How Is Thrush In the Mouth Treated?

by Michael Abdoney - 07/17/2020 -Orthodontist Tampa FL
Overview Oral thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, oral candidiasis or thrush occurs when a yeast infection develops inside the mouth. It is quite common in toddlers and infants, often manifesting as white or yellow bumps on the tongue and inner cheeks, which usually disappear with treatment. While the infection is often mild and hardly causes any serious issues, it can be quite problematic in people with compromised immune systems as it spreads to other body parts. Symptoms There may be no symptoms during the early stages of infection. However, as the infection worsens, these or more symptoms may develop: ⦁ White or yellow bumps on the tongue, inner cheeks, lips, gums or tonsils ⦁ Slight bleeding when the bumps get agitated ⦁ Burning sensation in the mouth ⦁ Difficulty swallowing ⦁ Loss of taste ⦁ Bad taste in the mouth While uncommon, oral thrush can sometimes affect the esophagus. Causes Oral thrush occurs due to an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a fungus that typically resides in the mouth, throat and other parts of the digestive tract in small amounts. A disruption in the balance of beneficial bacteria or a sudden compromise of the immune system gives this fungus a chance to thrive, multiply and cause infection. Risk factors Typically, elderly people, toddlers and babies have a higher risk of developing oral thrush. In addition, certain lifestyle factors, medical treatments and medical conditions increase the risk of infection by disrupting the balance of useful microbes or weakening the immune system. For instance, you may have a higher likelihood of developing the infection if you: ⦁ Smoke cigarettes ⦁ Receive cancer treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy ⦁ Have HIV, leukemia, diabetes or anemia ⦁ Take immunosuppressant drugs, corticosteroids or antibiotics ⦁ Suffer from a condition that dries your mouth Diagnosis Your doctor may perform a simple diagnosis of the infection by examining different parts of your mouth e.g. the tongue and inner cheeks, for the distinctive bumps it causes. In some instances, your doctor may seek to confirm the diagnosis by performing a biopsy of the affected areas. Doctors perform biopsies by scraping off small portions of the bumps in your mouth, then testing them for Candida albicans in a laboratory. In case your doctor surmises that the infection has reached other parts of your digestive tract, they may perform an endoscopy or throat swab culture to prove it. Treatment If your doctor diagnoses you with this infection, they may prescribe the following medications or more: 1.Clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche) Antifungal medication often administered as a lozenge. 2.Fluconazole (Diflucan) A commonly prescribed type of oral antifungal medication. 3.Nystatin (Nystop, Nyata) Common among babies and toddlers, you can administer this antifungal mouthwash by swabbing or swishing it in the baby’s mouth. 4.Amphotericin B (AmBisome, Fungizone) This medication is often prescribed for people with severe cases of the infection. 5.Itraconazole (Sporanox) If you happen to have HIV or do not respond to other oral antifungal medications, then this may be on your prescription list. Infection usually goes away a few weeks after commencing treatment. If you experience recurring cases of infection without any apparent causes, then your healthcare provider may evaluate you for underlying medical conditions.