There is a silent monster inside of us; this monster is dark, smart and could be lethal, but at the same time it can be harmless if we know how to identify him. Candida is the name of this killer.
All of us have small amounts of Candida in the mouth and on other mucous membranes; such as: throat, nose, mouth, urethra, rectum, and vagina. In small amounts, this yeast bacteria causes no harm; however, when abnormal conditions are presented, the yeast grows uncontrollably. The yeast can invade surrounding tissues and cause infections.
This monster infects children, toddlers, adults with a weak immune system, people with cancer, dry mouth, and pregnant women.
Causes of Thrush
As mentioned, thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth caused by the Candida bacteria. This infection is not limited to the mouth; the infection can also occur in other areas of your body at any time in your life. A healthy body and a well-balanced diet will keep all bacteria and microorganisms in your body in check. However, abnormal conditions such as certain illness (diabetes), stress and certain medicines can disturb your body's balance, causing Candida to grow abnormally. Other conditions that can lead to abnormal Candida growth include antibiotics, dentures, diabetes, diet, pregnancy, smoking, and/or xerostomia.
There are certain antibiotics and medicines that can upset the bacteria balance in our mouth. When visiting your doctor ask him/her of any possible side effects that your prescribed medications can cause. When visiting the dentist inform him of any medication you are taking; acute oral problems can be prevented by providing the dentist the name and details your doctor offered you.
Having dentures can relieve patients of certain oral necessities. Patients with dentures can once again eat the foods they love; however, there are certain factors that can put your health at risk. Poor hygiene habits, wearing your denture for continuous periods (not removing them during sleep) can cause Candida to grow abnormally.
Dentures provide bacteria a moist and anaerobic environment in which they can grow; to avoid thrush we recommend two things:
- Remove your dentures every night and place them in warm water with a chemical solution.
- Visit your dentist when you notice any abnormalities. This will prevent any possibility of disease or the spread of these.
Patients who suffer from diabetes have a higher risk of having thrush; the high sugar levels in blood can promote the overgrowth of this bacterium. Seeing your doctor and having a well-balanced diet can help you prevent and reduce the risk of oral diseases.
Malnutrition can predispose you to oral diseases; among these oral diseases is oral candidiasis (thrush). If you suffer from hematinic deficiencies (iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid); your health is at risk of diminished defenses and epithelial integrity. Having a healthy diet can help you prevent numerous diseases, for information we invite you to read our post: We are what we Eat, So Let's Have a Healthy Diet
Pregnancy increases the risk of developing thrush. The hormone changes a woman’s body goes through and unbalanced bacteria levels in the mouth, thus allowing certain diseases to develop.
To prevent this we advise you to visit your doctor at the first sensation of discomfort.
We know that smoking is dangerous and can harm our health in numerous of ways. If you are a heavy smoker there is a high risk for you to have abnormal bacteria levels. Studies show that cigarette smoke can facilitate the colonization of Candida species.
Recommendation: check with your dentist to see if any oral diseases could be growing in your mouth.
The quantity and quality of our saliva can make a difference in defending ourselves against Candida. Xerostomia (dry mouth) decreases saliva flow and can alter its composition; this can cause candidiasis among other oral diseases.
Symptoms of Thrush
Thrush can develop suddenly and without major symptoms, but if not taken seriously the infection can become chronic. A common sign that patients who suffer thrush have is the presence of creamy white lesions in the inside of their mouth; this could be in the inner side of the cheek, the roof of your mouth, gums, tonsils and/or tongue.
The creamy white lesions can be painful and even bleed; this can occur when you scrape them while brushing your teeth. When the disease is severe, the lesions can spread into your esophagus and cause:
- Pain and difficulty swallowing
- Fever as the infection spread through your body
Unfortunately, this infection does not only affect the mouth region; when this oral disease is not diagnosed on time it can spread to other body parts, including lungs, liver, skin, throat, nose, mouth, urethra, rectum, and vagina.
Newborn babies can also be affected by this bacterium; especially if the mother had an infection, during labor and delivery. Because newborns and infants have an immature immune system and they have not fully developed a healthy balance of bacteria in their mouth; this puts them at a higher risk to develop thrush.
The first months of the infants life can be painful and put the child at risk of infection. However, with a healthy diet and regular checkups, it is unlike for the toddler to develop thrush or any other oral disease. If the child has a weak immune they will be at risk of infection.
In the case of adults, patients who suffer from cancer or have a weak immune system the risk of infection is higher.
As mentioned before, adults who use dentures are also at risk of getting thrush and spreading into other body areas. If there is an improper handling of the dentures, the yeast bacterium can spread and contaminate other areas that the person touches or puts into their mouth.
Diagnosing and Preventing Thrush
Dentists can diagnose thrush by examining your mouth. During the examination your dentist will look for any distinctive white lesions on your mouth, tongue, or cheeks. If lesions are found the dentist will lightly brush them and examine them with a microscope.
If not treat properly thrush can extend in the esophagus, lungs, and/or the stomach. Performing an endoscopy of your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine or taking dental x-rays of your esophagus will help your dentist confirm infection.
Sani Dental Group has professional dentists that can diagnose any oral disease and help you treat them. If you notice any cottage cheese-like lesions in your mouth, we invite you to contact us and visit our dental clinic in Los Algodones, Mexico.
Our dentist can diagnose and remove the infection. Remember, this infection does not only affect adults; infants and toddlers can also be affected by this oral infection. If you notice that your loved ones have an oral problem please contact us; we will gladly help them overcome this discomfort.
The steps and procedures mentioned in this post are procedures available in the medical field; however, not all of these treatments and procedures are performed at Sani Dental Group. To confirm if this procedure is perform at our dental clinics, please contact us directly by calling (928) 257-1307 or send us an email.
Disclaimer: Open dentist to help you with your dental needs. We are taking additional special measures following CDC recommendations to ensure your health and safety.