Mothers and their infected infants can pass oral thrush back and forth. For a breastfeedingmother, Candidal infection could result in burning, painful nipples. Candidal infections canalso cause vaginal yeast infections in women.Candidiasis is not limited to the mouth and, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body (throat, vagina, skin). Although rare, oral thrush can spread to other organs of the body, but this is usually limited to immunocompromised individuals.Your dentist can diagnose oral thrush by examining your mouth and brushing the lesionsaway. If necessary, microscopic testing can be used for confirmation.
Oral Thrush Considerations and Risk Factors
A number of factors can put an individual at higher risk for an oral thrush or candidiasisinfection. Women who are pregnant, women taking birth control pills and those whoexperience persistent dry mouth (caused by systemic conditions or medications such as
antidepressants) are more likely to develop a candidal infection. Other at-risk individualsinclude:
Babies and nursing mothers must both be properly treated to prevent passing the Candidal infection back and forth. Dentists or healthcare providers can prescribe mild antifungal medications to treat oral infections, and an antifungal cream may beneeded for treating the breasts.
Individuals with diabetes have a reduced resistance to infection, so they mayexperience an increased incidence of oral thrush. To prevent oral infections, dentists mayrecommend medicated mouth rinses or more frequent dental hygiene appointments.
People with Asthma/Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):
The use of inhaled corticosteroids has been shown to increase an individual's risk for oral thrush. Thisrisk can be reduced by using a spacer and rinsing the mouth after using the inhaler.
A common contributor to oral thrush is denture stomatisis, which occurswhen the gums and soft tissue of the mouth are irritated and inflamed from wearing a denturethat doesn't fit well or hasn't been properly cleaned on a regular basis. This condition createsan environment that is ideal for Candida growth.
The use of tobacco has been identified as a contributing factor in oral thrushinfection.
Immune deficiencies (HIV, Chemotherapy/Cancer Patients):
Deficiencies in the immunesystem that result from chemotherapy, radiation treatments or HIV infection can dramaticallychange the balance of the protective mechanisms in the body that would otherwise fight off an oral thrush infection. An individual's ability to fight infection determines the severity of oral thrush and the fungal infection overall. Individuals with HIV are prone to severe formsof oral thrush in their mouth or esophagus, as well as spread of the infection to the intestines.Prolonged antifungal treatment may be necessary for individuals with severe infectionsand/or those who are immunocompromised.