Yeast infection in the mouth is a yeast-like fungus that causes the yeast to grow and multiply rapidly. This infection can occur commonly because of uncontrolled diabetes, HIV or AIDS, chemotherapy drugs, and other medications. So if you have one of these conditions, it would be best to ask a medical professional about the risk of this infection to your health. The yeast cells produce an enzyme called “glucoamylase,” which breaks down sugar molecules into smaller units so the yeast can use them for food. This leads to the overgrowth of yeast cells and yeast infections in the mouth. Keep reading to learn more about oral yeast infection, its symptoms, complications, and treatments.
Yeast Infection in The Mouth: What Is Oral Thrush?
Yeast infection in the mouth, also known as oral thrush or simply thrush, is a fungal infection. This affects the mucous membranes of the mouth and causes white, slimy patches on your tongue. This is also called oral candidiasis that commonly occurs because of the fungus Candida albicans but may also be caused by Candida tropicalis or Candida glabrata.
Most people have a small amount of Candida fungus in their mouths, stomachs, and skins. Oral thrush is generally a non-serious condition for most persons. However, individuals with a weakened immune system may have more severe symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Thrush
The most common sign of yeast infection in the mouth is the presence of white patches on the inside of the cheeks, tongue, or roof of the mouth. These patches may be thick and lumpy or look like a milk coating. Other signs and symptoms of an oral candida infection may include:
- Redness or soreness in the mouth
- A burning sensation in the mouth and throat
- Difficulty swallowing or eating because of pain and inflammation in the mouth
- Swelling of the tongue
- Pain when chewing
These symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the infection. If you have any signs and symptoms, see your doctor or dentist right away. Your dentist’s recommendation may include an antifungal medication. Remember that immediate treatment is essential. If left untreated, it may cause serious complications.
Complications Associated With Oral Thrush
If left untreated, yeast infection in the mouth can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious complications. The following are some complications that may occur:
Oral Candidiasis: Candida infections are yeast infections that affect the mucous membranes of the mouth. This condition is a common complication of yeast infection in the mouth. It can cause pain, difficulty swallowing, and even loss of appetite.
Esophageal Candidiasis: Candida esophagitis is a yeast infection of the esophagus. It can cause pain when swallowing, difficulty eating, and weight loss.
Candida Pneumonia: This is a yeast infection of the lungs. It can cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, and coughing.
Candida Meningitis: This is a yeast infection of the brain and spinal cord. It can cause headaches, fever, stiff neck, and seizures.
Vaginal Yeast Infection: Yeast infection in your mouth can spread to other parts of your body, including your vulva. Wearing tight clothing that traps moisture and heat close to the vulva can also promote this type of infection. In any case, vaginal yeast infections can cause itching, irritation, pain, and soreness in the vagina and vulva. This yeast infection can also occur in men’s genitalia.
You can prevent these possible complications by having the necessary treatment early. So if you notice an unusual white spot on your mouth, make sure to see a health professional.
Risk Factors For Developing Oral Thrush
The yeast Candida is the most common cause of yeast infection in the mouth. It is a type of fungus that lives in the human body and usually is harmless. However, under certain conditions, Candida can overgrow and cause an infection. The following are some factors that can increase your risk of developing a yeast infection in the mouth:
Weakened Immune Systems
Having a weakened immune system due to illness or medication can make you more susceptible to yeast infections.
People with diabetes are likely to develop oral thrush. This is because people with diabetes have high sugar levels in their blood, which yeast thrives on.
People with HIV/AIDS often experience yeast infections, including oral thrush, due to their compromised immune system.
Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of developing oral thrush, as the hormonal changes in their body can lead to a weakened immune system. Also, taking certain antibiotics or birth control pills can increase your risk.
Breastfeeding can also increase your risk of developing a yeast infection in the mouth, as yeast thrives on milk sugar.
Besides diseases from old age, aging can also increase your risk of developing an oral yeast infection. Your immune system may weaken as you get older, making you more susceptible to yeast infections.
Recent Dental Work or Surgery
Oral infection is also possible to happen after dental work or surgery. If you believe that the pain in your teeth is due to a disease, it is essential to seek immediate treatment. Suppose a dental procedure is not completed correctly or mistakes are made during treatment. In that case, it can lead to a dental infection that can be uncomfortable and harmful.
In addition, using dentures and other dental appliances can also increase your risk of developing oral thrush. This is particularly true if you have poor oral hygiene practice. Suppose you have any of these risk factors. In that case, it’s essential to be especially vigilant about watching for signs of oral yeast infection to seek treatment if you suspect you have it.
Is Oral Thrush Contagious?
