The tongues grow back after the salt mouth
thrush also called candidiasis (or candidiasis), is one of the diseases that attack the oral mucosa by fungi. Especially new parents and people with dentures are familiar with oral thrush due to its white-gray discoloration on the tongue. The fungal infection (candidiasis or candidiasis) with Candida Albicans is not always limited to the mouth and not as harmless as many believe.
It mainly occurs in people who have a compromised immune system. Thorough treatment is therefore important in order to effectively prevent the dangerous spread of the germs.
What is thrush or oral thrush?
We speak of thrush if there is a thrush infection of the skin or mucous membrane (candidiasis, candidiasis) caused by yeast fungi (candidia). These fungi are Candida Albicans, which can also occur in healthy people at any time. In addition to Candida Albicans, there are also Candida Tropicalis, Candida Parapsilosis, Candida Guilliermondi, Candida Dubliniensis, Candida Krusei, Candida Glabrata and others. in front. A thrush infection breaks out when the skin, mucous membranes or the immune system are weakened locally or overall. In healthy people, the candidiasis fungi are kept in check by the normal pH value and can barely spread. Babies up to six months, toddlers and the elderly are more often affected.
If the affected areas are in the mouth, we are talking about oral thrush. Basically, Candida fungi can appear all over the body and are found increasingly in moist areas such as skin folds, on the mucous membrane and in the genital area.
What are the causes of the thrush infection (candidiasis, candidiasis or diaper thrush)?
The causes of thrush, also known as candidiasis, candidiasis or diaper thrush, are usually a weakened immune system or a disruption of the natural balance. Candidiasis is a collective name for infectious diseases caused by fungi of the genus Candida. Continued irritation, such as those that occur when wearing braces, piercings or dentures, can also be responsible.
The fungi that settle here exist everywhere in the human body and they are also a natural part of the oral flora of every person. They are usually kept in check by the immune cells and bacterial colonization in the oral cavity. Only when the mouth is uncontrolledly colonized by these fungi is one speaks of a fungal infection.
The following are mainly affected by candidiasis, candidiasis or oral thrush:
- Infants and young children
- Elderly people
- Chronically ill
- People with inflammatory or immune debilitating diseases
- Wearers of dentures, piercings in the mouth, braces
- Pregnant and nursing mothers
In addition, there are agents, drugs and aggressive therapies that disturb the pH value of the mucous membranes and thus the natural protection. These include antibiotics, chemotherapy, antivirals, alcohol, and smoking. If there are weak points in one's own defenses, the yeasts often spread rapidly and sometimes cause serious symptoms.
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Which diseases and symptoms can occur with thrush?
Thrush usually presents with a characteristic appearance that can vary depending on its training and location. Of course, it also depends on the affected body region in which the disease manifests itself. Typical symptoms are:
- White, yellowish or greyish whitish coatings on the oral mucosa, tongue, palate or lip
- Burning in the mouth
- Taste disturbances and difficulty swallowing
- Discharge and itching in the genital area in women
- Pain and swelling
- Redness and bleeding
It is characteristic of thrush infection that these deposits cannot be wiped off. If it is a wipeable coating on the tongue, this is not an indication of the infection. In addition to these noticeable symptoms, infections can manifest themselves through pain when eating and drinking. In the advanced stages of the oral fungus, the affected areas of the oral mucosa become inflamed and bloody lesions become visible.
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How does the doctor diagnose thrush?
Due to the very clear symptoms, a visual diagnosis by the doctor is often sufficient, especially when it comes to oral thrush or a yeast infection in the genital area.
To be on the safe side and to initiate targeted therapy, a smear and a microscopic examination should nevertheless be carried out.
Which factors favor the infection?
Since thrush (diaper thrush in babies) mainly occurs when the immune system is weak and the immune system is lacking, the infection is favored by all immune-weakening factors.
- Inadequate and excessive hygiene
- One-sided nutrition or deficiency
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Impaired or poor blood circulation
- Irritation from friction or chemical agents
- Drying out of the mucous membranes
In the area of the genitals, armpits and back of the knees, the fungi are encouraged if there is constant moisture here due to incorrect clothing. Aggressive cleaning and care products can also promote the spread of a skin thrush. In some cases it can indicate other diseases in the mouth, for example diabetes mellitus.
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How does oral thrush develop?
If oral thrush or mouth fungus is treated in good time after the first symptoms appear, the disease of the oral flora is usually harmless and heals quickly. If left untreated, there is a risk of the fungi spreading from the oral mucosa to the esophagus, which can firstly lead to severe swallowing difficulties and secondly to the destruction of the oral flora, in which pathogens subsequently multiply in an uncontrolled manner. Shifts in the normal bacterial colonization of the oral flora can lead to diseases of the teeth and gums such as tooth decay or periodontal disease.
Is there a risk of infection with thrush?
