Oral Thrush… A Simple Guide

Today, we uncover the mysteries of oral thrush. Have you ever experienced those pesky white patches that appear uninvited in your mouth? You may have encountered the notorious oral thrush. But fret not, because we're here to shed some light on this bumpy road.

What is oral thrush?

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is a fungal infection that occurs in the mouth. It is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans. This can lead to white patches on the tongue, inner cheeks, and other areas of the mouth.

How do you get oral thrush?

Oral thrush can occur when the natural balance of bacteria and fungi in your mouth is disrupted. Factors that can contribute to its development include a weakened immune system, taking antibiotics, having diabetes, wearing dentures, or using certain medications.

How do you know if you have oral thrush?

Common signs of oral thrush include white lesions or patches in your mouth that may be painful or uncomfortable. These patches can sometimes bleed when scraped or brushed with a toothbrush. You may also have a cotton-like feeling in your mouth or a bad taste.

Can oral thrush be passed on through kissing?

While oral thrush is not typically contagious, the fungus Candida albicans can be present in the mouths of healthy individuals. Kissing alone is usually not enough to spread the infection, but if the immune system is weakened or there are other risk factors, transmission may be possible.

How is oral thrush treated?

Oral thrush is often treated with antifungal medications in the form of lozenges, mouth rinses, or oral tablets. It's important to complete the full course of treatment to ensure the infection clears up completely. Additionally, addressing any underlying conditions or risk factors that contributed to the infection may be necessary.

Can I treat oral thrush naturally?

While there are various home remedies and natural treatments suggested for oral thrush, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting any self-treatment. Natural remedies like saltwater rinses or probiotic yoghurt may provide some relief, but they should not replace medical treatment.

How can I prevent oral thrush?

To reduce the risk of developing oral thrush, maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption. If you wear dentures, ensure they are properly cleaned and fitted. Managing underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, is also important.

Can babies get oral thrush?

Yes, oral thrush can affect infants and young children. It can be passed on from an infected mother during breastfeeding or through other means of contact. If you notice white patches in your baby's mouth, it's important to consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Can oral thrush affect other parts of the body?

While oral thrush primarily affects the mouth, it can potentially spread to other parts of the body in individuals with weakened immune systems. In rare cases, if left untreated, the infection can enter the bloodstream and cause systemic (whole-body) candidiasis. Seeking medical attention is crucial if you suspect this complication.

How long does it take for oral thrush to go away?

With proper treatment, oral thrush usually clears up within a few weeks. However, the exact duration can vary depending on individual factors and the severity of the infection. It's important to complete the full course of treatment as prescribed by your healthcare provider, even if symptoms improve before the treatment is finished.