Gut Health Detoxification

Oral Thrush Symptoms and Natural Treatment

Oral Thrush Symptoms and Natural Treatment

Oral thrush is an infection in the mouth caused by the fungus Candida albicans. This infection causes white or yellowish bumps to form on the inner cheeks and tongue. This condition most often occurs in children and those with weakened immune systems. In rare cases, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause further complications.

 

What Is Oral Thrush?

 

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 lesions to form inside the mouth, usually on your tongue or inner cheeks, but it may spread to other areas of the mouth as well and even to the back of the throat.

 

Anyone can be affected by oral thrush, regardless of age. However, it is much more common in infants, toddlers and older adults because they have reduced immunity. People with weakened immune systems or people that have health conditions that affect their immunity may also be at a greater risk. Oral thrush is typically a minor health problem, but in some cases the symptoms may be more severe and difficult to control.

 

What Does Oral Thrush Look Like?

Oral thrush can look differently depending on the severity of the infection. In mild cases, you may not notice much at all. In more severe cases, areas inside the mouth become covered with white or yellow lesions. These slightly raised lesions can cause a sensation of redness, burning or soreness.

 

Oral Thrush vs healthy tongue

 

 

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Thrush?

 

Oral thrush may not cause any symptoms in some cases, especially in the initial stages of infection. As the infection develops, however, it is possible to see one or more of the following oral thrush symptoms:

 

  • Creamy white or yellow patches of bumps inside the mouth.
  • Slight bleeding if the bumps are scraped
  • Redness, burning or soreness that may be severe enough to cause difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • A loss of taste
  • Dry, cracked skin at the corners of your mouth
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Redness, irritation and pain under dentures (denture stomatitis)

 

 

What Causes Oral Thrush?

 

Oral thrush, as well as many other types of yeast infections in the body, are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida—most commonly Candida albicans. Candida is a type of yeast, or single-celled fungus, that normally lives in the body and on the skin. Small amounts of this fungus are normal to find in healthy people. When your immune system is working properly, beneficial bacteria in your body help to keep Candida under control. If your immune system is compromised, however, or the balance of microorganisms in your body is disrupted, then the fungus no longer has anything to limit its growth and can grow out of control, causing a Candida infection.

 

You can develop an overgrowth of Candida in many parts of your body. Candida infections are very common in the gut. Vaginal yeast infections are also commonly caused by Candida overgrowth. Oral thrush is simply the name for a Candida infection in the mouth.

 

How Do You Diagnose Oral Thrush?

 

In many cases, your doctor can diagnose oral thrush simply by examining your mouth for oral thrush symptoms. It is also possible that your doctor may want to do a biopsy of the affected area. In this case, they will scrape off a small portion of a bump from your mouth and send the sample to a laboratory to be tested for Candida albicans.

 

Is Oral Thrush Contagious?

 

Oral thrush is caused by a Candida infection, and so, this means that an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans is present in the mouth of an infected person. If this person kisses another person, it is possible to transmit the fungus that causes oral thrush to someone else.

 

Whether that person develops oral thrush, however, depends on their own immune system health and their unique balance of microorganisms. If they have a microbial imbalance or weakened immune system, they may develop oral thrush.

 

Keep in mind, however, that since Candida albicans is so common in our environment, developing an oral yeast infection does not mean you necessarily caught it from someone else, or that you gave it to another person.

 

How Do You Get Rid of Oral Thrush?

 

Typically, in order to treat oral thrush, your doctor will likely prescribe an anti-fungal medication. Once you start your treatment, your symptoms should go away within a couple of weeks. Oral thrush can return, however. This will depend on whether your immune system or microbial balance is restored and able to keep the Candida yeast at bay.

If you have a recurring yeast infection, it is a sign that your Candida overgrowth is systemic, and should be addressed in the gut as well as the mouth.

 

Some people prefer not to take certain antifungal medications and opt for more natural alternatives. In this case, certain antifungal herbs can help to reduce a Candida infection. Oregano oil can be taken internally, as well as used topically.

 

Along with antifungal medications or herbs, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day, or after each meal. Coconut oil pulling, flossing, tongue scraping, and rinsing with mouthwash are other good dental hygiene habits.

 

If you have oral thrush, however, be sure to use a soft toothbrush and avoid scraping the bumps or lesions. You may want to avoid tongue scraping as well if the oral thrush has affected your tongue. Once you finish your treatment of oral thrush, make sure to throw away your tooth brush and replace it with a new one. If you have dentures, take extra care to keep them clean, as dirty dentures can easily lead to an infection in the mouth.

 

It might also help to supplement with probiotics (link product) to help restore the balance of bacteria in your gut. Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that can help keep Candida under control.

 

For those experiencing oral thrush, especially if it is recurring, it is often recommended to do a full Candida cleanse in order to restore balance to the body’s microbial environment. Often a microbial imbalance is at the root of an oral thrush infection, so unless this underlying cause is treated, recurring infections are likely to occur.

 

How Do You Prevent Oral Thrush?

 

As with many types of health conditions, it is easier to focus on prevention than it is to treat an infection once you have it. Since oral thrush is often caused by dysbiosis in the gut, make sure that you take proactive measures to keep your gut healthy if you wish to reduce your risk of oral thrush or Candida infection.

 

You can do this by avoiding foods and substances that harm the gut, like alcohol, antibiotics, cigarette smoke, processed foods, refined carbs, etc. and by following a candida detox diet. Some helpful tips for supporting gut health include:

 

  • Focus on eating organic whole foods, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Include fermented foods in your diet or supplement with probiotics to keep your gut microbiome healthy.
  • Make sure to eat enough fiber and prebiotics to support digestion and to feed friendly bacteria in the gut.
  • Drink plenty of water each day.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night.
  • Try to manage your stress levels and improve relaxation.

 

Many of these habits will also strengthen your immune system, which is also important in preventing infections.

 

Strep Vs Thrush: How to Tell the Difference

 

Oral thrush vs strep throat? It can be hard to tell the difference sometimes. They both can cause white patches, however, strep is likely to remain in the throat and esophogus area and be quite painful, even difficult to swallow. Thrush on the other hand, can cause patches anywhere in the mouth and is typically less painful than strep and does not always cause pain in the throat. Still, it is best to get your doctor to check it out if you suspect you have either oral thrush or strep throat.

 

 

Summary

 

Oral thrush is an infection in the mouth caused by the fungus Candida albicans. This infection causes white or yellowish bumps to form on the inner cheeks and tongue. This condition most often occurs in children and those with weakened immune systems. In rare cases, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause further complications.

 

When your immune system is working properly, beneficial bacteria in your body help to keep Candida under control. If your immune system is compromised, however, or the balance of microorganisms in your body is disrupted, then the fungus no longer has anything to limit its growth and can grow out of control, causing a Candida infection.

 

Usually an oral thrush infection is mild and rarely causes serious problems. However, in some cases, it can spread to other parts of the body and may cause further complications.

 

Treatment of oral thrush typically involves taking antifungal medication to kill the Candida yeast, along with practicing good oral hygiene and focusing on rebuilding a healthy microbial balance as well as strengthening your immune system.

 

As with many types of health conditions, it is easier to focus on prevention than it is to treat an infection once you have it. You can reduce your risk of oral thrush by keeping your gut healthy, avoiding things that disrupt your microbial balance, eating a nutritious diet and living a healthy lifestyle to improve your immune system health, and practicing good oral hygiene.

 

 

 

 

References:

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/

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