Oral candidiasis, or thrush infection, is an infection of the mouth caused by the candida fungus. This is not an infection that can be passed to others. Everyone, including infants, have some of these bacteria in their mouth. Thrush is most common in people who wear dentures, people who find is difficult to keep their mouth clean, diabetics and those who are taking steroids.
Some antibiotics have been known to cause thrush and may encourage it to recur, especially if the antibiotics are used over long periods. Other causes include dry mouth caused by some drugs, and chemotherapy of the head and neck. One of the early signs of HIV can be a thrush infection; but this is rare.
Symptoms of thrush include red, sore areas of the mouth, white spots on the mouth and tongue and red, sore areas at the corner of the lips. Mild oral thrush infection is most commonly painless but the condition can become quite sore.
For diagnosing thrush, one could simply look at the spots; this is especially true for babies. Sometimes samples may need to be taken for analysis. If you are having this problem because of antibiotics or difficulty in wearing dentures, these should be treated first.
Treatment It is crucial to the avoidance of thrush to keep the mouth as clean as possible. This can be accomplished with thorough brushing and rinsing after meals and it is also not a good idea to keep dentures in your mouth for 24 hours at a time. It is also very important to have your dentures replaced every few years.
If, after brushing and thoroughly cleaning you still find that thrush is a problem, consult a professional. You may be prescribed medicated lozenges to dissolve slowly in your mouth. After continued treatment for a month, your dentist will want to check again for the infection. If it hasn’t cleared up you may need further treatment. And, as always, remember to visit your dentist regularly.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you shouldn’t have a problem. But, these are only