Diagnosis Of Oral Thrush
Your doctor may be able to diagnose oral thrush simply by examining your mouth for the characteristic lesions that it causes.
In some cases, your doctor may take a biopsy of the affected area to confirm the diagnosis. To perform a biopsy, they will scrape off a small portion of the lesion from your mouth. The sample will then be sent to a laboratory to be tested for C. albicans.
If your doctor suspects that you have oral thrush in your esophagus, they may use a throat swab culture or endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.
To perform a throat swab culture, your doctor uses a cotton swab to take a tissue sample from the back of your throat. They then send this sample to a laboratory for testing.
To perform endoscopy, your doctor uses a thin tube with a light and camera attached to it. They insert this endoscope through your mouth and into your esophagus to examine it. They may also remove a sample of tissue for analysis.
To treat oral thrush, your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medications:
- fluconazole , an oral antifungal medication
- clotrimazole , an antifungal medication thats available as a lozenge
- nystatin , an antifungal mouthwash that you can swish in your mouth or swab in your babys mouth
- itraconazole , an oral antifungal medication thats used to treat people who dont respond to other treatments for oral thrush and people with HIV
- amphotericin B , a medication thats used to treat severe cases of oral thrush
Helping Your Child’s Oral Thrush At Home
You can help your child’s oral thrush to heal by:
- offering regular milk feeds – you may need to offer more if they are not taking as much as usual
- feeding them bland foods – spicy or acidic foods could sting their mouth
- keeping their hands clean so that the infection does not spread
- sterilising any soothers or dummies regularly, as well as any toys they put in their mouth, such as teething rings
- washing your hands after changing nappies and before any feeds
Oral Thrush And Breastfeeding
According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, it is possible to contract thrush when breastfeeding.
When a person has cracked or damaged nipples, they may be at risk of developing a candida fungus. The fungus can travel from the breast to the baby, causing a yeast infection.
People who breastfeed or infants who are taking antibiotics are more at risk of developing a yeast infection.
Some signs of a yeast infection in the breasts include:
- new pain in both nipples or breasts after breastfeeding
- severe pain that lasts up to an hour after each feed
A person can take medication to treat the infection and continue to breastfeed.
Many factors may increase a persons risk of developing an oral yeast infection.
, a person can help prevent oral yeast infections by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing the teeth twice a day.
It is also important to use an antifungal and antibacterial mouthwash and rinses.
People who use inhaled corticosteroid treatments can reduce the risk of developing an oral yeast infection by rinsing their mouth with water or mouthwash after each use.
People with dentures can remove their dentures overnight and soak them in chlorhexidine solution or white vinegar. This removes the fungus from the dentures.
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Preventing An Oral Yeast Infection
First and foremost, make sure youre taking out any removable prosthetics like dentures or orthodontic retainers and cleaning them thoroughly every day. If its a denture, dont sleep in it. At all.
Second, practice good oral hygiene and nursing hygiene. Clean your mouth regularly, brush your teeth twice a day, and floss once a day. For infants, wipe their mouth with a clean, soft washcloth after feedings or at least a few times a day. Be sure youre throwing out old toothbrushes or disinfecting them whenever youre sick.
Third, consider taking probiotics, especially if youre on an antibiotic regimen because of another illness or a weakened immune system. Antibiotics can kill off the normal oral flora in your mouth, allowing other strains of bacteria to run rampant. Oral probiotics can help keep things stable and reduces the risk of developing oral thrush and other health conditions.
Avoid any DIY oral products like homemade hydrogen peroxide rinses and things like that. Otherwise, you could be dealing with oral thrush and black hairy tongue.
Finally, make sure you take all medications as directed by your dentist or family physician. Problems like drug resistance or too many antibiotics can really throw off your mouth, plus make it more difficult to treat future infections. Even if youre feeling better, take the remaining amount of medication as its prescribed.
Skin And Nail Fungal Infections
Just like in your gut, there are bacteria on your skin that prevent Candida from growing uncontrollably.
All bacteria thrive in different conditions, including varying temperature, moisture or acidity levels.
Thats why a change in the environment on your skin can allow Candida to overproduce.
For example, cosmetics, soaps and moisturizers can alter skin conditions, especially the antibacterial varieties.
While skin candidiasis can affect any part of the body, areas that are warm and moist, such as the armpits and groin, are particularly prone to infection.
Itching and a visible rash are the two most common symptoms of skin fungal infections.
An overgrowth of Candida can cause conditions like athletes foot, ringworm and toenail fungus .
While not life threatening, skin fungal infections can be very uncomfortable and significantly decrease quality of life.
Summary: An overgrowth of Candida on the skin can cause conditions like athletes foot, ringworm and nail fungal infections.
