Oral yeast infection, a.k.a thrush is caused by a type of fungus or yeast called Candida albicans.
This fungus usually is present inside the mouth in a small number along with other kinds of good bacteria. When there is a disruption in this balance, the yeast finds a way to grow, eventually causing thrush.
How can Thrush be Indentified and who is at Risk?
There are several signs and symptoms which can help you indentify yeast infection in the mouth. Some of them include:
- White patches inside the mouth or on the tongue that may bleed when rubbed
- Soreness or redness in the mouth
- Cracks on the corner of the mouth, which are known as angular cheilitis
The risk of thrush may be increased when:
- A person suffers from HIV or AIDS or any other condition that can weaken the immune system
- When a person is on chemotherapy
- When a person is consuming antibiotics, corticosteroids or immunosupportive drugs
- If a person inhales corticosteroids for asthma
- If a person is very old or very young
- Wearing dentures
- Having oral sexual contact with a person who suffers from yeast infection
The infection usually does not affect infants and does not take a serious shape until it persists for more than a week or two. Infection clears up on its own if it affects an infant.
Sometimes heavy smoking habits can cause thrush because the smoke inhaled can irritate the surface tissue lining of mouth. This makes it easier for yeast and other organisms to thrive.
Diagnosis of Thrush and its Treatment
Yeast infection can be diagnosed by a health care provider by looking the characteristics like velvety white lesions in the mouth or on the tongue.
If a doubt arises regarding the diagnosis, some material may be scrapped off from the mouth gently and examined under a microscope or sent to a laboratory for a culture.
The treatment for thrush consists of usage anti-fungal mouthwash or lozenges for 5 to 10 days.
The most effective way of preventing thrush could be maintaining a good oral hygiene. Following are some important tips by the American Dental Association that can help you protect our mouth from yeast infection.
- Clean your dentures properly and regularly and don’t forget to remove them before going to bed
- Yeast can thrive in dry mouth conditions. Thus, using a saliva supplement can help
- If thrush has been caused by an underlying condition like diabetes, try to keep it under control
- Take anti-fungal medications regularly as prescribed by the dentist or doctor
The infection may not be dreadful in its initial stages but, before it becomes serious, it is advisable to prevent it.
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