Thrush is the name of a mouth infection caused by the Candida fungus. The Candida fungus lives in many people’s mouths, but if they overgrow, it will cause oral thrush. This condition is a surface infection and could affect the corners of your mouth, the tongue, the roof of your mouth, the inside of the cheeks and the throat.

Thrush is a common condition

It is common for babies to have thrush. Newborns could acquire this fungus during the delivery if the mother suffered from a yeast infection in the vagina. Children develop thrush symptoms within 7-10 days after birth. Newborns with the infection can pass it back to the mother while nursing. The disease could be passed back and forth, making a recovery impossible. If your nipples are unusually sensitive or red, you have nursing thrush, and you should contact your dentist or physician.

Older children and adults can suffer from thrush if:

  • They have a disease or took certain medication that affects their immune system.
  • They undergo cancer chemotherapy or steroid therapy
  • If they are under antibiotics treatment

Antibiotics are known to disturb the healthy population of bacteria in the mouth. When the healthy bacteria are gone, the candida fungus can grow without any competition. The people who suffer from dry mouth or have less saliva are more prone to develop thrush. Dry mouth is not a condition that comes with age and is mostly the result of over-the-counter and prescription medication.

People who wear complete dentures or who have diabetes or HIV are more likely to get thrush. Senior citizens or those who are malnourished could also suffer from thrush.

Thrush symptoms

The first thrush symptom you may encounter may be a bad taste in the mouth, followed by the decreasing sense of taste. Thrush can cause white patches inside the mouth (that look like cottage cheese). These spots usually form on the roof of your mouth, tongue, corners of your mouth, and back throat. If you scrape off the surface of the patch, you will find underneath a red, inflamed area. Having cracked, moist, red area in the corners of your mouth is also a sign of thrush. In some cases, the white patches cause pain, especially in babies, creating them discomfort while nursing.

Thrush diagnosis

Thrush is a condition that can be diagnosed by your dentist by looking into your mouth. The dental professional will scrape off the white patches with a gauze pad or tongue blade. Your dentist may send a sample of the scrapings to a special laboratory for testing. In rare occasions, a biopsy will be needed, where a small piece of the skin is removed to be examined in the laboratory. Most patients receive a diagnosis based on the evaluations done by your dentist.

If you are suffering from thrush often, it may suggest you are having an undiagnosed medical illness, such as cancer, diabetes, or HIV. To determine if you are suffering from any of these, you will need to do a couple of tests, including blood tests.

Thrush is not a dangerous condition and could go after a week, but it could also indicate that you are having certain health problems. Ask your dentist to determine the source of your thrush and give you appropriate treatment.