Oral

Thrush Treatment

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is a fungal infection caused by the overgrowth of a type of yeast called Candida in the mouth and throat. It manifests as creamy, white lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, and the roof of the mouth, which can be painful and may bleed when scraped. When left untreated, oral thrush can lead to discomfort, difficulty swallowing, and a burning sensation in the mouth. In severe cases or in individuals with weakened immune systems, the infection can spread to the esophagus, causing more serious complications. 

Oral thrush may not be noticed initially, sometimes arising asymptomatically before symptoms become noticeable. When they do, the result typically occurs as:

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Lesions: Creamy, white, or yellowish raised lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, and sometimes the throat.

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Discomfort: Pain, soreness, or a burning sensation in the affected areas, which can make eating and swallowing painful.

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Loss of Taste: Changes in taste perception, often described as a metallic or unpleasant taste.

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Redness and Cracking: Redness, cracking, or bleeding of the affected areas, especially if the lesions are scraped or irritated.

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Cottony Feeling: A cottony or dry feeling in the mouth.

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Difficulty Swallowing: Difficulty swallowing due to the presence of lesions in the throat or esophagus.

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Loss of Appetite: A decreased appetite, especially if eating is painful.

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Medication such as inhaled steroids, antibiotics that disturb the natural microorganism balance in the body

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Dentures can cause dry mouth which can in turn result in oral thrush

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Uncontrolled diabetes encourages the growth of yeast (candida)

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Weakened immunity from certain conditions and treatment such as cancer, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDs

Oral thrush is typically diagnosed through a visual examination by a healthcare provider or dentist. They will look for characteristic white or creamy lesions in the mouth and throat. In some cases, a swab of the affected area may be taken for laboratory testing to confirm the presence of the Candida yeast and rule out other potential causes of similar symptoms.

Oral thrush is treatable. The most common treatment for oral thrush involves antifungal medications, typically in the form of oral lozenges, mouth rinses, or oral tablets. These medications work to eliminate the Candida yeast overgrowth causing the infection. In addition to antifungal treatment, addressing underlying factors, such as improving oral hygiene, managing underlying medical conditions, and minimizing factors that contribute to a weakened immune system, can help prevent the recurrence of oral thrush.

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Fluconazole

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Nystatin

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Clotrimazole

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Miconazole

Healthcare providers typically encourage the use of antifungal medications for treating oral thrush as it is the best form of treatment. However, home remedies are effective at reducing symptoms and allowing for more comfort until the condition is gone, thanks to the treatment. The most common oral thrush remedies include: 

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Baking soda mouth rinsing

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Drinking lemon water or juice

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Eating probiotic yogurt

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Gargling salt water

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Swishing apple cider vinegar

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Taking vitamin C

Ongoing management of oral thrush with treatment involves completing the prescribed course of antifungal medication, typically oral lozenges, mouth rinses, or tablets, as directed by a healthcare provider to fully clear the infection. Additionally, maintaining good oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing of teeth and tongue, flossing, and using antimicrobial mouthwash can help prevent recurrence. Daily gargling of salt water and baking soda while consuming lemon water, probiotic yogurt, and vitamin C will support the treatment. 

To prevent oral thrush, you can take the following steps:

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Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth and tongue regularly with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily to remove food particles and plaque.

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Rinse Mouth After Using Inhalers: If you use corticosteroid inhalers for respiratory conditions, rinse your mouth with water after each use to reduce the risk of oral thrush.

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Limit Sugary Foods: Minimize the consumption of sugary and yeast-containing foods and drinks, as these can promote the growth of Candida yeast.

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Manage Underlying Health Conditions: Properly manage any underlying medical conditions, especially those that weaken the immune system, with guidance from your healthcare provider.

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Use Probiotics: Some people find that consuming probiotics, which support healthy gut flora, can help prevent yeast overgrowth in the mouth.

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Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit your dentist regularly for dental check-ups and cleanings to maintain oral health.

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