How to Recognize, Avoid, and Treat Oral Thrush | Diabetes Health Page

How to Recognize, Avoid, and Treat Oral Thrush

By Gabriela | Diabetes

How to Recognize, Avoid and Treat Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is an infection that develops inside the mouth and on the tongue. This yeast infection is also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis.

What causes it is the Candida albicans fungus which develops inside the mouth and can’t be controlled.

Moreover, it may appear in toddlers and infants if they have white bumps on the inside of their mouths. However, it can easily be treated. This complication is not a serious infection, but it can cause problems for people who have a weak immune system.

So, before one decides whether they or their child have oral thrush, they may want to read more about the symptoms below.

Symptoms of Oral Thrush

Adults:
  • Pain at the site of the bumps;
  • White bumps on the inner cheeks, tongue, tonsils, or gums;
  • Cracked and dry skin on the edges of the mouth;
  • Problems with swallowing;
  • Slight bleeding when scraping the bumps.
Infants:
  • Fussiness;
  • Irritability;
  • Difficulty feeding.

However, if a woman is breastfeeding, her baby has a chance to transfer the infection to her, and the cycle will keep repeating itself. So, if her breasts are infected, here are the symptoms that the fungus can cause:

  • Severe pain during breastfeeding;
  • Strong sensitivity, itching, or pain in the nipples;
  • Sharp pain in the breast;
  • Flaky or shiny skin around the nipple.

What Can Cause Oral Thrush?

When the fungus known as C. Albicans is uncontrollable, this infection appears.

Usually, the immune system can avoid this and prevent many other microorganisms from creating problems, but when the immune system is in bad shape, it won’t defend the body properly.

Moreover, many treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can weaken the immune system and make it defenseless against oral thrush. Plus, diseases like AIDS, diabetes, leukemia, and HIV can also cause the same problem.

When it comes to infants, they usually get this infection at birth, especially if the pregnant woman has a vaginal yeast infection.

Who Is Prone to Oral Thrush?

Both adults and children who have a weak immune system can develop this infection. Here is a list of all of those who are prone to this fungus. Those are the people who:

  • Take antibiotics or corticosteroids;
  • Wear dentures;
  • AIDS, diabetes, leukemia, anemia, or HIV;
  • Recently had an organ transplant;
  • Have dried mouth;
  • Use radiation, drugs to treat cancer, or chemotherapy.

How to Diagnose This Infection?

It is simple for our doctor to determine whether we have or don’t have this infection. That is why it is best to consult with a dentist so that he can examine our tongue and mouth.

There are some cases when a doctor needs to take a biopsy if he or she believes we have this infection. The doctor will scrape a small bump in our mouth and sent the samples to the laboratory for further analysis.

If more tests are necessary, our doctor will use endoscopy and throat culture. Both of these are procedures that can ensure what kind of an infection we have.

Endoscopy is a method that uses an endoscope with a camera to examine our mouth, while throat culture uses cotton swabs to take a sample from the tissue.

How to Treat Oral Thrush?

It all depends on our health and how much the fungus has developed inside our mouth. Such treatments consist of using:

  • Nystatin – an antifungal mouthwash that we can use to wash our mouth;
  • Clotrimazole lozenge – an antifungal medication that dissolves in the mouth;
  • Amphotericin B – a drug for treating severe infections;
  • Fluconazole – an oral antifungal medication;
  • Itraconazole – an oral antifungal medication meant for people who have AIDS or HIV is resistant to treatments.

How to Treat Oral Thrush at Home?

  • Use a saltwater mixture to rinse the mouth;
  • Replace the toothbrush daily until there’s no more infection;
  • Eat unsweetened yogurt to restore the levels of the good bacteria;
  • Use a soft toothbrush to brush teeth with and to avoid scraping the lesions;
  • Maintain normal blood sugar levels;
  • Do not use sprays or mouthwashes.

However, if both the infant and the mother have this infection, they need to receive treatment to avoid the spreading of this fungus to continue. This kind of treatment includes:

  • Regularly washing bottle nipples, pacifiers, breast pumps with half vinegar and water and drying them;
  • Try nursing pads to avoid the infection from transferring to outfits;
  • Using an antifungal cream and antifungal medication for the mother’s breasts and the baby.

Once the treatment is over, oral thrush will disappear in a few weeks. But there is a chance it will repeat again.

Complications of Oral Thrush

If not treated, this infection can cause problems for the immune system. Moreover, the immune system is already weakened due to some other diseases. So, this infection can cause even more serious complications.

There is a possibility that it might enter the bloodstream and spread around our entire body. This way, it can create various problems for the heart, liver, and brain. But, for babies, it can cause severe diaper rash and itching.

How to Prevent Oral Thrush?

Here are some simple and easy routines we can follow if we want to avoid this infection:

  • Consuming more yogurt with the prescribed antibiotics;
  • Keeping great oral hygiene and brushing the teeth every day; flossing daily as well;
  • Treating vaginal yeast infection fast (for pregnant women);
  • Washing the mouth after using the corticosteroid inhaler.

Sources:
HealthLine | The Global Diabetes Community | Medical News Today