Oral thrush or oral candidiasis is a type of fungi or yeast infection of the genus called Candida, which develops over the mucous membranes present in your mouth.(1)
How Does Oral Thrush Affect The Body?
Individuals, who have a healthy and strong immune system, oral thrush hardly cause any complication. However, in severe cases, it spreads to the esophagus to cause esophagus thrust. Especially, if you suffer from esophageal thrush related to oral thrush, it spreads at a relatively fast rate and becomes severe. In the case, a person’s treatment fails or he/she remains without treatment, he/she may develop
- Candidemia i.e. a type of Candida infection in the blood
- Candida of other body organs, like the lungs and heart
- A life-threatening condition of sepsis
- Malnutrition and weight loss because of difficulty in swallowing food
Similar to oral thrush, individuals with weak immune systems remain at high risk to develop severe complications.
Moreover, without undergoing the right treatment, the fungus responsible to cause oral thrush enters the bloodstream, while spreads to other parts of the body i.e. eyes, brain and heart. Doctors refer to this as systemic or invasive candidiasis, which further leads to a life-threatening health condition i.e. septic shock.(2)(3)
What Triggers Oral Thrush?
If we talk about the normal condition, the immune system of an individual performs its functions to repel various harmful invading organisms. These are bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Simultaneously, the immune system of an individual maintains a balance between bad and good microbes, which normally inhibit the body. However, in some cases, protective mechanisms did by the human body often fail to enhance the numbers of Candida fungi to cause oral thrush infection. Furthermore, a weak immune system of a person may increase the risk to cause oral thrush.(4)
Risk Factors That Increase The Chance Of Oral Thrush
Risk related to causing oral thrush increases in the following group of people-
People Wearing Dentures: If you wear dentures and fail to keep them in clean condition, fit imperfectly or you do not take out before going to bed, you remain at a higher risk to suffer from oral thrush.
People On Antibiotic Treatment: People who remain on antibiotic treatment bear a high risk to develop the problem of oral thrush. The reason for this is that antibiotics destroy the good bacteria present in your body, which prevents the out of control growth of Candida.
Overuse Of Antibacterial Mouthwash: People using antibacterial mouthwash frequently may suffer from oral thrush. Overuse of mouthwash may sometimes destroy the bacteria to prevent or control Candida’s growth to increase the risk to develop oral thrush.
Long-term Usage Of Steroid Medicine: Steroid injections or medications use on a long term basis may increase your risk to suffer from oral thrush.
Weak Immune System: Individuals, who have a weak immune system, are likely to develop the problem of oral thrush.
Diabetic People: If you are a diabetes patient and do not control your blood sugar levels properly, you may suffer from oral thrush in the later phases of life.
Inadequate Amount Of Saliva In Mouth: People, who have an inadequate amount of saliva in their mouth i.e. xerostomia remain highly prone to suffer from the esophagus or oral thrush.
Poor Diet: Malnutrition predisposes individuals to suffer from oral thrush. This mainly takes place because of poor diet or any type of disease, which prevents the absorption of the essential nutrients. Especially, if your diet remains low in vitamin 12, iron and folic acid, you remain at high risk to suffer from oral thrush infection.
Smokers And Alcoholic People: Heavy smokers and alcoholic individuals remain at high risk to suffer from oral thrush. However, the underlying reasons are unclear.(5)
To conclude, we should say that oral thrush might sometimes lead to esophagus thrush and other related complications in your body. Moreover, the underlying cause is a weak immune system, but in some cases, it may involve other risk factors also.
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