Oral thrush, also referred to as oropharyngeal candidiasis, oral candidiasis, or only thrush, is
basically a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth. It’s a fairly common condition,
especially in babies and toddlers.
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Oral thrush occurs when the fungus called Candida albicans overgrows in the mouth. Usually, it’s a perfectly normal organism that exists in the mouth, but it can cause white lesions to develop on the tongue and inner cheeks when it overgrows.
And while oral thrush can affect anyone, it’s not necessarily dangerous for most people except those with a very weak immune system.
Simply put, oral thrush is caused by the access of Candida albicans in your mouth. And as
mentioned previously, these aren’t exactly foreign bodies, and it’s perfectly normal for a small
amount of these to be present in the mouth. They become a problem when their growth is out of
So, what exactly causes them to overgrow?
Well, a weakened immune system.
A stronger immune system ensures that the good bacteria in your body keep the quantity of fungus Candida albicans in control. But if one’s got a compromised immune system, there can be an overgrowth of Candida albicans, resulting in oral thrush.
Or if there is an imbalance of microorganisms in the body due to reasons like taking antibiotics or radiation therapy for cancer, that too could lead to oral thrush.
Diabetes is also a major promoter of oral thrush. Mainly because uncontrolled diabetes can weaken the immune system, causing the blood sugar level to rise. This gives Candida albicans the perfect environment to overgrow.
Typically, oral thrush is grouped in three categories depending on what it looks like. Sometimes, your condition could be somewhere in between these groups.
This is the most common version of oral thrush that most people have. The one in which there are white cottage cheese-like bumps in the mouth.
This is mainly different in terms of color. The mouth appears red and raw as opposed to the common white patches.
This is also known as plaque-like candidiasis. This is because of the white plaque which can be pretty hard to remove. This type of oral thrush is the least common and is usually found in HIV patients.
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In its most early stages, there may be no apparent signs or symptoms of oral thrush. But as the
infection progresses, symptoms may start to appear.
These are the common symptoms you should be looking for.
Here are a few less common symptoms:
Symptoms in babies:
When breastfeeding babies pass the thrush to their mothers, these symptoms can be seen:
In some rare cases, oral thrush can spread to the esophagus. Once it does, it causes pain when trying to swallow, discomfort in the throat and chest, and fever if the infection spreads further.
Oral thrush is fairly easy to treat in healthy adults as well as infants. For people with a weakened immune system, there may be additional tests and treatments required.
Those with a weakened immune system and ones with diabetes are very likely to develop oral thrush. Mothers with vaginal yeast infections can also pass it to the baby as oral thrush. Moreover, those on antibiotics and those who wear dentures are also high on the list of people at risk.
Oral thrush can be prevented with a few simple measures:
Yes, a doctor can prescribe the right medication to help you treat the thrush faster. Moreover, oral thrush is less common in healthy teenagers and adults. You may want to check in with a doctor to see if there are underlying conditions causing it.
Our certified physicians at TelMDCare can help treat your oral thrush or any other medical
condition that you’re dealing with. All you need to do is book an appointment with our online
Our doctors will give you a diagnosis and prescriptions if needed. Our urgent care consultations are available at a very reasonable rate of $39, with the first follow-up being completely free of cost. Sign up and book an appointment today!