Oral thrush or oral candidiasis is a type of fungi or yeast infection, which causes from the genus Candida that develops over the mouth mucous membrane. In most of the cases, the problem takes place due to Candida albicans, but in some cases, it also takes place due to Candida tropicalis or Candida glabrata.
Oral thrush is most of the people does not cause any severe problem. However, individuals with a weak immune system experience severe signs and symptoms. In most cases, you may expect good outcomes related to oral thrush, as many people respond well to the prescribed treatment. However, oral thrush may relapse if you do not deal with the causal factor efficiently.(1)
How Dangerous Is Oral Thrush?
If you have a weak immune system, your oral thrush infection may lead to esophagus thrush and later on, spread to the bloodstream to various other organs. Based on this, we can say that oral thrush is a dangerous problem. Furthermore, if you leave the problem untreated, you may suffer from a severe type of oral thrush i.e. to deadly Candida albicans problem referred to as an invasive type of candidiasis.
Along with this, in some cases, you may suffer from invasive oral thrush or candidiasis because of medical devices, including intravenous catheters contaminated with any of the species of Candida. Yeast may cause a maximum of 10% of various bloodstream infections or nosocomial infections, which make the problem of oral thrush even more dangerous. Hence, you should undergo essential treatment procedures as soon as possible.(3)
Is Oral Thrush Contagious?
In most cases, oral thrush or oral candidiasis is not a contagious one. However, in some cases, oral thrush may pass forth and back to infants from the mother at the time of the breastfeeding process. Mothers may have yeast or Candida on their nipple, which spread to the babies/infants or infants pass oral thrush to nipples at the time of breastfeeding. However, regardless of the underlying condition, both mother and baby need immediate and effective treatment.
Besides the aforementioned condition, the Candida fungus may spread the problem of oral thrush because of kissing. However, a yeast infection may be or may not take place on its own. Other than this, whether any uninfected individual develops yeast infection depends on his/her present health status, risk factors and use of medication. However, the condition places an individual at a huge risk to develop oral thrush.(4)
Symptoms Of Oral Thrush
Common signs and symptoms of oral thrush are-
- Formation of creamy white lesions on inner cheeks, tongue and sometimes, on the roof of the gums, mouth, and tonsils
- Lesions as slightly raised and appear like a cottage cheese
- Soreness, redness or burning, which may sometimes become severe to create difficulty in swallowing and eating food
- Slight bleeding if you accidentally scrape or rub the lesions
- Redness and cracking at your mouth corners
- A cottony feeling in the mouth
- Pain, irritation, and redness below the dentures
- Loss in your taste
In some of the severe cases, especially if a person suffers from cancer or HIV/AIDs, the formed lesions may spread downward in the esophagus.
Women with Candida infected breasts may have the mentioned signs and symptoms-
- Unusual sensitive, red, itchy and cracked nipples
- Areola i.e. flaky or shiny skin on the dark and circular region across the nipples
- Abnormal pain at the time of nursing a baby or painful nipples
- Stabbing pain deeply in the breast.(2)
To conclude, we should say that oral thrush is a dangerous condition, as when left untreated may lead to severe complications in humans. On the other side, oral thrush may sometimes become contagious, especially when it spreads because of breastfeeding and kissing.
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