Oral thrush

What is oral thrush?

Oral thrush is a fungal infection, which appears as white blotches on the lining of the mouth. The oral thrush can sometimes be painful and when touching or rubbing the white patches, the area may start to bleed.

Anybody can get oral thrush, but it is more common in babies, denture users, people with compromised immune systems or those with steroid inhalers for chest conditions such as asthma.

What causes oral thrush?

Oral thrush stems from a fungal infection, which accumulates in the mouth. There are factors however that contribute to oral thrush developing:
  • Those who use dentures can sometimes experience thrush growing beneath the denture.
  • Users of steroid inhalers with COPD or asthma.
  • Those with weakened immune systems, i.e babies and the elderly.
  • Patients who are medicated with steroids and chemotherapy, those with inflammatory bowel disease, or arthritis, as well as people with medical conditions like HIV and diabetes.
  • Taking antibiotics.
  • Smokers.
  • Experiencing a dry mouth as a side effect of medication.

How to prevent oral thrush?

To prevent oral thrush from developing we suggest following the guidance below:
  • Quit smoking.
  • Brushing twice a day, gently on the gums and tongue. Flossing before brushing will also help prevent oral thrush.
  • If you have a dry mouth, try to sip water regularly to keep the mouth wet.
  • Inhaler users should use a spacer device and rinse mouth when possible after usage.
  • Avoid wearing dentures to sleep, and if they don’t feel comfortable contact your dentist as they may need adjusting.
  • Those with deficiencies like anaemia, maintain taking vitamins and supplements.
  • If you have diabetes, aim to keep your blood sugar under control.

How to treat oral thrush?

To treat oral thrush, you will need to take an antifungal medication, this can come in the form of liquids or gels that are applied to the inner mouth (topical) which span over the duration of a week or two. You may also be advised to apply the gel to your dentures, if applicable. Should your dentist or GP suspect it is medication causing the oral thrush, you may be taken off it.

How to spot oral thrush/symptoms?

  • Tender or sore gums, roof of mouth or tongue.
  • Struggling to eat food or drink.
  • Cracking at the corners of the mouth.
  • Not being able to taste food or drinks.
  • A bad taste in the mouth.
  • A baby with oral thrush might avoid feeding.
If you or a child are experiencing any of the symptoms above, do not hesitate to contact us, and we will book an appointment to discuss treatments.

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