Thrush which is also called candidiasis, is a fungal infection which occurs when the yeast Candida Albicans reproduce a large number on the lining of the mouth. Oral thrush can affect anyone, it is more likely to occur in babies and older adults because they have reduced immunity, people with suppressed immune systems, example people on chemotherapy or certain health conditions like AIDS or people who take certain medications. It is also seen in denture wearers.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Thrush
- Creamy white lesions on your tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, gums.
- Slightly raised lesions with a cottage cheese-like appearance.
- Burning or soreness.
- Slightly bleeding.
- Loss of taste.
- Pain and redness under dentures.
What causes Oral Thrush?
- It occurs when C. Albicans the organism that causes oral thrush begins to grow out of control. Normally the immune system uses the ‘good’ bacteria in the body to keep C. Albicans and other ‘bad’ organisms under control. When this balance is disrupted harmful bacteria begin to grow and multiply causing infection.
- Certain medications also weaken the immune system thereby making the harmful bacteria cause harm to the body also chemotherapy and radiation can kill healthy cells which makes you more susceptible to oral thrush and other infections.
- Diseases like Diabetes Mellitus, Leukemia, HIV can make you susceptible to oral thrush as the immune system has been compromised.
- People who wear dentures are at risk of having oral thrush if the dentures are not properly maintained.
How do you prevent Oral Thrush?
- Good oral hygiene is essential.
- Clean your dentures to remove candida and remove them at bedtime.
- If the cause is dry mouth, saliva substitutes may be helpful.
- Thrush is uncommon in healthy people so if thrush develops, see your doctor to determine if further evaluation is needed to check for an underlying medical condition or other cause.