Updated: Sep 10, 2020
My proclivity to come up with witty titles is displayed here - not at its finest, but a solid pass, right?
Oral thrush, oral candidiasis or candidiasis. The three names refer to a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans or related microbes. Under *normal*, *healthy* conditions, the yeast colony denizen remains small and undetectable. Certain conditions can favor candida growth, leading to territory expansion in the mouth. The result is a cottony, white, patchy overgrowth. It can be painful, extend to the back of the throat and create unpleasant or missing taste perception.
This photo has nothing to do with oral thrush, but bread making involves yeast (totally different type of yeast) so I opted to add it. The alternative was a brewery.
This condition is more common in women, babies or older adults.
Anything that impairs salivary gland function or impairs the immune system puts an individual as risk for this fungal infection.
Candida is able to do proliferate by taking advantage of a weakened immune system. Immunocompromised patients such as HIV+ patients, individuals on antibiotics or with diabetes, or patients on corticosteroid therapy may be at increased risk. Cancer treatments also make an individual susceptible to developing oral thrush.
Low salivary flow or poor oral hygiene create an acidic environment devoid of important enzymes where the fungus can thrive. Additionally, dentures create low oxygen pockets in the mouth; in some studies over 60% of denture patients had this fungal infection. Denture related candidiasis is attributed to poor denture hygiene.
Candida may occur on its own, without a pre-existing condition as its counterpart.
Do all the things you would do to stimulate a well-balanced immune system. Drink water, eat well, take your vitamins, sleep regularly and exercise daily.
Monitor your systemic conditions. The mouth is a window to your internal health, so a candidiasis may be sequelae of another issue. It might be time for an overall health exam.
Saltwater rinses, baking soda with water rinses and daily intake of probiotics through tea, yogurt or other foods may help (speak to your doctor before changing any diet regimen).
More on treatment
Antifungal treatments are the method of choice to treat oral thrush. In addition, the underlying systemic condition may need to be managed in order to bring the immune system up to speed. Chlorhexidine rinses may be prescribed.