Oral thrush is a fungal infection that affects the mouth and throat.
The infection is caused by a group of yeasts called candida. Oral thrush is sometimes referred to as oropharyngeal candidiasis. The condition will cause small white bumps to form inside the cheeks and on the tongue, which will usually cause the sufferer some level of discomfort.
Typically, oral thrush is a mild fungal infection that rarely causes complications.
It is recommended you visit your GP should you present with the symptoms of oral thrush. If left untreated, the symptoms can persist. In more severe cases, untreated oral thrush can carry the risk of the infection spreading further into the body, which can potentially be serious.
In most cases, your GP will be able to diagnose oral thrush with a simple visual examination. The doctor may also take a small scraping from one of the infected plaques in the mouth. This can then be sent to a laboratory, where it can be tested for the presence of the candida fungus.
In some cases, the doctor may recommend a blood test, which will help identify any associated condition, such as nutritional deficiencies or diabetes.
Oral thrush is not contagious in the same way a cold or the flu is.
However, under certain circumstances it can still be passed on. It is possible to contract oral thrush through oral contact with an infected person. Though this will depend on the strength of your immune system and whether there are other risk factors at play. For this reason it is advised to avoid oral contact, such as kissing, until the symptoms have fully resolved.
Oral thrush, in most cases, isn’t dangerous. Though if left untreated it can potentially spread further into the body, which can make the condition more serious.
However, this usually only happens in severe cases, and for those with weakened immune systems.
It is recommended to seek treatment for oral thrush as the infection can make the sufferer feel very uncomfortable. If left untreated, the condition will likely persist. Plus, if the infection spreads to other areas of the body it can cause further complications.
Oral thrush can be successfully treated with topical antifungal medicines. These are typically in the form of a gel of liquid, allowing for direct application to the infected area. Topical medications, such as gels or liquids, will usually need to be used several times daily, for approximately 1-2 weeks.
Examples of topical oral thrush treatments include:
Daktarin Oral Gel
In some cases, oral antifungals may be used, which are usually administered once daily. Examples of oral preparations include:
When suffering from oral thrush, it can be beneficial to alter your oral care regime at home. This will include:
Brushing teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, as to avoid scraping the plaques.
Replacing your toothbrush daily, until the infection has cleared.
Avoid using mouthwashes and sprays.
Use a saltwater mixture for rinsing your mouth.
Oral thrush medications don’t often carry side-effects, although some have been known to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and bloating.
If you are pregnant, it is recommended you speak to your doctor or pharmacist before attempting treatment.
Oral thrush is usually safe to treat using topical preparations, such as gels. However, capsules or tablets should be avoided if; you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
You can reduce the chances of contracting oral thrush by following these simple routines:
If you suffer from, or are receiving treatment for a condition that puts you at a higher risk of developing oral thrush, your doctor can recommend taking a course of prescribed antifungals to help prevent oral thrush from developing.
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