Thrush and the Throat
Thrush is a very common ailment and occurs as a result of the yeast fungus candida albicans; it is very common in young babies but can affect the oral cavity and throat of adults too, a condition known as candidiasis.
How Does Thrush Develop?The yeast that causes thrush may well be present in your mouth at the moment especially if you are wearing ill-fitting dentures. For many of us it does not cause a problem until circumstances change the normal chemistry in the oral cavity which allows the fungal infection to take a hold and grow.
It is also a very common side-effect of certain medications such as some anti-biotics and cytotoxic drugs used in the form of chemotherapy.
It is also common in those with diabetes, HIV or AIDS and people with compromised immunity.It is also known to be more common in people who have a poor diet that are lacking in certain vitamins and minerals.
Signs And SymptomsOral thrush may begin as a small patch of very pale pink or white on your tongue or gums and spread throughout the mouth and throat causing several of similar thick patches. It may be possible to remove the patches with a toothbrush or finger and the underlying tissue may be slightly marked but this will not fight the infection and may leave you at risk of cross contamination from your hands.
Treating Oral ThrushOral thrush must be treated using a antifungal preparation. These can gained with a prescription, but there are some varieties that can be bought over the counter in many pharmacies and supermarkets in the UK. They usually involve the person having to slowly suck a lozenge or sweet or take a little medicine into their mouth and hold it there for a few minutes. This is because the anti-fungal drug has to be in contact with the fungus in order to work. If you simply swallowed the medicine it is unlikely that it would have time to take effect before it is digested.
It is also very important to try and determine exactly why the condition developed and to treat this as part of the oral thrush treatment.
Perhaps the person needs measuring and fitting for new dentures. As we age, our gums and bone structure change shape so the dentures that may have fit perfectly five years ago may not fit as well now.
If you are a diabetic, you may need your drug and treatment regime re-assessing as it is possible that this aggravated the thrush and it is more likely to occur again if it is not brought under control.
If you are undergoing a course of chemotherapy, suffering from thrush is probably the last of your worries but your doctor may be able to include an anti-fungal preparation as part of your prescription which is very useful if you do not have to pay for your prescriptions.
Preventing Oral ThrushThe chances are, you may have the factors that cause oral thrush oral thrush present in your mouth right now, so for you it may not be preventable and while it is not causing any symptoms, will probably not need diagnosing or treating.
Preventing thrush for those without the condition includes making sure you visit your dentist regularly to make sure your oral hygiene is adequate and that any dentures fit properly and are not compromising the tissues and taking preventative measures when you are prescribed anti-biotics for other problems. Eating fresh, unsweetened yogurt can help prevent the fungus from developing.
Oral thrush is not the end of the world and can usually be treated fairly easily. It often arises as a consequence of something else so when treating thrush, it is important to establish the background and cause of the problem to prevent it happening again.