When a fungus called Candida (mold) starts propagating in the mouth, it is known as oral thrush. It happens when the immunity or the amount of saliva becomes low. The main symptoms are a white moss-like appearance in the mouth or pain or reduced taste.
Diagnosis is based on the degree of symptoms and bacterial tests. There may be hidden causes in the background, so it is necessary to also check for HIV and other drugs used. Treatment is with antifungal drugs.(1)
Is Thrush A Sign Of Diabetes?
High levels of blood sugar are one of the primary causes of thrush along with a weak immune system, which is also common in diabetics. Damaged or irritated skin can promote thrush growth. Smoking increases the chances of getting thrush, and some oral contraceptives may cause vaginal thrush.
If diabetes is not well controlled, blood sugar levels may rise to incredibly high levels. Excess sugar can cause enlarged yeast, especially in the vaginal area. Your body may develop a yeast infection as a result. Maintaining blood glucose levels may help reduce the risk of infection.(3)
Is Brushing The Tongue A Good Option During Oral Thrush?
If harmful bacteria are not eliminated from the tongue, naturally occurring yeast in the mouth can thrive and turn into a thrush. The dentist can prescribe an antifungal to kill yeast and cleaning your tongue every day will help prevent it from recurring.
Symptoms Of Oral Thrush
In the pseudomembrane type, a white moss-like thing that can be taken off in the mouth is created. With atrophic type, tongue-tingling or impaired taste is observed.(4)
Examination And Diagnosis Of Oral Thrush
In the case of pseudomembrane, it can be visually identified. In the case of atrophic thrush, the following tests are needed to distinguish it from other diseases:
Blood Tests: Search for the presence of cancer and causes of reduced immunity
Microorganism Test: Check for the presence of Candida
Due to causes other than mold glossitis, it is distinguished from the glossodynia (a disease that causes sore tongue).
How Can People Prevent Thrush?
As Candida albicans overgrowth, typically located in the oral cavity, is the primary reason behind oral thrush, preventive techniques are designed to restrict such overgrowth and to limit frequent Candida exposure.
Nursing mothers should avoid wet nursing pads and consider drying on their nipples with air if they or their babies have repeated fungal infections.
Similarly, soap and water hygiene for bottle teats and dummies will reduce oral candidiasis. For those who need daily inhaled corticosteroids to effectively control asthma, the use of a spacer when using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) and rinsing and spitting out water after administration of corticosteroids administered by MDI or a nebulizer is a must.(5)
What Is The Prognosis For Oral Thrush?
The prognosis for babies who experience thrush is excellent. The function and effectiveness of the immune system mature as a person moves from infancy to childhood and becomes an adult. Thus, the frequency of thrush decreases with age.
Older children, adolescents, and adults who have thrush (and who do not use inhaled corticosteroids) should undergo a thorough examination with their doctor to determine the reason why they are prone to thrush.
Oral thrush is a fungal infection caused by Candida, a fungus of the mucous membranes. It can be due to any fungus of the genus Candida, but most often it is caused by Candida albicans. Recently, cases due to the species Candida glabrata have been increasing.
You may be surprised by the fact that mold can grow in your mouth, but Candida is an indigenous microorganism present in our system. In a healthy person, the immunity is functioning properly and Candida overgrowth can be controlled. Immunity is the function of trying to eliminate foreign substances and microorganisms from your body. As long as your immunity is working properly to protect your body, Candida is reduced in number and coexists with other bacteria and microorganisms.
It does not appear as a pathological condition. When the immunity decreases for some reason, the growth of Candida can no longer be suppressed, resulting in the development of candidiasis. It is an infectious disease that develops when the immunity is reduced, even though it does not exhibit the symptoms of an infectious disease in a healthy state, which is called opportunistic infection. Candida is one of the leading pathogens causing opportunistic infections.(2)
- Rahmani F, Rezaei N. Refractory Oral Thrush. Pediatric Immunology: Springer; 2019:383-385.
- Vila T, Sultan AS, Montelongo-Jauregui D, Jabra-Rizk MA. Oral Candidiasis: A Disease of Opportunity. Journal of Fungi. 2020;6(1):15.
- Mark AM. Can diabetes affect my oral health? The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2018;149(4):328.
- Mark AM. Diabetes and oral health. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2016;147(10):852.
- Taylor M, Raja A. Oral Candidiasis (Thrush). StatPearls [Internet]: StatPearls Publishing; 2019.
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