Oral thrush is an overgrowth of the fungus Candida in the mucous membrane lining of your mouth and tongue. Commonly called a yeast infection when affecting the vagina, the fungus is actually a normally occurring organism in your body, kept in check by your immune system and bacteria. When this normal bacteria in your mouth is depleted, the fungus can proliferate and oral thrush can occur. Left unchecked, this condition can spread to your throat, and can be passed from the mother to infant during breast feeding. If you develop oral thrush, you will likely experience bad breath, a coated tongue, dry mouth, and red or white sores that are inflamed and painful, and may even bleed.
Common risk factors for oral thrush include:
- being very old or very young
- having an immune system disorder such as diabetes or AIDS
- cigarette smoking
- receiving chemotherapy for cancer
- taking steroid medication or antibiotics in high doses or for long periods of time
- wearing poorly fitted dentures
If you are breast feeding and develop oral thrush, you should stop and even discard your breast milk until the infection has cleared up. Infants with oral thrush may not need treatment, but should be carefully watched. See your doctor if you think your baby has a Candida infection.
If you are diagnosed with oral thrush, your doctor may prescribe anti-fungal mouthwash, lozenges, or even topical treatment, depending on your type of infection. If you have HIV/AIDS, you may need a stronger anti-fungal medication.
Diet modification is very important, including eating yogurt with live cultures and other fermented dairy products. Other lifestyle suggestions include quitting smoking, and even avoiding alcohol-containing mouthwash. Acupuncture and TCM can help boost your immune system, while yoga and massage therapy can help reduce stress which might impair your body's ability to fight off infection.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent and manage the symptoms of oral thrush.
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