Oral thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a yeast infection that develops inside the mouth and on the tongue. It’s caused by the Candida fungus, specifically Candida albicans. Although this type of yeast is normally present in small amounts in the mouth and body, it can occasionally overgrow and infect the mouth, throat, and other parts of the body.

In adults, the condition may be indicative of an impaired immune system or an underlying health condition. It’s more common in people with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and those who wear dentures. Oral thrush can also occur in individuals who have been taking antibiotics or corticosteroids.

Oral thrush

Common symptoms of oral thrush include creamy, white lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, gums, tonsils, or back of your throat. These lesions are often compared in appearance to cottage cheese. There can also be pain, loss of taste, and difficulty swallowing. If you suspect you have oral thrush, you should contact your healthcare provider for consultative and possible treatment services.

Causes of Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a condition that develops when there is an overgrowth of a yeast fungus called Candida albicans in the mouth. This overgrowth can occur due to a number of reasons:

1. Weakened immune system: If your immune system is weakened by a condition such as HIV/AIDS or by treatments like chemotherapy or organ transplants, you’re more susceptible to developing oral thrush.

2. Diabetes: Those with uncontrolled diabetes have excessive sugar in their saliva, creating a favorable environment for yeast to grow.

3. Medications: Certain medications such as inhaled corticosteroids for asthma, antibiotics, birth control pills, or immune-suppressing drugs can disturb the balance of microorganisms in the body facilitating the overgrowth of candida.

4. Dentures: Poorly fitting dentures can cause small cuts in your mouth which may allow Candida to grow.

5. Dry Mouth: Conditions that cause dry mouth can include medication side effects, Sjogren’s syndrome, or smoking. When saliva production decreases, it creates an environment in your mouth where yeast can thrive.

6. Other health conditions: Conditions like vitamin B12 deficiency, iron deficiency anemia, and hypothyroidism can also make a person more prone to oral thrush.

Remember, while oral thrush can be uncomfortable, it’s usually not serious in people with healthy immune systems. However, on rare occasions, it can spread and cause more severe conditions. If you suspect you have oral thrush, it’s best to consult with your doctor or dentist.

Risk Factors of Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, or oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a type of yeast infection that develops inside your mouth and on your tongue. The condition can affect people of any age, but it’s more common in certain groups, including older adults. Here are some risk factors for oral thrush in adults:

1. Compromised Immunity: Individuals with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing oral thrush. This includes individuals living with HIV/AIDS, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments, organ transplant recipients, or those using corticosteroid medications.

2. Diabetes: Individuals with uncontrolled diabetes are more prone to oral thrush, as the increased sugar levels in their saliva promote yeast growth.

3. Wearing Dentures: Leaving dentures in overnight or not cleaning them properly can create a favorable environment for Candida (yeast) growth.

4. Dry Mouth: Certain medications can cause dry mouth, which can alter the normal balance of microbes in the mouth, making one prone to oral thrush.

5. Smoking: Smoking damages the oral tissue, increasing the risk of oral thrush.

6. Long-term use of corticosteroids: People who use steroid inhalers for asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at higher risks. They can reduce the risk of oral thrush by rinsing their mouth after using the inhaler.

Remember, having one or more risk factors doesn’t guarantee you’ll get oral thrush. Each person is different, and these factors can interact in various ways. However, knowing these factors can help you understand the risks and take preventive steps if necessary.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a fungal infection that develops in the mouth and throat. It is caused by Candida, a type of yeast. Here are some signs and symptoms of oral thrush in adults:

1. Creamy white bumps/lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, gums, tonsils, or back of throat. These lesions can be painful and may bleed when scraped or brushed.
2. Soreness or a burning sensation in the mouth or throat.
3. Cotton-like sensation in the mouth.
4. Loss of taste or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
5. Redness, discomfort, or soreness around the corners of the mouth, often referred to as “angular cheilitis.”
6. Difficulty swallowing if the infection spreads to the throat.
7. A feeling that food gets stuck in the throat or mid-chest area.
8. Fever, especially if the infection spreads beyond the esophagus.

If you or anyone experiences any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention. In addition to these symptoms, people with a weakened immune system may have symptoms of oral thrush spread to other parts of the body such as the skin, liver, and lungs.

Diagnosis Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is a yeast infection that occurs in the mouth. It is caused by an overgrowth of a type of fungus called Candida, specifically Candida albicans. While this fungus is normally present in your mouth without causing harm, certain conditions can allow it to grow unchecked and lead to an infection.

In adults, the risk of oral thrush increases with certain circumstances or conditions such as:

1. Compromised immune system: If you have a weakened immune system due to illness such as HIV/AIDS, or treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, you are more susceptible to developing oral thrush.

2. Diabetes: People with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to have oral thrush because Candida thrives on the higher levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes.

