Gut Health Detoxification

Oral Thrush and the Connection to Candida

Oral Thrush and the Connection to Candida

Oral thrush is an infection in the mouth that is characterized by creamy white or yellow lesions. It can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, the gums, the roof of the mouth, the lips, tonsils, and in some cases, it may even spread to the esophagus.

 

Oral thrush is caused by a single-celled fungus, or yeast, called Candida albicans. In this article, we’ll explore more in depth the connection between Candida and oral thrush.

 

What Is Oral Thrush?

 

Oral Thrush on Women's Tongue

 

Oral thrush—also called oral candidiasis—is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of your mouth. Candida is a normal organism in your mouth, but sometimes it can overgrow and cause symptoms.

 

Oral thrush causes white abrasions to form inside the mouth, typically on the tongue and inner cheeks, but it may also spread to other areas of the mouth including the gums, tonsils, roof of the mouth, and back of the throat.

 

Anyone can be affected by oral thrush, regardless of their age. However, oral thrush is much more common in babies and older adults because they have reduced immunity. People that have suppressed immune systems of other health conditions that affect their immunity are also at greater risk for developing oral thrush. Oral thrush is usually a minor health problem, but if your immune system isn't functioning optimally the symptoms may be more severe and difficult to control.

You can learn more about symptoms, treatment, and prevention of oral thrush in our article “Oral Thrush Symptoms and Natural Treatment.”

 

What Is Candida?

 

Candida is a type of yeast or fungus that lives on and inside the human body. Small amounts of Candida fungus typically exist on the skin, and inside the mouth, vagina, and gut. In small amounts, Candida are harmless and cause no symptoms. In fact, they may even play a necessary role in our body’s microbiome—the community of trillions of microorganisms that live on and inside the body, and that help to regulate our health and immunity.

 

Typically, beneficial bacteria living on and in the body, combined with the efforts of the immune system, help to keep Candida populations under control. However, certain factors can create a microbial imbalance in the body that allows the Candida fungus to multiply out of control, resulting in a Candida infection, known as “candidiasis.” You can learn more about this fungal infection in our blog “What Is Candida?”

 

What is Candidiasis?

 

When Candida are able to grow beyond healthy levels, they create a Candida infection, known as candidiasis. Candidiasis is the medical term for a fungal infection caused by Candida. Not all species of Candida cause infection, but many of them can, and typically, Candida albicans is the species that is most likely to cause a Candida overgrowth.

 

Usually a Candida infection affects the mouth, throat, vagina, and gut, but if not treated, or if the population grows significantly out of control, it can lead to a more serious health condition called invasive candidiasis. Invasive candidiasis is a serious infection that can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, and other parts of the body. 

 

What Is Oral Candidiasis?

 

This brings us back to where we started—with oral thrush. Oral thrush is simply a Candida infection in the mouth—hence the medical term “oral candidiasis.” When the Candida yeast already existing in your mouth is able to grow beyond healthy levels, it can cause an infection. It is important to treat oral candidiasis as soon as possible, as fungus like Candida have the tendency to spread, and if untreated, Candida can spread from your mouth to your esophagus, or to other parts of your body.

 

The term “oral thrush” refers specifically to a local infection in the mouth and throat—but Candida infections can occur throughout the body, and sometimes a Candida infection in one part of the body can spread and lead to an infection in other areas of the body. Though oral thrush is a Candida infection of the mouth, it is sometimes linked to other kinds of Candida infections in the body. For example, people that have a Candida infection of the vagina or gut may also develop an infection in the mouth.

 

So, we’ve established that beneficial bacteria, along with the immune system, play the important role of keeping Candida populations under control, and that a weakened immune system or microbial imbalance can allow for Candida to grow beyond healthy levels—whether that be in the mouth or in any other area. This naturally leads us to the question of what causes a microbial imbalance and weakened immune system.

 

What Causes a Candida Overgrowth?

 

Candida is an opportunistic fungus. When the conditions are right for it to grow, it will seize that opportunity. This is why it is so important to keep a healthy balance of bacteria in the body and to strengthen our immune system so we can keep Candida under control and prevent an infection from occurring.

 

Candida overgrowth typically develops when the bacteria that keep Candida under control are suppressed, or when the body’s immune system is weakened. Some common causes of Candida overgrowth include:

 

  • Diets high in processed foods, sugars and refined carbs
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics
  • High stress levels
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking oral contraceptives
  • Steroids
  • Dentures
  • Dry mouth
  • HIV
  • Warm, humid weather
  • A weakened immune system
  • Auto-immune diseases

 

What Are the Symptoms of a Candida Infection in Other Parts of the Body?

 

If your oral thrush is merely another area that Candida has spread in your body, and you have another underlying infection, you will likely experience one or more of the following Candida symptoms:

 

  • Digestive issues (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc.)
  • Leaky gut
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Yeast infections (especially recurring yeast infections)
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Sugar cravings (especially late at night)
  • Sinus infections
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Skin and nail fungal infections
  • Acne

 

 To learn more about these symptoms in depth, check out our blog “Symptoms of Candida Infection”.

 

How Do You Treat Oral Thrush and Candida?

 

Oregon Grape Root in Ground

 

If your Candida infection is localized only in the mouth—meaning it started here and has yet to spread to any other area of the body—then the approach to treatment will be different than it would be for treating a Candida infection in the Gut or vagina. The treatment for oral thrush Candida that most doctors prescribe is an antifungal medication like fluconazole, as well as antifungal mouthwash like nystatin, and recommendations for diet, lifestyle, and dental hygiene.

