What Is an Oral Yeast Infection?

Oral thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a yeast infection which develops on the inside of the mouth and on the tongue. This is caused by the Candida albicans fungus. While it is normal to have a small amount of this fungus present in the mouth, when it grows out of control, it develops an infection. This infection then causes the formation of white bumps on the inside of the mouth and the tongue. Typically, these white bumps go away with treatment, but let’s learn how it may have developed in the first place.

Causes of Oral Thrush

Oral yeast infections occur most often in children. This is because they have a bacterial imbalance in their bodies. While oral yeast infection does occur in adults, its symptoms and causes will vary from those of a child. Oftentimes in adults, oral yeast infection is due to a poor diet or poor dental hygiene.

Infants and small children who have an oral yeast infection might have difficulty feeding, or they may be more fussy and irritable than normal. When breastfeeding, infants can pass this infection onto their mothers. This could cause the infection to cycle between the infant and the mother, passing it back and forth.

Women who have contracted Candida may experience red and sensitive nipples, flaky skin, pain during and after nursing, and a deep stabbing pain in the breast.

In teenagers, oral yeast infections can be contagious through kissing or oral sex. This can rapidly spread from person to person and then throughout the body. Aside from the white lesions in the mouth, symptoms may include redness or soreness that can lead to difficulty swallowing, bleeding of lesions, dry and cracked corners of the mouth, dry mouth, and loss of taste.

Oral yeast infection can also occur in people who consume a lot of foods or drinks containing yeast. Beer, breads, and even biting nails can lead to thrush. Children who develop the habit of biting their nails should stop, as this is a common way to contract Candida.

Long term antibiotics may also cause oral yeast infections. Antibiotics destroy the good bacteria in the mouth, allowing the bad bacteria to grow at a rapid rate. To avoid this, it is important to get preventative medical advice to stop the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the mouth.

While using hydrogen peroxide to treat gum infections may be a good short-term fix, this can lead to oral thrush if it is continued for over two weeks.

Treatment of Oral Yeast Infection

Oftentimes, anti-fungal creams are recommended for oral yeast infections. It is also important to eliminate yeast products, and eat a healthy diet which is sufficient in vitamins and minerals. Be sure to brush your teeth lightly, as to not rupture any existing lesions or aggravate the mouth area. Using a saltwater mixture may also be soothing.

See your health practitioner if oral thrush occurs regularly, because there may be an underlying cause. Your health professional can easily diagnose oral thrush with a throat culture or endoscopy.