Thrush is an oral infection caused by Candida yeast. It may also be called Candidiasis or Moniliasis. Babies and elderly adults are the most likely to get Thrush, but anyone can. To help you better understand oral Candida yeast, or thrush, here are some FAQs.
What is Candida yeast?
Candida albicans is the scientific name for a fungus that naturally lives in your body. Specialized bacteria in your body keep the yeast population under control. But if your immune system is weakened or you are taking antibiotics, the yeast might multiply out of control and give you an infection.
Why do people get oral Candida yeast infections?
Babies get Candida yeast and other infections because their immune systems are not as strong as an adult's and can't keep the yeast growth in check. In adults, certain medications can cause thrush. Other risk factors:
- Oral sex
- Heavy smoking
- Wearing dentures
- Environmental chemicals
What are the symptoms of thrush?
You can identify thrush by the white patches on the tongue, mouth, gums and tonsils. They look kind of like cottage cheese. They may bleed if they are rubbed or scraped. Thrush can appear suddenly and may spread down into your esophagus, making it difficult to swallow.
If I have thrush, should I be worried?
Thrush is easily managed in healthy children and adults. But it can be a more serious problem if you have a weakened immune system.
Should I see a doctor for thrush?
If you are an otherwise healthy adult or child, you could try taking care of it on your own first. If it doesn't go away, thrush could be a symptom of a more serious problem that is weakening your immune system. You ought to see your doctor if your thrush persists.
What do I do?
If you are a healthy adult, you might try eating unsweetened yogurt or taking acidophilus, which you can find at your local health food store or drugstore. These treatments can help restore the balance between bacteria and fungus in your body and end the infection. If the yogurt and acidophilus don't help, your doctor may prescribe something.
Some people have used garlic for thrush, because it is believed to have antifungal and antibacterial characteristics. Children may not need to be treated. You can try giving them unsweetened yogurt, but see a doctor for persistent infections. More and more people are turning to alternative methods for help.
While I have thrush, what can I do to feel better?
- Cold liquids or frozen treats and juices may help to ease the pain of thrush
- Eat liquid foods that are easy to swallow
- Drink from a straw
- Rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater mixture