Oral thrush or oral candidiasis is a common oral problem caused by a fungus named Candida albicans. It is a normal organism of mouth but sometimes when it gets favorable environment it accumulates and presents symptoms.
In patients suffering from it, creamy white patches, usually on inner cheek and tongue are found. Additionally, it can spread to the roof of the mouth, gums, tonsils, and back of the throat.
Oral candidiasis can affect anyone, but usually, it is seen in babies, older individuals, people with low immunity and denture-bearing patients. It can also be seen in patients who are on certain medications which lower the immunity of the individual.
It is not a very serious problem if you are healthy but can be a serious ailment in people with lowered immunity.
Initially, it does not present any symptoms but over a period of time, it may show the following signs and symptoms:
- Creamy white patchy lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, and sometimes on the roof of the mouth, gums, and tonsils.
- Redness burning sensation in the mouth which may cause difficulty in eating
- These white lesions are scrapable.
- On scraping the lesion, bleeding spots can be seen
- Redness, cracking and pain at corners of the mouth
- In denture-bearing patients, there will be redness, soreness, and pain under the denture, also known as Denture Stomatitis.
In severe cases like in people suffering from cancer or AIDS, it can spread as far as the esophagus and result in difficulty in swallowing food (Candida esophagitis).
In infants and breastfeeding mothers
- Unusually red, sensitive, cracked or itchy nipples
- Shiny skin on the darker, circular area around the nipple
Normally our immune system fights with micro-organisms such as fungus, bacteria, viruses etc, but when it fails to fight back because of low immunity, the numbers of problem-causing microbes increase and these accumulate and result in oral thrush.
- Weakened immunity
- Patients on medication which causes lowering of immunity
- Denture-bearing people (usually upper dentures)
- Persons suffering from some oral condition like Xerostomia (Dry mouth)
- Rinse your mouth
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily
- Check your dentures, clean them regularly
- See your dentist regularly, especially if you have diabetes or wear dentures
- Watch what you eat
- Maintain good blood sugar control if you have diabetes.
- Treat dry mouth.