3. Dentures: Adults who wear dentures, especially if they don’t fit properly, can develop oral thrush.

4. Medications: Certain medications, including corticosteroids, antibiotics, or birth control pills can disrupt the balance of microorganisms in your mouth, leading to thrush.

Symptoms of oral thrush may include white patches or plaque on the tongue and inside of the cheeks that may look like cottage cheese, soreness, loss of taste, cracking and redness at the corners of the mouth, and difficulty swallowing if the infection spreads to the throat.

Treatment typically involves antifungal medications, which may be administered orally or as a topical treatment like a mouthwash or lozenge. It is important to follow the treatment plan carefully, and to maintain good oral hygiene practices to help prevent recurrence. Regular dental check-ups are also important, especially for those who wear dentures or have conditions like diabetes.

Treatment of Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, caused by the Candida fungus, is a yeast infection in the mouth. Treatment typically involves anti-fungal medications.

1. Antifungal medications: These are usually in the form of lozenges, tablets or liquid that you swish in your mouth before swallowing. Examples include nystatin (Mycostatin), clotrimazole (Mycelex) and miconazole (Oravig).

2. Antifungal mouthwash: Amphotericin B is a mouthwash that can be used for the treatment of oral thrush.

3. Systemic treatment: If the infection is severe and does not respond to other treatments, or if the patient is immunocompromised, a stronger systemic drug can be used, such as fluconazole (Diflucan).

Apart from medication, taking steps to maintain good oral health is also important. Regularly clean your teeth with a soft brush, floss regularly, and consider using a daily mouth rinse. Additionally, if you use dentures, ensure they are cleaned thoroughly overnight.

If you have a health condition that causes dry mouth, talk to your doctor about treatments that can help. If you smoke, try to quit. Diet is another key part of this; consume a diet high in fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Please consult a healthcare professional for an individualized approach in treating oral thrush.

Medications commonly used for Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is a yeast infection in the mouth caused by a type of fungus called Candida. This condition usually presents as white, creamy lesions on the tongue and inner cheeks. It can be uncomfortable and look unpleasant, but it is usually easily treated with medication. For adults, the following treatments are commonly used:

1. Fluconazole (Diflucan): This is an antifungal medication that fights off the infection by breaking down the cell membranes of the fungus. It is typically taken once a day for 7 to 14 days.

2. Clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche): This is a type of antifungal medication that comes in a lozenge form. The lozenge is dissolved in the mouth several times a day until the lesions have disappeared.

3. Nystatin (Mycostatin): This is another type of antifungal medication, typically in liquid form. It is swished around the mouth and then swallowed or spit out, depending on doctor’s instructions. This treatment is usually used 3-5 times a day.

4. Itraconazole (Sporanox): This is a versatile antifungal medication often used for oral thrush, especially when other treatments are ineffective. It works by preventing fungus from producing a substance called ergosterol, which is an essential component of fungal cell membranes.

5. Miconazole (Daktarin): This is a gel that you apply directly to the affected area in your mouth. It works by destroying the fungus causing the infection.

Remember, these medications are typically available by prescription only, so it’s essential to see a healthcare provider if you suspect you have oral thrush. It’s also important to complete the full course of medication, even if symptoms improve earlier, to ensure that the infection is fully treated and reduce the risk of it coming back.

Prevention of Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is a condition where the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of your mouth. Here are several preventative measures you can take to prevent yourself from developing oral thrush:

1. Good Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing of your teeth at least twice a day and daily flossing can reduce the likelihood of oral thrush. It’s also important to replace your toothbrush frequently and to ensure it dries thoroughly between uses.

2. Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups can keep your oral health on track and your dentist can spot early signs of oral infections or diseases, including oral thrush.

3. Limit Sugar and Yeast Containing Foods: Candida thrives on sugar. Limiting your intake of sugar and yeast containing foods can help in controlling their growth.

4. Quit Smoking: Smoking can trigger oral thrush or make infection worse. Stopping smoking is a good course of action.

5. For Denture Wearers: Ensure your dentures are properly fitted. Clean them regularly and take them out at night to give your mouth a chance to recover.

6. Control Blood Sugar Levels: If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control. Too much sugar in the saliva acts as food for Candida, encouraging its growth.

7. Avoid Mouthwashes and Sprays: Some mouthwashes and sprays can upset the normal flora in the mouth and can cause an imbalance, potentially leading to a thrush infection.

8. Seek Medical Assistance if Immune Compromised: If you have a weakened immune system due to an underlying illness or treatment, it’s vital to seek medical help because you’re at higher risk of oral thrush.

Remember, these preventive guidelines work best when carried out consistently. If you suspect that you have signs or symptoms of oral thrush, do not hesitate to seek medical advice.

