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Causes, symptoms and treatment of mouth fungus


Oral or mouth fungus, also referred to as candida or oral thrush, is a medical condition characterized by the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth.

Causes of the disease

Oral thrush is caused by candida albicans, yeast which is present in the organism of healthy people in small amounts. However, development and grow of this infection may be provoked by several other illnesses, including diabetes, HIV, dry mouth and other conditions associated with suppressed immune system. Besides, the following people are at increased risk:

- pregnant women, as they experience hormonal shift;
- smokers;
- people, who wear dentures and do not take proper care of them;
- people taking antibiotics, as antibiotics kill mouth bacteria which prevent candida from developing;
- women taking birth control pills;
- people suffering from the lack of saliva;
- newborn babies.

Oral fungus is not a contagious infection and cannot be transmitted to other people.

Signs and symptoms of mouth fungus

Oral thrush usually develops rather quickly. At the first stages of the infection the tongue and cheeks inside the mouth get covered with creamy white or yellowish lesions, or patches. With the lapse of time, these lesions may spread to the throat, roof of the mouth, gums and tonsils. The lesions can be painful and slightly bleeding if scraped. As lesions cover the tongue, temporary loss of taste may be experienced. Mouth corners may appear to be cracked. In severe cases the lesions cause difficulties in swallowing. Patients may feel like the food gets stuck in their throat. Infection may also cause fever in case if it spreads beyond the esophagus.

If thrush is caused by taking antibiotics, there may be no lesions, just red sores in the mouth.

Diagnosis and treatment

In order to diagnose oral fungus visual examination is performed and samples are scraped from the tongue of the patients and then analyzed in order to confirm the diagnosis.

Oral fungus is treated by taking and rinsing the mouth with antifungal medications, such as nystatin, amphotericin B, miconazole, and gentian violet. Apart from the medicine doctors recommend to keep the following measures:

- to keep nutritious diet in order to strengthen the immune system;
- to eat yogurts or other supplements that can help keep the balance of microorganisms in the mouth;
- to practice proper oral hygiene: brush and floss the teeth regularly, visit the dentist;
- to eat less sugar and yeast-containing foods (like beer, bread, and wine).

Treatment usually takes one or two weeks. Candida in babies can disappear itself without treatment in a week or two, you just should keep measures to prevent its spreading and watch the progress of infection. Still, even if you decide not to use treatments, you should consult pediatrician, so that he could watch progress of the disease and prevent complications.

Prevention of the disease

Oral thrush in babies may be prevented by cleaning the nipples and sterilizing pacifiers and feeding equipment. It is considered that it is possible to reduce the risk of infection development by giving a baby sterilized water after feeding with milk.

If left untreated, fungus can become chronical or progress and spread to other parts of the body, causing severe life-threatening conditions like endocarditis or meningitis. That’s why you should not left the infection untreated and consult your doctor in order to choose the proper treatment.

These articles can be used for informational purposes only. To get an accurate diagnosis consult your doctor!

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