thrush are readily visible. "Thrush forms white and slightly elevated patches on your teeth. These patches will not seem like regular deposits and feel like a separate attachment or a foreign body on the teeth that will not detach easily," said Dr Nihal.

Also Read: Symptoms and Treatment of Thrush in Pregnancy

Diagnosis Of Oral Thrush

As mentioned, oral thrush forms white, elevated patches; your dentist can easily spot it by looking in your mouth. For confirmation, the dentist would send the samples to a lab. When the fungal spread worsens, a culture of the throat is also taken.

Oral Thrush Treatments

In healthy individuals, the treatment of oral thrush is quite easy. Dr Nihal states, "It is a curable disease and is not something that should create panic. However, it is always better to take preventive measures before oral thrush develops. If the condition is not treated for a very long period, it may also lead to cancer, but this is a rare occurrence."

Here are some of the ways oral thrush can be prevented and treated.

Proper Oral Hygiene

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential to prevent the risk of oral thrush. People should use a tongue cleaner to eliminate food, bacteria, and other germs that could cause oral thrush.

Sugar-Free Gums For Dry Mouth

According to Dr Nihal, people with dry mouth conditions can be given sugar-free chewing gums to boost their saliva production. This is a preventive measure and should be done to prevent the chances of oral thrush in people with dry conditions.


Additionally, your dentist can prescribe some anti-fungal and fungicidal depending on the class of fungus and age of the person. In some cases, a person can also be kept on steroid therapy.