Well, for starters, let’s define oral thrush. It’s not the type of thing that people want to think about, but it’s something that everyone should be aware of. Oral thrush is when a yeast infection develops inside your mouth, also known as oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis. It occurs most often in babies and toddlers. The good news, is that it rarely causes serious issues.
It is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans. (It is normal to have a small amount in your mouth without experiencing any problems). The fungus can grow out of control when your immune system is compromised or if antibiotics are taken, which may reduce beneficial bacteria.
Also, those who undergo radiation or chemotherapy treatments for cancer can also be more susceptible to oral thrush because healthy cells are killed off. Lastly, a weakened immune system from diabetes, HIV, or leukemia can increase the odds of oral thrush as well.
Here are the symptoms of oral thrush:
Please note: no symptoms may be present in early stages, but as the infection gets worse, one may experience:
- Soreness or burning in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- White or yellowish bumps on the tongue, insides of the cheeks, tonsils, gums, and/or lips
- Bleeding if the bumps are scraped or irritated
- Dry, cracked skin at the corners of your mouth
- A cotton-like sensation in your mouth
- A bad taste or even loss of taste in your mouth
How will I know if my child or I have it?
Your doctor or dentist may be able to diagnose it just by looking in your mouth. In some cases, your doctor may take a biopsy. If it turns out that you do have it, it can be treated with medication in about a couple of weeks.