The main causes of oral thrush are high sugar diet, wearing dentures, compromised immune system, underlying medical problems, antibiotic administration, and side effects of medicines. Timely treatment will help treat the condition effectively without causing any complications.
Oral thrush is a medical condition in which the fungus Candida albicans infects parts of the mouth. The most noticeable symptoms are white lesions covering the inside of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, and tongue. When irritated, these lesions are painful, and at times, bleed. If left untreated, they may spread to the gums, tonsils, and throat. Other signs include cracking at the corners of mouth and loss of taste.
Our body contains bacteria and other microorganisms in a balanced manner. Consequently, candida is found in many people, without causing infectious symptoms. But, when there is an abnormal change in the body systems, candida population increases significantly, causing an infection. Though anyone can get infected with candida fungus in the mouth, oral thrush is more frequent among babies and certain sections of people.
Sugar Rich Diet: One of the causes of candida infection is consuming diet that is very rich in sugar. It is to be borne in mind that any fungus, including candida, requires sugar and moisture for survival. With a high sugar intake, the risk of candidiasis becomes higher. This is also the reason why diabetic patients with high blood glucose levels complain of oral thrush and other fungal infections more than others.
Wearing Dentures: A good oral hygiene is imperative to avoid fungal or bacterial infections. With an ill-fitted denture, the gums and mouth are prone to constant irritation and inflammation. Also, it is very difficult to clean the corners of the teeth and mouth. In short, food and other accumulated particles may be retained in the mouth even after brushing and flossing. Both these factors increase the susceptibility to oral thrush.
Underlying Health Problem: As many of us are aware, candidiasis or candida infection mostly occurs when an individual has a weakened immune system. In simple terms, people who have an underlying disease are at a higher risk of getting it. Thus, patients of diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer often get candidiasis in the mouth and other areas.
Too Much of Antibiotics: Administration of antibiotic medications for an extended period increases the risk too. This is because, long-term antibiotic treatment kills useful bacteria, thus disturbing the balance. Thus, in the absence of defending bacteria and other microbes, candida fungus can infect the mouth and other body parts easily.
Other Oral Thrush Causes: As per medical data, advocating oral or inhaled corticosteroids is another major cause for oral thrush infections. These oral medicines lower the immune response, and at the same time, affect the normal flora of the mouth. An expecting mother can transfer a candida infection to her newborn baby, which is the leading cause in babies. Other causes include smoking, dry mouth, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and side effects of medicines.
Apart from antifungal treatment and other therapeutic intervention, there are effective remedies and herbs for treatment of the condition. The most effective cure is gargling with dilute tree tea oil, grapefruit extract or apple cider vinegar. Consuming garlic, onions, coconut milk, buttermilk, and yogurt also help in speeding up the treatment.
At a glance, oral thrush is not a serious health condition. Nevertheless, it may worsen and cause complications, particularly if the infection is not addressed in its early stages.