If you have thrush in your mouth, it’s conceivable for the fungus that causes it to transfer to someone else if you kiss them. In certain circumstances, they may become infected with oral thrush.
Oral thrush is caused by a fungus, which also causes yeast infections in other parts of the body. You can transmit the condition from one area of your body to another part of someone else’s through direct contact.
Suppose you have oral thrush, a penile yeast infection, or a vaginal yeast infection. In that case, you can possibly pass the fungus to your partner through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you’re pregnant and have a vaginal yeast infection, the fungus may be transmitted to your infant during birth.
Breast or nipple yeast infections can spread the fungus to your baby if you breastfeed. If your infant has oral thrush, they might pass the fungus to you when they feed.
When C. Albicans is transferred from one individual to another, it seldom causes oral thrush or yeast infections.
Because C. Albicans is such a widespread fungus, getting an infection does not necessarily imply you received it from someone else. Find out what factors may increase your chances of acquiring infection after someone else passes this fungus to you.
Your dentist or doctor may be able to identify oral thrush by looking at your mouth for the distinctive bumps it produces.
Your doctor may take a biopsy of the afflicted area to confirm your diagnosis in some situations. They will scrape off a tiny piece of your sore from your mouth to perform a biopsy. The sample will be sent to a laboratory for C. Albicans testing.
Suppose your doctor thinks you have esophageal thrush. In that case, they may take a throat swab culture or an endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.
Your doctor takes a tissue sample from the back of your throat with a cotton swab to perform a throat culture. They then send this material to a laboratory for analysis.
Your doctor inserts a thin tube with a light and camera on end into your mouth to perform an endoscopy. They insert this “endoscope” (a tube with a light and camera) to examine the esophagus through your mouth and into your chest. They may take a sample of tissue for examination as well.
Treatment For yeast Infection In Mouth
If you experience yeast infection symptoms in the mouth, see your doctor immediately. They will likely do a physical examination and take a culture of the yeast to determine the cause of the infection.
The treatment for oral thrush depends on the severity of the infection. In most cases, yeast infection in the mouth can be treated with antifungal medications such as Nystatin, clotrimazole (Mycelex), or Amphotericin B.
Suppose yeast infection in the mouth is not treated. In that case, it can lead to yeast infections throughout the body and increase your risk of developing oral yeast infections. If you’ve been diagnosed with yeast infections in the mouth, follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment and take any medications prescribed.
Prevention Tips For Oral Thrush
There are some effective ways you can prevent yeast infections. These include:
Those who smoke are more likely to get yeast infections. They are also more prone to developing oral thrush because smoking damages the mouth.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of developing an oral infection.
Maintain a Good Oral Hygiene
One of the best ways to prevent yeast infection in the mouth is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. In addition, use a tongue scraper to remove yeast and bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Rinsing your mouth with water after every meal can also help. Use gentle toothpaste if you have sensitive teeth.
Avoid Sharing Personal Items
Another way to prevent infection is to practice good hygiene. For example, do not share personal items like combs and towels with others. Also, avoid using saliva-containing mouthwash or cough drops. Even sharing a glass can pass yeast infection in the mouth from one person to another.
A yeast infection can often be caused by a yeast overgrowth in the mouth due to feeding the yeast with sugary and starchy foods. You can prevent yeast infections by limiting your intake of these foods. By avoiding them, you take away yeast’s reason for living, making it die out and less likely to infect your body.
Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
If you have diabetes, yeast infection in the mouth can be more likely to develop because of the high sugar content in your blood. For this reason, you need to take extra care of your teeth and gums. In addition, if you have diabetes, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste can help reduce the risk of yeast infection in the mouth.
Wear a Mouthguard
If you are someone who participates in contact sports or grinds your teeth at night, wearing a mouthguard can help prevent yeast infection in the mouth. A mouthguard will protect your teeth and gums from becoming injured, and it will also keep your saliva from getting into your nose. This will help reduce your risk of developing oral thrush.
See Your Dentist Regularly
If you have a yeast infection in your mouth, it’s essential to see your dentist help prevent it from spreading. Dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, can make yeast infections more likely. See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Let them know if you’re experiencing any yeast infection symptoms in the mouth. They can provide you with the treatment you need to help get rid of the infection.
For most people, a yeast infection in the mouth is just an unpleasant and temporary condition that will go away. However, some individuals may experience more severe symptoms or complications from oral thrushes, such as difficulty swallowing due to inflamed tissue lining their throat.
Suppose you are experiencing any of these symptoms for more than two weeks after treatment with over-the-counter medication. In that case, you should contact your doctor right away so they can evaluate your situation and provide appropriate care.
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