 

As an alternative to pharmaceutical antifungal medications, people sometimes choose to use antifungal herbs instead.

 

Though oral thrush may be where you notice Candida symptoms first, it is usually a sign of a deeper more systemic Candida infection. If there is a microbial imbalance in your body, or if your immune system is compromised, then it is likely that Candida has affected other areas of the body as well. Most often, the gut is the center for Candida overgrowth activity. In order to truly treat your Candida oral thrush, and to prevent it from reoccurring, you’ll need to get to the root of the issue and get rid of the overgrowth of Candida in your body, as well as recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria to restore microbial balance.

 

How to Treat a Candida Infection

 

The best way to treat candidiasis and prevent recurring infections is to address the underlying cause. Candidiasis of any kind is an overgrowth of the Candida fungus, so, to reduce the population of Candida, you need to follow a certain process that helps to eliminate them and restore balance in your body’s microbiome.

 

Each part of the process is important for getting rid of Candida. The process is to:

 

  • Stop eating the foods that feed Candida and follow an anti-candida diet
  • Consume herbs and foods that target and kill the Candida fungus (as well as Candida’s protective biofilm)
  • Repopulate your gut with probiotics and eat foods that contribute to a healthy gut and healthy immune system so that the body can restore balance.

 

Step 1: Stop Eating Foods That Feed Candida

 

Candida is a type of fungus. All fungus has one primary food source: sugar. Sugar is the simple fuel that allows fungus of all kinds to grow and spread through their environment. In order to get rid of Candida, you first need to weaken their population by removing sugar from your diet. This will starve the Candida and sets you up for success in step 2, using antifungal herbs to kill the Candida.

 

It’s important to mention here that we humans also depend on sugar for fuel. The idea of the Candida diet is not to remove ALL sugar from your body, but to remove all sources of processed or refined sugar, as well as to remove all foods that are notably high in sugar, and to only consume natural sugars from fruits and vegetables in moderation.

 

Eating a few low sugar fruits like lemon, pear, or fig is not going to cause an issue. What will cause an issue, or perhaps already has caused an issue, is consuming lots of high-sugar foods and snacks like cookies, soda, chocolate, ice cream, cake, etc. Even too many high-sugar fruits like dates or apples are recommended to be avoided during this step.

 

Step 2: Use Antifungal Herbs to Kill Candida

The next step in the process is to focus now on killing the Candida with antifungal herbs like the ones we use in our Candida Cleanse tonic. How long you will need to take these herbs will depend on the severity of your infection. In general, it is recommended to take them until your symptoms go away. It is important, however, that you also follow the proper protocol so that the Candida cleanse is effective. Candida infections are notoriously difficult to treat, so it is important to follow every step thoroughly.

 

Step 3: Recolonize the Gut & Boost the Immune System

 

The final step in the process is to focus on restoring a healthy balance in your gut microbiome. This is done primarily through consuming beneficial probiotics and prebiotics, as well as consuming probiotic-rich foods, eating foods that support gut health and avoiding foods and substances that harm gut bacteria such as those mentioned earlier in the article.

 

Our gut makes up the majority of our immune system, which is why recolonizing the gut and boosting the immune system are a part of the same step. However, you may also want to focus on improving immunity by eating nutritious foods, sleeping well, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, and also by supplementing with immune supporting herbs.

 

Through following this process, you can get rid of a Candida infection at the root. When Candida levels are back to normal, Candida infections will clear, and their symptoms will clear along with it—including oral thrush. If you have oral thrush, you may want to follow this protocol in addition to focusing more on oral hygiene.

 

As with any medical condition, it is recommended to speak to your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

 

Summary

 

Oral thrush is an infection in the mouth caused by a single-celled fungus, or yeast, called Candida albicans. It can occur anywhere in the mouth, and in some cases, may even spread to the esophagus.

 

Typically, beneficial bacteria living on and in the body, combined with the efforts of the immune system, help to keep Candida populations under control. However, certain factors can create a microbial imbalance in the body that allows the Candida fungus to multiply out of control, resulting in a Candida infection, known as “candidiasis.” When a Candida infection affects the mouth, it causes oral thrush, or “oral candidiasis.”

 

The best way to treat candidiasis and prevent recurring infections is to address the underlying cause. Candidiasis of any kind is an overgrowth of the Candida fungus, so, to reduce the population of Candida, you need to follow a certain process that helps to eliminate them and restore balance in your body’s microbiome.

 

Each part of the process is important for getting rid of Candida. The process is to:

 

  • Stop eating the foods that feed Candida
  • Consume herbs and foods that target and kill the Candida fungus
  • Repopulate your gut with probiotics and eat foods that contribute to a healthy gut and healthy immune system so that the body can restore balance.

 

By following this process, you can get rid of a Candida infection at the root. When Candida levels are back to normal, Candida infections will clear, and their symptoms will clear along with it—including oral thrush. If you have oral thrush, you may want to follow this protocol in addition to focusing more on oral hygiene.

 

As with any medical condition, it is recommended to speak to your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

 

 

 

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5753159/

https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/invasive/statistics.html

https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/invasive/index.html

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23705242/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/symptoms-causes/syc-20353533

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560624/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3708393/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545282/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK367586/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151112/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4681845/

Products mentioned in this post

Candida Cleanse Tonic
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Candida Cleanse Tonic

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