Most people think about gum disease, teeth sensitivity, cracked teeth and teeth whitening when they think about oral health problems. However, oral health problems are diverse, and some of them aren't common. Have you thought about oral thrush and the people it mostly affects? Oral thrush mostly affects children under 6 months old, and it develops when they have a yeast infection in their mouth. This oral condition is also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis or oral candidiasis. If a dentist doesn't treat it in good time, it can cause serious complications and weaken the immune system of an affected person.
What Symptoms Tell You Your Child Has Oral Thrush?
Most oral problems will show some symptoms when developing. The infection or condition gets worse when the early symptoms are ignored. If you find yellowish or white bumps on your child's tongue and the inner cheeks, it's time to see a dentist and treat oral thrush before it aggravates. Those patches of bumps also appear on the child's lips, gums and tonsils. Slight bleeding is noticed when these bumps are scraped. Most children with oral thrush usually experience a cotton-like sensation, burning or soreness in their mouths. Other symptoms include a loss of taste, bad taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing and cracked or dry skin at the edges of the mouth.
What Are Possible Causes Of Oral Thrush?
Most dentists assert that an overgrowth of Candida albicans causes yeast infections that lead to oral thrush. A small portion of this fungus lives in the mouth normally, and they don't cause any harm. The beneficial bacteria in the body control this species when the immune system is strong. However, things change when the microorganisms' balance in the body is disrupted or when the immune system gets compromised. An overgrowth of Candida albicans occurs when someone takes certain antibiotics, among other medications. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are treatments that cause oral thrush since they kill or destroy healthy cells that regulate Candida albicans in the mouth. Other conditions that cause oral thrush include diabetes, HIV and leukemia.
Is This Oral Health Problem Contagious?
Oral thrush is contagious. Anyone with Candida albicans in their mouth will pass it on to someone else, especially when kissing them. The oral thrush-causing fungus also causes yeast infections in other parts of the body. Individuals with a penile yeast infection, vaginal yeast infection or oral thrush can pass Candida albicans to their partners through oral sex, anal sex or vaginal sex. A mother with this fungus passes it on to their baby when breastfeeding. A baby with oral thrush also passes the yeast infection to the mother while suckling.
If you didn't know much about oral thrush or took it lightly before, you now know how serious it can be. Besides examining your mouth for patches of bumps, a dentist will also access the affected areas and take a biopsy for a lab test. Endoscopy and throat swab cultures are also used to diagnose oral thrush.