Thrush is an oral infection caused by the over growth of yeast in the lining of the mouth. More than half of all people have yeast present in the mouth at any given time, but they do not cause symptoms. It is only when the population of yeast takes over the natural microbial population of bacteria in the mouth; do thrush symptoms appear. Most often occurring in infants, medical terms for thrush include candidiasis and moniliasis.
What are thrush symptoms?
When an over abundance of yeast is in the mouth; white (sometimes yellow) patches appear in the mouth. When scraped, the area under the spots will bleed. Occasionally the mouth and the tongue will appear bright red. Thrush symptoms can cause burning and pain, especially when eating or drinking.
What increases the incidence of thrush symptoms?
- Infants have a predisposition to thrush symptoms and it is seen most frequently in this population.
- People who wear dentures, particularly if they do not fit properly. Almost all denture wearers will have yeast in their mouth.
- Taking antibiotics rids the body of its good bacteria that help keep yeast growth in check. When taking an antibiotic; thrush symptoms are more likely to occur.
- Other diseases such as diabetes, leukemia and AIDS can leave a person susceptible to yeast infection. Any disorder or treatment that causes a suppression of the immune system can allow yeast to grow rampant and cause thrush symptoms.
- Methamphetamine and other drug use can irritate the mouth and give yeast an opportunity to populate the mouth.
- Performing oral sex on someone who has a genital yeast infection can lead to a person contracting thrush symptoms.
What treatment is used for thrush symptoms?
A doctor will usually prescribe an anti fungal mouth rinse to use for thrush. Care should be taken to not swallow the solution and to spit it out after rinsing. If symptoms do not clear within a few days; an oral anti fungal medication may be needed. At home, over the counter remedies include rinsing the mouth with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide or vinegar. You should use a soft toothbrush while you have thrush symptoms if your regular toothbrush is too painful to use.
How can I prevent thrush symptoms?
- Pediatrician’s recommend giving an infant a small amount of sterilized water to clear milk from the mouth after feeding.
- Good oral hygiene will help clear yeast form the mouth so it does not get a chance to grow.
- Treat any cuts, abrasions or irrigation of the mouth promptly.
- Replace ill fitting dentures and clean existing dentures frequently.
Are there complications that are the result of thrush symptoms?
Generally, thrush clears up and does not pose further complications. In some instances, untreated thrush symptoms can lead to further infection of the internal organs of the body. The thrush can progress down the esophagus into the stomach and infect he gastrointestinal tract. It can also travel down the trachea (windpipe) into the lungs and cause respiratory infections and pneumonia. Both of these are serious and require physician’s treatment.