-A yeast infection disease which affects the mouth
-It is caused by the fungus Candida Albicans. This yeast builds up in the mouth forming white or yellow-like bumps on the inner part of the cheeks, tongues and sometimes tonsils.
-Common among people with a weakened immune system- babies, older adults, HIV and Leukemia patients
-Rarely causes serious health complications in healthy people
-Short-lived- it can dissolve in a few days
-No imaging or lab tests required. A physical examination by the doctor or physician is enough.
-Treatable although contagious- it can easily spread from one person to another
-There are other types of yeast infections such as vaginal and breast yeast infections
CAUSES OF ORAL THRUSH
Yeast infections like oral thrush are caused by the development of the fungus Candida Albicans. It is however absolutely normal for you to have small amounts of yeasts in your body. The yeasts only become dangerous when your body’s immune system is compromised thus failing to control overgrowth.
Certain medications especially antibiotics can trigger an oral thrush. This is because they lower the amount of friendly micro-organisms in the body.
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy usually reduce the body’s immunity. This is simply because they interfere with the healthy cells hence making you prone to oral thrush and other infections.
Diseases that suppress your immunity such as leukaemia and HIV/AIDS can also increase the chances of oral thrush.
Uncontrolled diabetes can also weaken your immunity and increase blood sugar level. High blood sugar levels are responsible for the growth of Candida Albicans.
-White or yellow patches and bumps on the inner cheeks, gums, tonsils and lips.
-A burning sensation in your mouth
-Light bleeding when the bumps get scratched
-Pain and difficulties when swallowing
-Dry or cracked skin at the corners of the mouth
-A cotton-like feeling in the mouth
-Loss of taste
-For babies; difficulty in feeding and irritability
The following factors can put you at a higher risk of developing an oral thrush:
Age- babies, toddlers and older people are at a higher risk of developing an oral thrush given that their immune system is weaker.
Health conditions such as Diabetes, Leukemia and HIV/AIDS suppress immunity leading to oral thrush
Regular use of antibiotics, steroids and other drugs that suppress immunity
Regular use of dentures
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy
PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT
Oral thrush is easy to prevent and manage if you practice good oral hygiene. Here are a few tips that can help:
1. Use a soft brush to avoid scraping your gums
2. Thoroughly clean your dentures to reduce the risk of infection or re-infection
3. Unless it is necessary, avoid mouthwashes and sprays
4. Regularly yourself a new toothbrush and after you are done with the medication
5. Adults can rinse their mouths using either salty water, a mixture of water and baking soda or apple cider vinegar
6. Regular yoghurt intake might also help since it contains useful bacteria