FAQ’s about Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of your mouth. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers about oral thrush:

1. What are the symptoms of oral thrush?
Oral thrush typically results in white, bumpy patches on your tongue, inner cheeks, gums, tonsils, or throat. These patches can be painful and may bleed slightly when scraped. In severe cases, it may spread down into your esophagus causing difficulty swallowing

2. What causes oral thrush?
Oral thrush happens when a kind of fungus called Candida grows out of control and accumulates in your mouth. This can happen for several reasons, such as taking antibiotics, having a weakened immune system, wearing dentures, or having conditions like diabetes that affect your saliva production.

3. How is oral thrush diagnosed?
Oral thrush is usually diagnosed based on the appearance of the white lesions. In some cases, a biopsy may be needed. For esophageal thrush, an endoscopy is usually performed.

4. Is oral thrush contagious?
It’s not common, but oral thrush can spread to other people. It can also spread to other parts of your own body. This tends to happen in people with weakened immune systems.

5. Can oral thrush be prevented?
Yes, there are several actions you can take to help prevent oral thrush such as maintaining good oral hygiene, limiting your sugar intake, and making sure to clean and disinfect dentures appropriately if you wear them.

6. How is oral thrush treated?
Oral thrush is usually treated with antifungal medications. This might be in the form of a tablet, a lozenge, a mouthwash, or a gel.

7. Is oral thrush a sign of an underlying disease?
Sometimes, oral thrush might be a sign of an underlying disease, particularly if you frequently get oral thrush, or it’s especially bad. This could indicate a problem with your immune system.

Remember, you should always consult a medical professional if you think you may have oral thrush or any other health problems.

Useful links

Oral thrush, or oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a type of yeast infection that develops inside your mouth and on your tongue. It occurs when a type of fungus called Candida, which naturally lives inside your mouth, throat and gut, grows out of control because of an imbalanced immune system.

Here are some helpful and trusted sources with comprehensive information on oral thrush in adults, including symptoms, causes, treatments, and more:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34859509/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37828159/

Remember, it’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, like a doctor or dentist, for diagnosis, treatment and prevention methods.

Complications of Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, also known as candidiasis, is a yeast infection that occurs in the mouth, caused mostly by the fungal species Candida albicans. While mild cases of oral thrush may not cause serious issues, it can cause major complications when left untreated or in people with weakened immune systems. Here are possible complications of oral thrush in adults:

1. Spread to Other Parts of the Body: If untreated, the yeast can spread to other parts of the body such as lungs, liver, and skin, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems.

2. Secondary (systemic) Candida infection: If your immune system is severely compromised, such as in HIV or cancer patients, the thrush may spread to your esophagus or entire body, which could potentially be life-threatening.

3. Severe Discomfort and Pain: The presence of the fungus on the tissues in the mouth may lead to painful sores and difficulty in swallowing. If the disease spreads to the esophagus, it might make swallowing extremely painful.

4. Nutritional Complications: Due to the pain and discomfort associated with oral thrush, eating might be come difficult, leading to malnutrition and weight loss.

5. Risks for Denture Wearers: Adults who wear dentures are at greater risk for oral thrush. The yeast can hide and thrive under your dentures, leading to persistent infections. It could lead to poorly fitting dentures in the future.

6. Increased Risk for Other Infections: Once you have had candidiasis, you are more likely to get it again. It can also make you more susceptible to other infections, particularly if you have an underlying condition like diabetes.

It’s important to seek and follow a healthcare professional’s advice if you suspect you have oral thrush to prevent these complications. Treatment is typically antifungal medication, and ensuring good oral hygiene can assist with prevention.

Home remedies of Oral thrush in adults

Oral thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a fungal infection of the mouth caused by a type of yeast called Candida. While it’s common and usually mild in healthy people, it can be more serious for those with weakened immune systems. If you’re dealing with oral thrush, you may want to try some home remedies to help manage symptoms, alongside prescribed treatments from your healthcare provider. Here are some home remedies you may find helpful:

1. Saltwater rinse: Dissolve a half teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Rinse your mouth with the solution and then spit it out after 30 seconds.

Oral thrush

2. Yogurt: Probiotic yogurts can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your mouth, and it’s a very easy remedy to incorporate into your diet.

3. Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar works as a natural antifungal that can fight the Candida yeast. You can mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Use this mixture to gargle thoroughly twice daily.

4. Coconut oil: This is a natural fungicide and can help clear thrush. You can apply it directly to the area in your mouth and then rinse out after short duration.

5. Garlic: Garlic has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which are believed to help treat oral thrush symptoms.

6. Tea Tree Oil: Is a powerful and natural antifungal, but it must be used with caution as it can lead to harmful side effects if swallowed, so it is better to use with a medical professional’s advice.

7. Vitamin C: Increasing your intake of vitamin C if your diet permits it, can boost your immune system and make you less susceptible to infections in general.

Remember though, while home remedies can alleviate symptoms, they don’t replace professional medical advice. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider for a full diagnosis and treatment plan. Oral thrush can be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as HIV or cancer, so it’s important to get checked out if you’re regularly suffering from it.

Categorized in:

Mouth,

Last Update: January 4, 2024