Oral Thrush: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
One of the ailments that affect the health of the oral cavity is oral thrush – an infectious disease caused by yeast fungi of the genus Candida. As a rule, these organisms are present in small quantities among the beneficial microflora of the intestines, nasopharynx, or on the skin of 70-80% of people. They do not cause discomfort as long as their reproduction is limited by the balance of other microorganisms and the immune system. Problems only arise when the fungi multiply excessively or break through the natural barriers of the skin and mucous membranes, causing thrush.
Often the oral yeast infection develops on the inside of the cheeks or lips. But the throat, tongue, or palate may also be affected. Also, this ailment can pass from one form to another, or occur on its own. In practice, acute and chronic thrush in the mouth occurs. The first develops rapidly, the second is characterized by a sluggish course and extensive symptoms, periodic relapses, and inflammation.
Symptoms of Oral Thrush
It is important to remember that if pain, burning, and dryness are felt in the mouth, and a yeast infection on the tongue appears, then this is a reason to consult a dentist. Symptoms of the thrush vary depending on the degree of development of inflammation, the characteristics of the patient's body, and his age.
The disease in adults begins to manifest itself with burning and dryness in the larynx. A white coating appears on the mucous membrane of the mouth and tongue (the gums, palate, tonsils, and throat can also be affected). With the self-removal of plaque, reddened areas are visible, which may bleed a little. The patient complains of loss of taste sensations, and metallic taste. With chronic inflammation, the patient dries in the mouth, there is pain when swallowing. With the development of the thrush on the tongue, additional signs join:
- mucous swells;
- eating causes pain and discomfort;
- the patient loses his appetite;
- swollen lymph nodes;
- yeast infection in children is often accompanied by fever;
- when the infection enters the intestines, abdominal pain and digestive problems appear.
In acute or severe forms of thrush in the throat, there is also a general deterioration in well-being: nausea, weakness, headache, and a slight increase in body temperature. If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor.
Oral Thrush Causes
Oral candidiasis can be the first sign that there are big problems in the body. For the fungus to actively multiply, special conditions are required. As a rule, those who ignore oral hygiene face fungal infection in the mouth. Increase the risk of caries, gum disease. All this in combination has a detrimental effect on the protective barrier of our body.
Also, the development of the thrush in the mouth can be affected by the presence of the following diseases:
- AIDS virus;
- the presence of malignant tumors;
- vitamin deficiency;
- the use of hormonal drugs;
- chronic pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract;
- metabolic disorders;
- severe infectious diseases;
- recent surgery.
There are specific reasons for the development of candida in the mouth. For example, thrush can form after long-term antibiotic treatment. The use of such strong medicines adversely affects not only the harmful microflora but also capable of killing the beneficial ones. This causes an imbalance and promotes the reproduction of the fungus.
Another cause of oral thrush can be the presence of bridges. However, there is a risk only if the patient does not comply with hygiene standards. Therefore, it is important to carefully disinfect as a preventive measure against candidiasis. In addition, do not forget to remove the prosthesis at night. Otherwise, the disease will progress very actively. Also, during sleep, the prosthesis can provoke microdamage, which affects not only the mucosa but also the state of the enamel.
In addition to endogenous (internal) causes of oral candidiasis, exogenous (external) ones are isolated. These are chemical and mechanical conditions that lead to a violation of the integrity of the skin and oral mucosa. Among them: plaque and calculus, pointed edges of teeth, uncomfortable dentures, chemical pollution, etc.
Treatments for Thrush in the Mouth
Proper diagnosis is important in choosing effective treatment. To confirm the diagnosis, the dentist performs a visual examination of the oral cavity and also listens to the patient's complaints. In addition, the patient will also have to pass some tests in the dental clinic, which include:
- scraping from the outer shell of the mucous membrane;
- blood sugar test;
- clinical blood test.
After receiving the results of the laboratory test, the doctor will be able to make the correct appointments. Indeed, often yeast infection in the mouth is a side effect of diseases such as diabetes, leukemia, and gastrointestinal diseases. It is important to remember that effective oral candidiasis treatments involve addressing the underlying cause. It is very important to sanitize the oral cavity: to cure teeth destroyed by caries, to remove non-viable teeth and roots that can no longer be restored. These are chronic foci of inflammation, so simultaneous sanitation will shorten the treatment time. Tartar and plaque should also be removed. This is especially true in cases of candidal stomatitis associated with trauma to the gums with sharp edges of hard dental deposits.
In order not only to reduce inflammation of the mucosa but also to prevent relapses, the treatment of thrush in the mouth in adults and children is carried out only in a complex manner. Therapy involves taking several drugs at once:
- antimycotics – antifungal drugs for topical use;
- local antiseptic solutions for rinsing and irrigation (to prevent the addition of an additional infection);
- antihistamines (recommended for the development of an allergy to the activity of fungi);
- vitamin complexes (to eliminate the deficiency of substances in the body).
To speed up recovery, the patient will have to follow a special diet, during which the amount of sweet, spicy, and sour foods should be limited, with an emphasis on warm and semi-liquid dishes with a neutral taste. It is necessary for the restoration of the oral mucosa and pharynx.
During oral thrush treatment, it is important to strictly follow the doctor's prescriptions, including the duration of therapy. It should not be terminated prematurely, even if there are no more visible signs of the disease and the patient's condition has improved. Stopping oral candidiasis medication can cause the fungal infection to recur and even spread to other areas.
How to Prevent Oral Candidiasis
Oral candidiasis can be a very unpleasant disease that will make life difficult. However, there are ways to prevent its occurrence. To do this, dentists recommend following a few simple rules.
First, be sure to maintain oral hygiene. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day, and use dental floss and brushes for those hard-to-reach places between your teeth. In addition, rinsing your mouth after eating is also important. To do this, you can use special fluids or irrigators.
Eliminate bad habits. It has been proven that smoking negatively affects not only the state of the oral cavity, but also health in general.
Get regular checkups with your dentist. It is timely diagnosis and prevention that will help identify problems before they worsen. Regular dental checkups are especially important for patients with dentures or missing teeth. Remember that your health is in your hands. If you have a chronic condition, follow your doctor's advice to help prevent the disease.
Your dentist may also prescribe some home remedies for oral thrush to help prevent the disease. Remember that early diagnosis and timely treatment will prevent further aggravation of the disease and the spread of the inflammatory process.