Oral thrush is an infection in the oral cavity caused by overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans. Almost everyone has this fungus, which is naturally present in the body, but when the fungus overgrows in the mouth, an infection can happen.
Infants and people who are immunocompromised are more at risk for the condition, but anyone can get oral thrush. What are the symptoms of oral thrush you should know about, and how can you prevent the condition?
Physical Signs of Oral Thrush
The most obvious physical sign of oral thrush is white lesions, which can occur on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your gum tissue, tongue, cheeks, and sometimes on the roof of the mouth . These lesions may have a creamy white appearance, and they may bleed when touched or irritated.
Other physical signs of oral thrush can include redness in the oral cavity, as well as cracked corners of the mouth. All of these are signs of oral thrush that need treatment to go away!
Symptoms You May Experience
In addition to physical signs of oral thrush, you may also experience symptoms. Symptoms of oral thrush that you may experience include:
- A burning sensation in the oral cavity
- Difficult swallowing
- Loss of taste
- Soreness in the oral cavity 
Any of these symptoms in conjunction with the physical signs of oral thrush can be indicative that an active infection is present.
How Can You Prevent Oral Thrush?
Although certain people are more at risk for oral thrush, you can take steps to prevent the condition. Keeping your teeth and gums clean through brushing and flossing, in addition to regular dental visits, can help prevent oral thrush, as can quitting smoking if you currently smoke.
Addressing underlying health conditions that may impact your immune system and increase your risk for oral thrush, such as diabetes or HIV, can help prevent oral thrush. If you wear dentures, it’s essential to remove them for cleaning once a day, as buildup of bacteria could increase your risk for oral thrush.
There’s also evidence that people who use an inhaler with corticosteroids, such as to treat asthma, may also be more at risk for oral thrush . To reduce your risk for oral thrush, you can rinse your mouth out after using your inhaler, and consider using a spacer, which can help prevent direct touching of the inhaler to your mouth.
Talk to Your Dentist About Oral Thrush
You can talk to your dentist about your risk for oral thrush and steps you can take to prevent the condition. If you have oral thrush, you will need antibiotic therapy for the condition to go away, which is typically given as a mouth rinse. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms of oral thrush, don’t ignore them—follow up with your dentist today!