What Is Oral Thrush and Who Is at Risk for Getting It?

Oral thrush is an infection that happens in the mouth, caused by candida, a type of yeast that is present in the body. Essentially, oral thrush is a yeast infection that affects the mucous membranes of the oral cavity.

How exactly does oral thrush happen and who’s most at risk for getting this infection? Here we detail what you need to know about this oral health condition including the most at-risk people and its treatment.

What Causes Oral Thrush?

Candida is actually a type of fungus that normally doesn’t cause problems in the body [1].
However, certain factors can cause candida to become rampant, which can then cause issues such as infections.

There are numerous factors that can cause oral thrush, including prolonged antibiotic use, treatment for cancer via immunosuppressive therapy, and poor oral hygiene.

Oral thrush can cause infections in the mouth, throat, and even the esophagus. Oral thrush can present as white patches in the mouth, redness or tenderness in the mouth, loss of taste, and cracks at the corners of the mouth, which can be painful.

Who Is Most at Risk for Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is common in babies as their immune system isn’t fully developed yet and not able to ward off an overgrowth of candida [2]. Babies and people who have compromised immune systems are the most likely to get oral thrush.

Oral thrush is also common in people who are pregnant, those who smoke, people who
experience chronic stress, and others who have suppressed immune systems [3].

People who have dry mouth may also be more likely to get oral thrush, as are people who have dentures, especially if the dentures aren’t properly cleaned or removed as directed by your dentist.

How Oral Thrush Is Treated

Oral thrush is treated with antifungal medicines. This will usually be a liquid that you’ll either rinse out your mouth with or apply directly to your mouth. However, your doctor may also prescribe capsules you can take orally to help treat your thrush.

Treatment for oral thrush can last up to two weeks [4]. If you or your child has been diagnosed with oral thrush, be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions for healing so you can treat thrush right the first time and not have it return!

Are you concerned about your risk for oral thrush? You can talk more with your doctor or your child’s healthcare provider about oral thrush. Fortunately, the condition usually isn’t considered to be serious and is relatively simple to treat, provided you follow your doctor’s instructions!

1. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/thrush/index.html
2. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/thrush.html
3. https://www.medicinenet.com/thrush/article.htm
4. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/oral-