Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is an infection caused by fungi that develop in the mouth, tongue and throat. Oral thrush is more common in babies, infants and old people, but can occur at any age. Oral thrush is not a very serious disease because it can be treated once and for all.

Some drugs permit fungi to progress unrestrained:

– many types of antibiotics;

– Oral contraceptives;

– Drugs that decrease the body’s ability to protect itself from external negative factors

The mode of transmission of the fungus that causes oral thrush are variable:

– An infant may contact thrush from the mother during birth, if she developed vaginal candidosis. Symptoms occur at an average of 3 to 7 days after birth. Newborn babies have immature immune systems and can easily contact any viruses. For these reasons oral thrush is common in the first months of life;

– Children and teenagers. Oral thrush is not usually contagious. However, children with a weakened immune system risk infection and can contact it from other children on the playground or from common toys. A child with thrush fungus can spread through direct contact (any toy that is inserted into the mouth, for example);

Candida, the fungus that causes oral thrush is present normally in small quantities in the mouth and other mucous membranes of the body. Usually, it does not cause injuries. There are many factors that can contribute to the multiplying of the fungus and expand to other areas of the body.

Factors that increase the risk of oral candidosis are:

– Weak immune system (the body’s ability to fight infections is impaired). In terms of a normal immune system, Candida cannot represent a risk in the organism.

– Infants are more likely to develop oral thrush because their immune system is not fully developed. Thus, oral thrush is very common in the first weeks of life;

– The elderly have a weakened immune system, and are likely to develop oral thrush;

– HIV positive patients have high risk of developing oral thrush due to their vulnerability. Approximately 90% of them developed oral thrush at least once during the evolution of disease;

– Patients with diabetes are also prone to thrush because high blood sugar level is a risk factor for excessive growth of fungi;

– Dry mouth can occur either through excessive use of mouthwash or due to medical conditions such as dehydration.

– Pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to impaired balance of microorganisms in the mouth, favoring the appearance of thrush;

– Poor oral hygiene; – Use of antibiotics. They may favor the appearance of thrush by altering the balance of microorganisms in the body.

Symptoms of oral thrush are:

– white stains located in the mouth and tongue. Thrush can be confused with deposits that remain after milk feeding. These white spots are cheesy. The patient may feel pain when chewing and swallowing. Most cases of thrush are mild and can be cured by simple local application of antifungal solutions. Very mild forms can heal without medical treatment. For severe forms, local antifungal treatment is within 14 days is recommended. In some cases, however, thrush may persist for several weeks even under treatment.

Persons most at risk to develop oral thrush are newborn babies (because their immune system is not yet developed enough to defend them from external factors) and elder people (because their immune system is already weakened)

Other risk factors

– Dentures or appliances for straightening teeth can cause irritation of the mouth, they make it difficult to maintain satisfactory oral hygiene, increasing the risk of thrush;

– Individuals with a weakened immune system, such as those with diabetes, AIDS or chemotherapy are at increased risk of developing oral thrush.

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