Oral thrush: Causes, symptoms, and treatments

Newborn babies. Swallowing the tablets or pastilles, rather than sucking or dissolving them in the mouth, is ineffective in treating oral candidiasis. However, oral thrush tends to reappear, especially if the causal factor (smoking, for instance) is not removed.

” The epidemiological studies have shown that limited Candida species were able to colonize the mouth (and other body surfaces such as skin, vagina, and gastrointestinal mucosa) of human being.

In fact, they may help fight disease. These solutions are effective at minimizing some of the most uncomfortable symptoms of Candida: Your healthcare provider will also rub a cotton swab on one of the patches and check it under a microscope. Some recommend that swabs be taken from 3 different oral sites. Spearmint essential oil is another great option that has much the same effect. The leading cause of oral thrush is overuse or prolonged use of antibiotics. Talk to a doctor before giving an infant any supplements. However, if it is left untreated in people with HIV/AIDS, it can progress rapidly to the throat, causing difficulty in swallowing medication and food, leading to an early death.

  • Ask your dentist if you’re concerned about the natural bacteria balance in your mouth.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medication, but many find that these are very hard on the liver.
  • Bottle-fed babies should have bottle nipples replaced as the infection clears to avoid reinfection.
  • If your infection persists, your doctor will prescribe an antifungal medication.
  • (7) Systemic Candidiasis.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal with fluoride toothpaste to reduce the build-up of bacteria in your mouth.
  • Talk to your doctor, who might recommend using an antifungal ointment on your nipples while your baby is treated with the antifungal solution.

Causes and Risk Factors

Your dentist can diagnose it by examining your mouth and brushing the lesions away. Exposure to steroid inhalers or tablets: They are usually harmless. Oral thrush (or oral candidiasis) is a type of thrush found in the oral cavity. People undergoing antibiotic or chemotherapy treatment. Smokers are more likely to develop oral thrush. If so, do you use a steroid inhaler?

Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Once the condition that caused the oral thrush has been treated, the thrush itself can be cured. You take antibiotics.

Perhaps the most common association for developing thrush is improper technique during the use of inhalers containing corticosteroids for the control of asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The yeast can be seen under a microscope after being scraped off the affected area. People with an immune deficiency. Signs and symptoms may include: Candida species constitute part of the oral harmless commensal flora in about 2–70% of the general population but is responsible for causing infection if the host immune barriers are breached either on the local or on the systemic level [1].

This should also be done with any kind of breast pump materials you may be using, especially those parts that detach easily for cleaning.

A Tables

If candidiasis is secondary to corticosteroid or antibiotic use, then use may be stopped, although this is not always a feasible option. Try this instead: Avoid conventional mouthwash, which not only disrupts your oral microbiome’s balance but also dries out your mouth and leaves you at an even greater risk of thrush.


Although rare, oral thrush can spread to other organs of the body, but this is usually limited to immunocompromised individuals. This can cause sore, red nipples. A thrush infection is caused by a type of fungus, or yeast, known as Candida albicans. The diagnosis of thrush is usually made after examining the affected areas, but a scraping of the sores can be examined under a microscope for a definitive diagnosis. Also know what the side effects are. The fact that both Candida and epithelial cell surface are negatively charged means that there are repulsive forces retarding their adhesion. Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once daily.

Immunodeficiency is a state of reduced function of the immune system, which can be caused by medical conditions or treatments.

Redness and soreness inside and at the corners of your mouth. Angular cheilitis, which is frequently associated with denture sore mouth, should be treated with either topical clotrimazole or miconazole cream. Misdiagnosis is likely if individuals try to diagnose themselves, as there are many other white lesions that can also occur in the mouth. Why is thrush a concern during breastfeeding?

These allow the antifungal agent to act locally in the mouth.

It can also be passed on through breastfeeding if a yeast infection is present.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Oral Candidiasis?

Angular cheilitis. Without proper treatment, the fungus that causes thrush may enter your bloodstream and spread to your heart, brain, eyes, or other body parts. · Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?

If Thrush Is Limited To Your Mouth

Other common sites for thrush to develop are the vagina, nappy area, and nail folds. What can I do to prevent thrush? While a yeast infection is not dangerous, if you are pregnant you can pass the fungus to your baby during delivery. Deficiencies are associated with higher rates of Candida infection, particularly in older adults.

Oral carriage of Candida is pre-requisite for the development of oral candidiasis. Yeast can be passed from one individual to another, but this is not a clinical problem unless there is some other factor at work that allows the yeast to overgrow and cause an infection. In your mouth thrush appears as a growth that can look like cottage cheese – white, raised lesions on your tongue and cheeks. Laboratory tests are done to confirm the diagnosis. Signs and Symptoms Thrush may appear as white or pale yellow spots on the inner surfaces of the mouth and throat, the tongue, and the lips. If a person has cancer their immune system is likely to be weakened from the disease as well as from treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. Sometimes a two-week course is needed.

