Oral Thrush: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Thrush is a fungal infection that occurs within the lining of the oral cavity. While the responsible fungus, known as candida albicans, is always present in our mouths, thrush occurs when its growth becomes excessive. The most common indicator of a thrush infection is the formation of white, cream-colored lesions within the mouth. These typically form on the inner cheeks or tongue but can spread to other mouth areas. The tonsils, throat, gums, and roof of the mouth are all locations where the fungal infection can spread to. OC Kids Dental helps our patients when they suspect a thrush infection with diagnosis and effective treatment.
The Symptoms and Causes of Oral Thrush, Or Oral Candidiasis
Oral thrush is a condition that appears most commonly in infants and the elderly. However, it can form at any age. It’s most common in those who have suppressed immunity, are taking certain medications, or struggle with certain health conditions. Those who are otherwise in good health have little to fear from a thrush infection. However, if you have an impacted immune system, your symptoms can become more severe and the infection more difficult to control. Identification of thrush can be overlooked in its earliest stage, but the following symptoms can indicate its presence:
- Creamy lesions form on the cheeks, gums, tonsils, tongue, or roof of the mouth
- Cottage-cheese textured formations on the lesions
- Soreness, burning, or redness that interferes with swallowing or eating
- Lesions that bleed when scraped or rubbed
- Redness or cracking that forms at the corners of the mouth
- A cottony feeling within the mouth
- Reduction in ability to taste
- Pain, redness, or irritation that forms under dentures (denture stomatitis)
Severe thrush cases typically result from cancer or an immune system reduced by conditions such as HIV/AIDS. The lesions may extend down into the esophagus, causing significant difficulty with swallowing, making it feel like food is becoming stuck in the throat. If you’re breastfeeding and have a child who is experiencing a thrush infection, it can spread to the breasts.
When this occurs, you may identify the following symptoms:
- Nipples that are cracked, sensitive, or unusually red
- The skin on the areola of the breast that is darker, shiny, or flakes
- Pain between feedings or unusual pain during feeding
- Stabbing pain experienced deep within the breast
Thrush is uncommon in older children and adults. When they form in these patients, it’s often important to speak to both your dentist and physician to explore the possibility of an underlying condition.
Come See OC Kids Dental For Great Oral Health
If you or one of your family are experiencing the formation of white lesions within the oral cavity, it’s time to seek medical attention. The experts at our clinic can help with the diagnosis and treatment of mild cases. If a severe case is identified, you will be encouraged to seek assistance from your physician. Call us today at (949) 362-9860 to schedule your appointment and begin getting the care you need to address thrush and other oral health concerns.« Why Do Adult Teeth Come in Behind My Child’s Baby Teeth? Dental Health PSA: Stop Chewing Ice! »