If you begin to notice a strange white rash inside your mouth, then you may have contracted a condition known as oral thrush. Oral thrush is an infection caused by the candida fungus, better known as yeast. Anyone can get thrush but it is common in babies and toddlers. However, older adults and people with weakened immune systems may catch thrush as well.
What is oral thrush
It is important to note that small amounts of candida fungus are located in your mouth, digestive tract and skin. However, bacteria within your body are supposed to keep this fungus under control. When someone takes a certain medication such as antibiotics or steroids, it can cause a disturbance in the balance of fungus and bacteria within your body. This can cause the fungus to grow out of control and can lead to oral thrush.
There are symptoms associated with oral thrush. White, slightly raised areas within the mouth (usually the tongue or inner cheeks) are common signs that thrush is developing. These areas can also appear on the roof of your mouth or the back of your throat and give off the appearance of cottage cheese. These raised areas can be painful and bleed slightly when you scrape or brush your teeth. If you have difficulty swallowing or pain when eating, contact a specialist or doctor as soon as possible.
The fungus that begins in your mouth can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs, liver and skin. Most notably, this happens within people with cancer or a sexually transmitted infection that has weakened the immune system. When you go see a specialist or dentist, oral thrush is quite easy to examine and diagnose. It may also be possible that your doctor or specialist will request a tiny sample of the spot for lab testing. If the fungus is present, be aware that you may have to conduct other tests such as X-rays or an endoscopy.
Luckily, oral thrush is easy to treat within healthy children in adults. People with weakened immune systems may have a harder time dealing with the worsening symptoms. A prescription of antifungal medication will generally subside the thrush. The symptoms associated with thrush are also symptoms of other infections and diseases. Thus, your doctor may have you run other tests and diagnostics to ensure that oral thrush is the sole problem.
To prevent thrush, ensure that you are practicing good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily can ensure that no additional bacterium enters and inflames the area. Regular dental checkups can also ensure that you are up to date with any additional dental issues. Regardless of having thrush or not, you should have your teeth cleaned and examined by a dentist at least every six months.
Do not overuse mouthwash or sprays as this can upset the normal balance of bacteria within the mouth and damage your gums in the long run. Last but not least, limit foods that contain sugar and yeast as this can cause additional yeast growth that will not help your infection at all.
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