Hence, the risk for thrush is increased when the mother has an active vaginal yeast infection.


If you formula-feed your baby or use a pacifier, thoroughly clean the nipples and pacifiers in hot water or a dishwasher after each use. In extensive oral candidiasis, endoscopy is performed to see the extent of the lesions into the gastrointestinal tract. 2 In one study, about one-third of patients with advanced HIV infection had candidiasis in the mouth and throat. The term thrush refers to a local infection of only the mouth and throat. In healthy people, it’s unusual for it to be passed on through kissing or other close contacts. Angular cheilitis looks like red sores that develop in the corners of the mouth. This is combined with oral smear test and direct microscopy following rapid staining.

This process of adhesion is complex and multifactorial.


Alternately, mix ½ teaspoon baking soda into a glass of water and use as a mouth rinse twice daily. A baby with oral thrush might develop cracked skin in the corners of the mouth or whitish patches on the lips, tongue, or inside the cheeks that look a little like cottage cheese but can’t be wiped away. Who is at risk of developing oral thrush? Next, you may have an endoscopic examination, which is where the doctor uses an endoscope (or flexible, lighted tube) to explore your esophagus, stomach and upper part of the small intestine to see how far the infection has spread. A baby’s mouth is more susceptible to oral thrush than older children, particularly if they use unsterilized pacifiers. It is it is caused by the yeast Candida albicans, which naturally occurs in the mouth and digestive tract. Try the following:

Sometimes untreated thrush may turn into a more serious infection, especially in people who are very ill.

They can include: Most people (including infants) naturally have Candida in their mouths and digestive tracts, which is considered normal growth. If you develop a yeast infection in another part of your body, get treatment. Thrush can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs, liver and skin. By eliminating some of these risk factors, you might find that your overall health improves too. Also called oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis, thrush is most commonly found in young infants and toddlers, but adults with certain medical conditions (e. )

The best way to avoid getting re-infected is to change the conditions that caused the overgrowth of Candida in the first place.

At very young ages, the immune system is yet to develop fully and there is no individual immune response to candida species,[9] an infants antibodies to the fungus are normally supplied by the mother's breast milk.

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Uncontrolled diabetes greatly increases your risk of oral candidiasis. Treatment requires several weeks of oral or intravenous antifungal medication. Is your oral thrush connected to an intestinal Candida overgrowth? The underlying mucosa is red and swollen. The exact number of cases of candidiasis in the mouth, throat, and esophagus in the United States is difficult to determine because there is no national surveillance for these infections. These bacteria, which live on the skin and in the intestine and vagina, among other places, are harmless but good at fighting off yeast. Candida overgrowth may also cause a condition called Intestinal Hyper-Permeability, more commonly know as Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS).

It can be easily treated with medicines bought from a pharmacy. There was an error. See for more information. Weakened immunity. Chronic hyperplastic candidiasis. In some cases, the lesions may appear on the roof of the mouth or on the back of the throat. Inhaled corticosteroids used to treat asthma, such as beclometasone, budesonide, fluticasone.

Moderate To Severe Thrush

How is thrush treated? Your doctor or dentist usually will be able to diagnose an oral yeast infection simply by looking for the characteristic velvety white lesions in your mouth or on your tongue. In oral candidiasis, the dentures may act as a reservoir of Candida species,[7] continually reinfecting the mucosa once antifungal medication is stopped. Oral thrush is contagious and can spread deep into the body, causing serious damage and preventing you from proper nutrition (if it spreads far enough) due to uncomfortable conditions internally. Taste can be affected in some people with oral thrush. With LGS, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common because the patient lacks the ability to move minerals and vitamins from the gut to the blood.

Pediatrics, 22nd ed. Swish the mixture around in your mouth just like a normal mouthwash, and be sure to spit it out rather than swallowing it. The death rate from late stage disseminated Candidiasis may reach seventy percent. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. The risk of contracting thrush may be increased by: Medicines that weaken the body's immune system, such as corticosteroids.

Oral thrush occurs when “good” bacteria (e.

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Oral thrush most often occurs in infants and toddlers. Keep dentures clean and see a dentist if they do not fit correctly. Vaginitis and vaginosis, some lactobacilli present, but Gardnerella or Mobiluncus morphotypes also present. Take a look through the causes above and see if any of those correspond to your own situation. When illnesses, stress, or medications disturb this balance, the fungus grows out of control and causes thrush.

However, if you have an underlying condition that's contributing to the problem, you may then be referred to a specialist for treatment.

Associated Lesions

Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your appointment. Mothers and their infected infants can pass thrush back and forth. How can I help to prevent oral candidiasis? This condition creates an environment that is ideal for Candida growth. Now swish it around, just like mouthwash.