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Who Develops Oral Thrush
Small numbers of Candida commonly live on healthy skin and in a healthy mouth. They are usually harmless. Healthy people do not normally develop oral thrush. However, certain situations or conditions may cause an overgrowth of Candida which can lead to oral thrush. These include:
- Being a baby. Oral thrush is quite common in young babies.
- Wearing dentures, especially if they are not taken out at night, not kept clean, or do not fit well and rub on the gums.
- A course of antibiotic medicine. Antibiotics will kill harmless germs which live in the mouth. They do not kill Candida which may multiply more easily if there are fewer bacteria around.
- Excessive use of antibacterial mouthwash .
- Taking steroid tablets or inhalers.
- Having a dry mouth due to a lack of saliva. This may occur as a side-effect from certain medicines . It may also occur following radiotherapy to the head or neck, or as a symptom of Sjögren’s syndrome.
- Having diabetes.
- Having a poor immune system. For example, if you are taking medicines that suppress your immune system, if you have certain cancers, or if you have HIV/AIDS.
- Being frail or in generally poor health.
- Smoking. Smokers are more likely to develop oral thrush.
Oral thrush is not usually contagious. You cannot usually pass on oral thrush to other people.
Adults And Children Over 12 Months
Signs of oral thrush include:
- white patches or spots in your mouth that cannot be rubbed off
- spots that join together to form larger patches – these can become yellow
- if you wipe off a white spot, it leaves a red patch that can bleed
- red or sore area under your dentures
- red and sore mouth without white spots – especially after taking antibiotics or steroids
- food tasting different to the way it usually does
You might have other symptoms if youre an adult, including:
- cracks at the corners of your mouth
- an unpleasant taste in your mouth
- pain inside your mouth – for example, a sore tongue or sore gums
- difficulty eating and drinking
Not all babies with oral thrush will have symptoms.
Signs of oral thrush in babies include:
- a white coating on your baby’s tongue that cannot be rubbed off – it can look like milk but a milk coating will come off easily
- white spots in your baby’s mouth
- not wanting to feed
- dribbling more than usual if it is sore for them to swallow saliva
If you breastfeed your baby when they have oral thrush, you can get a thrush infection of your nipple or areola . This is called nipple thrush.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Speak to your GP if you develop symptoms of oral thrush. If left untreated, the symptoms will often persist and your mouth will continue to feel uncomfortable.
In severe cases that are left untreated, there is also a risk of the infection spreading further into your body, which can be serious.
Your GP will usually be able to diagnose oral thrush simply by examining your mouth. Sometimes they may also recommend blood tests to look for certain conditions associated with oral thrush, such as diabetes and nutritional deficiencies.
Yeast Infection In Mouth Caused By Local Issue In The Mouth
Sometimes, the yeast infection in the mouth is caused by a local issue in the mouth. This is usually caused by an underlying condition that created an imbalance in the environment of the mouth, which enabled the candida yeast to grow. In these cases, no other yeast infection symptoms are present in other areas of the body.
These scenarios are also well documented in the medical literature. Common risk factors may include:
- People who wear dentures .
- Impaired salivary gland function, also known as Xerostomia .
- Medications that cause dry mouth or medical conditions that cause dry mouth .
- Poor oral hygiene .
- Mercury amalgam fillings .
If any of the following are related to you, we highly suggest that you should consult with your dentist as these may be the cause of your yeast in mouth issues:
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Causes Of Oral Thrush
Oral thrush and other yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans .
Its normal for a small amount of C. albicans to live in your mouth, without causing harm. When your immune system is working properly, beneficial bacteria in your body help keep C. albicans under control.
But if your immune system is compromised or the balance of microorganisms in your body is disrupted, the fungus can grow out of control.
You may develop an overgrowth of C. albicans that causes oral thrush if you take certain medications that reduce the number of friendly microorganisms in your body, such as antibiotics.
Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can also damage or kill healthy cells. This makes you more susceptible to oral thrush and other infections.
Conditions that weaken your immune system, such as leukemia and HIV, also increase the risk of developing oral thrush. Oral thrush is a common opportunistic infection in people with HIV.
Diabetes can contribute to oral thrush as well. Uncontrolled diabetes weakens your immune system and causes high blood sugar levels. This creates favorable conditions for C. albicans to grow.
Thrush And Yeast Infections
Thrush is an infection caused by a fungus called candida . Candida is naturally present in the mouth and body and is usually harmless. But, if conditions are right, it can grow out of control and cause an infection.
- A candida infection in the mouth is called oral thrush in the diaper area, a yeast diaper rash in other places on or in the body, a yeast infection.
- Candida is the same fungus that causes vaginal yeast infections.
- Oral thrush is more common in infants and toddlers, but older children can get it too.
- Thrush is contagious and can be passed to others.
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Risk Factors And Causes
Most cases of systemic candida overgrowth are caused by common risk factors. These risks are well documented in the medical literature, with the possible connection to the yeast infection in the mouth suggested by many studies. These common risk factors and causes may include :
- Newborns babies, especially less than 1 month old.
