What is thrush?
Thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth or tongue surface, is a disease caused by a fungus called Candida Albicans. It can also be called oral candidiasis if it occurs in the mouth and oropharyngeal candidiasis if it progresses in the throat. Although it is very common in infants and young children, it rarely occurs in adult individuals. Thrush manifests itself with a white layer on the inner surfaces of the cheeks and the upper surface of the tongue. It is a mild illness and usually does not cause serious complications. Therefore, it can be difficult to detect the disease in young children and infants. However, the disease may be more severe in people with weakened immune systems. After the development of thrush in babies, a healthcare institution should be consulted immediately. If thrush occurs in the babies of nursing mothers, the mother should also be treated, because there may be an infection in the breast due to fungi.
What are the symptoms of thrush?
Oral thrush progresses very mildly in the early stages and may not be noticed in children as they do not show any symptoms. However, if the disease is not noticed, does not heal spontaneously, and is not treated, the infection may progress and begin to manifest with some symptoms. The most common symptoms of oral thrush are:
White-colored layers are formed on the inner surfaces of the cheeks, on the upper surface of the tongue, gums, throat and tonsils.
Mild blood leaks from scraping off white lesions
Bad taste in the mouth
Pain and tenderness in areas with dense white layers
Difficulty swallowing (difficulty swallowing)
The emergence of the disease in infants makes it difficult to spot thrush for parents who do not control the mouth. For this reason, despite the difficulty of sucking and hunger in babies, it leads to negativities such as refusal of feeding, irritability and constant crying and progresses. Because thrush is a very common disease in babies, mothers and fathers should regularly check the baby’s mouth to be detected at an early stage, and if they notice symptoms of thrush, they should contact health institutions.
What causes thrush?
The fungus named C. Albicans, which causes oral thrush, is a living creature that lives in balance with all bacterial and fungal species and is found in a certain amount in the oral flora of all healthy individuals that make up the oral flora. For some reason, the proliferation of these fungal species is out of control and causes thrush disease to occur. The most common reason for this is the use of antibiotics. Broad-spectrum antibiotics used in the treatment of various diseases make it easier to catch fungal infections as they cause the death of many bacterial species in the body. In addition, practices such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy cause harmful bacteria and healthy cells in the body, and the use of drugs that suppress the immune system reduces the ability to fight disease-causing microorganisms, thus leading to the development of thrush and many others. other fungal diseases. People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing thrush than others. Especially in patients with poorly controlled diabetes, the blood sugar level is high, so the amount of glucose in the salivary fluid is high. This promotes the growth and reproduction of the fungus C. albicans, which can lead to the development of thrush.
How is thrush diagnosed?
Thrush disease can be easily noticed by people because of the white lesions that cause its formation. If the disease is noticed by parents, a healthcare professional should be consulted immediately. It is possible to diagnose the disease by examining the mouth and tongue surface in detail with the examination by the physician. In some cases, an oral sample may be taken to support the diagnosis and sent to the laboratory for examination. With this examination, the type of agent causing the infection can be clearly determined and the diagnosis of thrush disease can be made exactly. If not noticed or treated early, thrush can go too far and spread to the esophagus. In this case, different diagnostic tests such as endoscopy and throat culture may be required.
Thrush is sometimes not taken seriously enough as it is very common in infants and children and is a disease known to parents. Incorrect practices such as manual cleaning of the formed layers are not a treatment method, but can lead to the spread and exacerbation of the disease. Also, although the use of carbonated water can help prevent disease, after thrush occurs, medical advice should be sought by contacting a healthcare professional instead of such practices. Since the fungi that cause thrush will settle on the breast surface in breastfed babies, even if the baby heals during the breastfeeding period, the disease will be inevitable and the maternal health will be negatively affected. Therefore, both mother and baby should be treated with the help of antifungal drugs and creams.
How is thrush treated?
Thrush formation in the mouth and tongue is a health problem that needs care and treatment. The content of treatment may vary depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the disease. The main goal in the treatment process is to prevent the growth and spread of fungal species that cause infection. With properly planned treatment, thrush usually resolves completely within a few weeks. However, due to the risk of future recurrence, necessary measures should be taken to prevent this. However, it is useful to do more research on whether there is a different health problem that causes the disease to occur in individuals who have repeated thrush despite paying attention to oral hygiene. The most important part of treatment is antifungal medication, cream, mouthwash and lozenges. In addition to these pharmacological practices, the individual may need to take care of oral care and perform some home treatments. Soft toothbrushes should be preferred to prevent damage and bleeding of the lesions in the mouth. The toothbrush used during the illness should be changed after it heals. If dental prostheses are used, these should also be very well cleaned. Diabetes patients should take the necessary precautions to keep blood sugar levels as they should and adapt to their diet. In addition, smoking should be avoided and no medication or cosmetic products other than the mouth sprays and mouthwashes recommended by the doctor should be used.
With the use of appropriate medications and proper oral care, thrush can be treated before it progresses and causes more serious problems. Therefore, if you or your baby develops thrush, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider and begin your treatment process in line with your doctor’s recommendations.