You have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Dental insurance will cover the cost of prescription medications to treat oral thrush, and some medications are available over-the-counter. Low numbers of the fungus Candida are naturally found in the mouth and digestive system of most people. See your dentist for regular exams. Fortunately, it is effectively treated with the use of antifungal medication. Also, healthy children and adults can add unsweetened yogurt with acidophilus to some meals and snacks. Gram staining is also used as Candida stains are strongly Gram positive.

If you do have thrush, your healthcare provider may also check for this condition.

Key Takeaways: Oral Thrush

Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush to avoid scraping the bumps caused by thrush. For example, if you have developed it as a result of using a particular antibiotic, you should speak with your physician immediately about getting an alternative medication. The following people may be at more risk of oral thrush: But sometimes these protective mechanisms fail, which can allow an oral thrush infection to take hold.

In some cases, the symptoms of oral thrush can make eating and drinking difficult. Esophageal candidiasis often exists along with thrush (especially in people who have HIV/AIDS or an organ transplant). Another child may then get thrush by putting a contaminated object into his or her mouth. Symptoms of oral thrush may develop quickly or slowly, depending on the cause of the problem and the immune status of the patient. Many other diseases and illnesses, including very early stages of cancer, can have similar symptoms, so if you're not sure then it's important to consult your doctor and get a thorough check-up. Prevention of oral thrush To reduce your risk of oral thrush, try the following:

To reduce the risk of spreading thrush to infants: Oral thrush (Web Page). Occasionally, in order to make a diagnosis, the doctor will scrape the baby's tongue and send the sample for analysis. You could get nipple thrush, but your GP can prescribe cream to treat or prevent this. If your baby has oral thrush, consider the possibility that it might have been passed on from a vaginal Candida infection. However, candida can live on a mucosal surface quite harmlessly.

Children are not the only ones at risk for developing oral thrush.

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It is also called oral candidosis (or candiasis) because it is caused by a group of yeasts called Candida. In adults with immunocompromised conditions the doctor usually recommends antifungal drugs. Overgrowth of yeast on the oral mucosa leads to desquamation of epithelial cells and accumulation of bacteria, keratin, and necrotic tissue.

In other severe cases, the lesions may disseminate into the swallowing tube or esophagus and eventually causes: Watch what you eat. When should I call my healthcare provider? Conversely, you may end up developing signs and symptoms completely suddenly. Remove your dentures when you sleep, or at least 6 hours each day. Chronic hyperplastic candidiasis typically presents as homogenous or speckled white lesion commonly on the buccal mucosa or lateral border of the tongue.

How to Prevent Thrush

Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. Both the suspension and the lozenges are used several times a day until the lesions are completely gone. Brush and floss your teeth as often as your dentist recommends.

White patches inside the mouth and on the tongue that look like cottage cheese or milk curds. Both the treatments and the disease may increase a person's risk of candida infections such as oral thrush. A more recently proposed classification of oral candidiasis distinguishes primary oral candidiasis, where the condition is confined to the mouth and perioral tissues, and secondary oral candidiasis, where there is involvement of other parts of the body in addition to the mouth. Store milk and prepared bottles in the refrigerator to prevent yeast from growing. Therefore, they must be disinfected as part of the treatment for oral candidiasis. If this occurs, you may experience difficulty swallowing or feel as if food is getting stuck in your throat.

How is Oral Thrush Diagnosed?

It is very important to get rid of any sources of infection, or thrush will continue to come back. They exploit micro-fissures and cracks in the surface of dentures to aid their retention. If you scrape off these spots, they leave small wounds that bleed slightly. If your pads are not disposable, be sure to wash them (and your bras) in hot water with bleach to prevent the spread of oral thrush. The first step to treating your oral thrush is to address anything whatever it is that might be causing it. There may also be redness and soreness inside the mouth, specifically at the corners. Having a dry mouth (xerostomia) can lead to thrush.

Oral thrush can sometimes affect healthy newborn babies. If the immune system has been severely compromised, the infection may cover much of the surface of the mouth and tongue, and it may spread to the esophagus. One study estimated that around 20% of patients with oral candidiasis experience infection recurrence and in around 30% of the recurrences the second isolate was different from that responsible for the first episode of infection [3]. Babies can have oral thrush and a diaper rash due to the same yeast at the same time.

Alternative Names

Older adults and infants also have an increased risk for it. The spots are slightly raised. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Because infants are more at risk, getting or giving thrush during breastfeeding is a worry with many moms. Thrush usually clears up on its own in infants. Don't smoke, or if you do, quit smoking. Knowing that the majority of the species cannot live at the human body temperature [2] explains why the oral cavity is colonized with only a limited number of Candida species. Is thrush contagious?

Eat a nutritious diet and practice an overall healthy lifestyle to support the functioning of your immune system.