- Antibiotics or corticosteroids.
The bottom line: if any of these causes and risk factors apply to you and you have multiple yeast infection symptoms, the yeast in mouth may be caused by a systemic candida overgrowth in your body. This needs to be considered during the treatment, which is covered in the treatment section.
Why Is Thrush A Concern During Breastfeeding
Because infants are more at risk, getting or giving thrush during breastfeeding is a worry with many moms. Its a common breastfeeding problem, and in some cases treatment can be tricky.
Babies with thrush can pass the infection to their mothers. When the infection in a babys mouth leads to sore throat and pain, they cry and are irritable during feeding. Mothers may also develop thrush infections around the breasts and nipples and transmit it to their babies.
When both mom and baby develop thrush they should be treated for the condition at the same time to prevent an ongoing exchange of the infection.
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For A Yeast Diaper Rash:
- Change the diaper as soon as your baby pees or poops. You may also want to change the diaper once during the night.
- Rinse your babys bottom after each diaper change. Gently clean the diaper area from front to back and inside the skin folds with warm water and a soft washcloth .
- Try to avoid baby wipes, but especially those with alcohol, propylene glycol, and fragrances.
- Use mild soap and water only if the poop does not come off easily.
- Avoid scrubbing or rubbing. It can damage the skin more.
- If the rash is severe, use a squirt bottle of water to clean and rinse without rubbing. Or you can soak your babys bottom in a tub of warm water after each diaper change.
- Pat the skin dry and let it air dry fully.
- Apply a thin layer of antifungal cream. Most should be used only 2 to 3 times a day.
- You can also use an over-the-counter skin barrier or zinc oxide cream over the antifungal cream on the babys bottom and in the skin folds. Apply a thick layer each time the diaper is changed. Popular ones are petroleum jelly or a cream with zinc oxide like Desitin®, Triple Paste®, A+D®, or Balmex®. These creams do not have to be completely washed off with each diaper change.
- Do not use steroidal creams, corn starch, talc, or baby powder on your babys bottom.
- Let your baby play or nap with their diaper off. The air helps dry and heal the rash .
- Avoid rubber pants or plastic liners over the diaper.
- Put the diaper on loosely so it does not rub against the skin as much.
When Thrush Mouth Is Caused By Candida Overgrowth In The Body
When the yeast infection in the mouth is caused by a systemic candida overgrowth in the body, the treatment focus is on helping the body to naturally balance the systemic overgrowth overgrowth. A critical point in the treatment is to identify the root cause of the systemic overgrowth. There are many different issues that can cause candida overgrowth, and as such the needed treatment can be completely different.
For a complete list of candida overgrowth causes, see candida overgrowth causes.
The candida overgrowth treatment plan is designed to create a natural environment in the body where candida cant overgrow while optimizing the bodys ability to repair the damage caused by the overgrowth:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Oral Thrush
- The classical symptom is white spots that develop in your mouth. The spots may join together to form larger spots called plaques. They may become yellow or grey. If you wipe off a spot, the underlying tissue may be red but it is not usually sore or painful.
- Often there are no white spots. Areas in your mouth may just become red and sore. This more typically occurs if you develop oral thrush after taking antibiotics or steroids.
- Denture wearers may develop an area of persistent redness under a denture.
- You may develop sore, cracked, red areas just outside your mouth. This mainly affects the angle where the upper and lower lips meet .
- Some mild oral thrush infections are painless. However, sometimes oral thrush is quite sore and can make eating and drinking uncomfortable. Some babies with oral thrush may drool saliva, or not be able to feed properly because of soreness.
- Taste can be affected in some people with oral thrush.
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Candida species are found in the oral cavity of immunocompetent individuals as a commensal population, and a shift to pathological activity is triggered by a decrease in the host’s immunity, e.g., extremes of age, immunocompromising diseases, long-term steroids, and antibiotic treatment. It is essential to emphasize that oral candidiasis is not a single entity it does not only present as acute pseudomembranous candidiasis, commonly known as oral thrush, but erythematous forms also exist.
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When To Seek Help
For most people, oral thrush isnt a serious problem. If your immune system is compromised, however, it may spread and become a systemic infection.
Contact your doctor right away at the first signs of oral thrush if you have a compromised immune system.
Other conditions mimic oral thrush, such as oral hairy leukoplakia and lichen planus. See your doctor for a proper diagnosis before self-treating.
Since most home remedies have been researched on animals, its a good idea to talk with your doctor before trying them.
Breastfed babies with oral thrush may transmit the infection to their mothers breasts. If youre breastfeeding and develop redness around your nipples or pain, see your doctor.
Many home remedies arent appropriate for infants and children. Talk with your pediatrician before using.