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Oral Thrush

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by the yeast fungus candida. Candida albicans is a common fungus found naturally in the mouth and throughout the body. It is normally harmless but sometimes if the PH or acid balance of the body becomes disturbed the candida organism starts to grow out of control causing thrush.

Symptoms

  • Sore, white patches in the mouth
  • A painful burning sensation on the tongue
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth
  • Redness and soreness on the inside of the mouth & throat
  • Difficulty swallowing

What causes oral thrush?

A candidal infection happens when the pH, or acid balance, in the body becomes disturbed. Some medications can cause this to happen - particularly antibiotics. The antibiotics kill off other harmless bacteria, allowing the Candida fungus to thrive. Certain illnesses such as diabetes, HIV or cancer can make candida infection more likely, as can a dry mouth or wearing dentures that don’t fit properly. Oral thrush is also more common during pregnancy, in people who smoke and in those using an asthma inhaler.

How is oral thrush treated?

Oral thrush can be successfully treated with antifungal medicines taken as mouth rinses, gels, lozenges or in tablet form. These are prescribed and should be continued for one month.

Alternative Remedies & Self-help:

  • Good oral hygiene can help with the prevention of oral thrush. Brush your teeth twice daily, have regular dental check-ups and quit smoking.
  • Denture hygiene is extremely important for denture wearers who develop oral thrush, as the yeast clings to the fitting surface of the denture. Dentures should be kept out as much as possible, especially overnight. Some yeast infections will resolve completely if the dentures are not worn at night for two weeks.
  • Dentures should be cleaned in warm soapy water and scrubbed with a soft nailbrush on the fitting surface (the non-polished side). The dentures can be soaked in any solution used to sterilise babies' bottles. If your denture has metal components use a chlorhexidine solution once a week. Do not use bleach on dentures with metal components.
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