What is oral thrush?
Oral thrush is a condition that is caused by development of yeast infection on the tongue or within the walls of the mouth of an individual. Oral thrush is also referred to as oropharyngeal candidiasis, thrush or candidiasis of the mouth.
A type of fungus known as C. albicans (Candida albicans) is responsible for causing oral thrush in both young children and adults but mostly affects toddlers and infants. A minimum quantity of Candida albicans is harmless as everyone has it in their mouths it is only problematic when it outgrows the right quantity and beings to destabilize the state of the mouth leading to oral thrush infection.
Toddlers and infants are the most affected by oral thrush as it results in formation of white bumps on the tongue and inside of the cheeks and disappears soon after the patient receives treatment.
Oral thrush is uncomplicated ailment as it is usually mild. Sometimes the state can be worse for the toddlers and infants due to weak immunity system.
How is oral thrush in appearance?
What symptoms show oral thrush?
At the early stages, Oral thrush shows no visible symptoms but as the fungus gain ground and expands to the tongue and inside f cheeks these symptoms may begin to show:
- White creamy bumps begin to show inside cheeks, on the gums, tongue as well as the appearance of tonsils
- Moderate blood coming from the bumps on scraping
- Irritating pain in places where white creamy bumps are seen
- Cracked dry skin seen at the curves of the mouth or angular cheilitis
- Trouble swallowing food, saliva or anything else
- Mouth tastes sore most of the time if not always
- Facing hard time while eating
- Feelings of irritation
It is worth noting the oral thrush can be transferred through breastfeeding from babies to mothers which can result in endless infection between the infant and their mothers. Some of the signs that will be seen when the breast is infected by Candida albicans fungus are:
- Nipples feeling painful, sensitivity and too much itching
- Shining skin or flaking around the nipples surrounding
- Excessive pain while breastfeeding
- Sharp, pinching pain felt in the breast
The cause of oral thrush
The causative agent for oral thrush is the Candida albicans (also referred to as C. albicans) fungus. Oral thrush therefore begins appearing in the mouth or inside of cheeks of the patient when the growing candida albicans fungus becomes uncontrollable. In normal conditions the body keeps the other bad bacteria/fungus and Candida albicans in check through good bacteria/fungus. When the equilibrium is disrupted dangerous fungi and bacteria start to reproduce leading to the growth of oral thrush infection.
In some cases the immunity of a person is reduced as a result of using given medication thereby the quantity of the good bacteria responsible for guarding the body is reduced and then oral thrush occurs. Treatments methods used to manage cancer such as radiation or chemotherapy destroy the good cells and make the body vulnerable to other diseases as well as oral thrush,
HIV and Leukemia are also known to make the body vulnerable to oral thrush because they severely weaken the body immunity.
For diabetic patients who haven’t managed to control their blood sugar levels are likely to suffer bouts of oral thrush because the fungus responsible for causing oral thrush thrive very well in high sugar content in the saliva. Research has found out that Candida albicans fungus takes advantage of the excess sugar in the patients’ mouth to speed up its growth.
It is not very likely that the newborn infants can contract oral thrush during birth but it is possible.
The characteristics of the fungus responsible for causing candidiasis infection in women is similar to that which causes oral thrush therefore women who are pregnant and are infected with candidiasis are more likely to infect their newborns at birth time. You can find out additional information about candidiasis in pregnant women.
Who is likely to suffer from oral thrush?
Toddlers and infants are the most susceptible in contracting oral thrush but it does also infect persons with low immunity. Those with low immunity are more likely to contract oral thrush if:
- You have HIV, anemia or diabetes
- You are suffering from a disease that makes your mouth run dry
- Using corticosteroids or antibiotics
- You are under cancer treatment through radiation and chemotherapy
- You are wearing dentures
- You take cigarettes
- You underwent transplant of an organ that can enhance fungus infection