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Oral thrush 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 at times it can overgrow and cause painful symptoms.

Oral thrush causes creamy white lesions, generally on your tongue and inner cheeks. As well as spreading to the roof of your mouth, gums and tonsils.

Anyone can be affected by oral thrush, however it is more common in newborn babies and the elderly as well as people with suppressed immune systems or certain medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS or cancer.

Oral thrush is generally only a minor problem if you are healthy, but when you have a weakened immune system symptoms of oral thrush may be more difficult to control or more severe.

 

Symptoms

Many people with oral thrush remain asymptomatic for long periods of time, however symptoms can include;

  • -       Creamy, cheese-like lesions in the mouth
  • -       Altered taste sensations
  • -       Burning pain in the mouth and;
  • -       Difficulty swallowing liquids and solids

 

Diagnosis & Examination

If you are concerned about oral thrush, it is advisable to make an appointment with your Dentist.

The Dentist will most likely see white cheesy or curd-like plaques on the tongue, inner cheek and when scrubbed, will leave a reddish rash that may slightly bleed.

Although there are different clinical manifestations of oral thrush, the most familiar one is known as the pseudomembranous type.

Clinical signs and symptoms, in conjunction with a thorough medical history are generally used by the Dentist when making a provisional diagnosis.

Laboratory testing will confirm the diagnosis and can take shape using the following tests;

  • -       Swabbing; involves scraping the lesion(s) to obtain a sample using wooden spatulas
  • -       Collection of saliva; is where 2mL of saliva is spat into a sterile container and vibrated using a bench vibrator to disaggregate the organisms
  • -       Oral Rinse Sample; is taken when the mouth is rinsed with 10mL of phosphate-buffered saline for 60 seconds and then the sample collected using a sterile container

 

Misdiagnosis can occur if an individual tries to diagnose them self, as there are many other types white lesions that can also occur in the mouth but are not related to oral thrush.

Therefore it is advisable to seek professional advice before commencing self-treatment.

 

Prognosis &Treatment

With effective and appropriate treatment, the prognosis of oral thrush is good. However, relapse can occur if the underlying predisposing factors have not been treated.

Maintaining good oral hygiene and the use of a topical antifungal medication are usually the best treatment for uncomplicated oral thrush.

In severe cases, medication can be prescribed by your Dentist, however topical medication is available in many over-the-counter pharmacies.

 

Prevention

The following measures can help prevent oral thrush;

  • -       Reducing sugar consumption and avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can be helpful to maintain a strong immune system
  • -       Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet
  • -       If you wear dentures it is important to ensure you are wearing correct fitting dentures
  • -       Maintaining good overall general oral health by brushing and flossing regularly
  • -       Ensuring you are drinking sufficient fluids to keep the mouth moist

 

Nevertheless, further dental advice is essential if your oral thrush persists for more than 7-10 days or reoccurs.

If you want to find out more about how you can get in touch with a professional emergency dentist, contact Wisdom Dental Emergency today. They can assist you with any questions you may have regarding oral thrush and overall oral hygiene.

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