Oral candidiasis, also commonly referred to as oral thrush, can be described as a yeast infection caused by the genus Candida. The disease affects the tongue and the mucus membranes present in the mouth. The most common type of yeast that leads to the infection is the Candida Alibicans but in some cases, Candida Glabrata or Candida Tropicalis can also cause the infection.
In case you get infected with oral candidiasis, creamy white lesions will probably appear on your tongue and your inner cheeks. This can be quite disturbing if you arent already familiar with the condition, but it isnt a serious cause for concern. These lesions can be very painful and may also bleed a bit, because of friction, or if they are scraped by any food item. It is not uncommon for oral thrush to spread to the roof of the mouth, as well as the gums, the tonsils and the back of the neck.
Oral candidiasis can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in those who wear dentures. This fungal infection is also highly prevalent in children and babies as their immune systems may not have developed completely. Elderly people are susceptible to this condition too, in case of weakened immunity or, even if they are on inhaled corticosteroids. In case you are suffering from diabetes or anemia, you are at a much higher risk of getting oral candidiasis. Cigarette smoking too could be one of the factors that trigger this infection off.
For those individuals who are healthy, oral thrush is no more than a minor concern. However, for those who have compromised immunity, the development of oral thrush could be a huge problem, which may be difficult to control. Moreover, simple activities like eating, drinking, talking and brushing your teeth may also become a painful task. Moreover, when you swallow anything while suffering from oral thrush, the infection could spread to your stomach and intestines. Therefore, getting adequate nutrition is a bit difficult for those who have oral candidiasis. In addition to the digestive tract, the infection could also spread to the lungs or liver. This is why it is important to seek medical treatment and control the symptoms as early as possible.
In the initial stages, you may not recognize the symptoms for oral candidiasis, as they are fairly subtle. In many people, these signs develop rather suddenly. Yet, it is very common for the symptoms of oral candidiasis to last for a long period of time. Given below are some of the most commonly seen symptoms:
In some severe instances, the lesions may spread towards the esophagus, causing you to feel that food is stuck in your throat or difficulties in swallowing.
The symptoms for oral candidiasis may be a bit different. In addition to the white-colored lesions, most babies appear excessively irritable because of the pain and may also face difficulties in feeding. Those babies who are being breastfed could pass the fungal infection on to their mothers and thereafter the infection may just be passed on, back and forth, between the mother and the baby. In case the mother contract the fungal infection because of oral thrush, she is likely to experience redness, itchiness, soreness, flaky skin and pain around the breasts and nipples.
It is absolutely essential to consult a doctor, as soon as any of the symptoms of oral candidiasis become evident.
Candida infections like oral thrush occur when a persons immune system becomes weakened by diseases or specific kinds of drugs. Prednisone and antibiotics usually disturb the balance of the naturally occurring microorganisms in the body. The immune system usually repels any harmful organisms like bacteria, fungi and viruses that may invade the body. It maintains a balance between good and bad microbes that may inhibit the body. However, at times, the protective mechanism of the immune system may fail, which leads to infections like oral thrush. In many cases, illnesses can cause a person to suffer from this infection too. Some of the most common illnesses that could trigger off oral thrush include:
The treatment of oral thrush may vary, based on the age, medical condition and overall health of the person, who is infected. Health care providers may prescribe antifungal medication, but there are few side effects that have been associated with them. Fortunately, there are many simple remedies too that can help improve oral thrush. Given below are some of the most widely recommended home and natural remedies for oral thrush:
Alternate practitioners usually advise people to follow a specific diet for oral candidiasis, to control the growth of bacteria in the mouth, as well as the rest of the body. Patients suffering from oral thrush need to restrict the intake of sugar to a great extent, because it encourages the overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. Hence, any kind of candies, chocolate, cookies, pastries, ice cream, pudding, or other desserts should be strictly avoided, or preferably eliminated from the diet, till the thrush lasts. It is also important to stay away from any food item that contains yeast, especially bread, or any type of fermented food. A diet for oral thrush should also be devoid of alcohol (beer), mushrooms, cheese and tomato paste. Given below are the food items that should be strictly avoided in case of oral thrush:
Contrary to what a lot of people believe, fruit is also high in natural sugar and can therefore support the growth of yeast. This is why, it is important to stay away from fresh, canned or frozen fruit, as well as any kind of fruit juice.
Although oral thrush is not a particularly serious condition, it can lead to pain, discomfort and a lot of complications. Therefore, it is best to take the appropriate steps to prevent the infection. Fortunately, there are several simple steps that can help reduce the risks of oral thrush.
People who wear dentures or have diabetes are more prone to this infection and therefore, should schedule regular dental checkups. The dentist can also recommend a dental routine which can reduce the chances of developing thrush.
It is also advisable for those who suffer from compromised immunity, to check with a doctor for ways to prevent candida infections.