It is contagious, but usually only breaks out, even with frequent contact, if the fungi find suitable conditions and the organism is weakened. The path between mother and infant during breastfeeding is typical of the transmission.
If the child suffers from oral thrush, the nipples come into contact with the pathogens and the infection can break out here. On the other hand, the baby can only become infected while breastfeeding - without the mother showing any symptoms. A thorough and healthy form of hygiene is crucial here.
Thrush in infants and young children
Infants and toddlers often suffer from diaper thrush and oral thrush and usually become infected in asymptomatic adults - sometimes already in the womb. Thrush often occurs in toddlers in the diaper area. The infection breaks out more often in young children because the immune system is still weak. In addition, small children put many objects in their mouths and can thus ingest numerous pathogens in addition to Candida-type fungi.
Teething causes inflammation. Candida-type yeasts have an easy job here. Not only in the area of the mouth, diapers can also lead to permanent moisture.
The disease is particularly dangerous in babies and small children. The fungus can spread and subsequently cause painful discomfort and pave the way for other diseases. A quick and thorough treatment for Candida is important here.
Preventing candidiasis in the mouth in infants and young children
Good hygiene is the best prevention against excessive candida and other pathogens. Pregnant women who have vaginal thrush transmit thrush to the child during childbirth. Good prevention is to get tested for the fungus before giving birth. Candida fungi can be transmitted from the mother's breast to the baby during breastfeeding because the fungi naturally colonize human skin. There are special ointments that can be applied to the breast to prevent the pathogens from being transmitted to the baby.
The best precautionary measure to protect against mouth fungus is to regularly boil or disinfect pacifiers, teats, teething rings and other utensils that the baby puts in the mouth. Care should also be taken not to give the child any pacifiers, spoons, etc. licked by the parents. In addition to good hand hygiene, disinfecting is particularly recommended in the first six months or during breastfeeding. Normal washing by hand or in the dishwasher is sufficient for small children. The infant's immune system then needs contact with pathogens and germs in order to fully develop its function. Mouth fungus is less common in older children.
Candidiasis in the elderly
For people with any form of denture, the care of bridges, crowns and, above all, prostheses is crucial in preventing oral fungus and maintaining a healthy oral flora that is able to ward off disease pathogens. Good dental care and a good fit of the prosthesis offer the best protection for the sensitive oral flora.
Prostheses must be cleaned and disinfected regularly to eliminate pathogens. Fungi adhere well to the acrylic of the dentures and in the warm, humid climate of the oral cavity they find ideal conditions to multiply.
In addition to the usual denture cleaning agents, antifungal creams are available that kill the pathogens. In addition to the thorough cleaning of the dentures at home, the dentures should occasionally undergo professional denture cleaning. If pressure points appear caused by a poorly fitting prosthesis, it is advisable to consult a dentist as soon as possible. Injuries to the gums promote infections and mouth fungus.
What are the treatment options for candidiasis (yeast Candida Albicans)?
So-called antimycotics, i.e. agents that are effective against fungi, are used for therapy. Depending on the body region affected, these are used as a solution, tablet or cream. Homeopathy can be used as an alternative or as a support. Here, too, there are different forms of administration and the agent must be selected individually.
In addition to fighting the fungi, disinfection of the oral cavity is indicated. Sprays, mouthwashes or lozenges, which are also available without a prescription, have a disinfectant effect. Purely herbal preparations with myrrh or rattan are also available for brushing the oral mucous membrane of mouth fungus. In any case, it is important to act quickly in order to control the thrush infection quickly, because in people with a weakened immune system, the fungi could spread into the bloodstream and cause serious infections.
How long does the treatment for thrush (candidiasis) take?
Ask affected patients; How long does it take to heal? The duration of the oral thrush disease and the duration of treatment depend on the individual success of the medical measures. It is important that the product is taken several times a day and that it remains in the mouth for a long time.
Home remedies for oral thrush (Candida Albicans)
Treatment with home remedies is possible. One of them is to treat the disease with prebiotics, which are healthy bacteria. It is important that this has a high dose and that it is taken two to three times. In babies and toddlers, the capsules can be taken as a paste or distributed in the mouth.
Unsweetened yogurt is an effective home remedy. It is taken twice a day. In addition, rinses have an effect, for example with:
- Salt water
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Tea tree oil
- Boric acid
The liquids are used in a low dosage. A traditional home remedy is gentian acid, which is placed on a cotton swab and distributed in the oral cavity. Usually one treatment is enough.
How can you protect yourself against thrush (candidiasis)?
A impeccable oral hygiene is also the best prevention. Good oral hygiene pays off in every way in the long term. It contributes to maintaining the health of the entire organism. An important measure is the regular replacement of the toothbrush. A particularly large number of bacteria accumulate on the damp brush head, which can lead to disorders of the oral flora and diseases of the oral mucosa.
The old brush should be disposed of after eight weeks at the latest and after a thrush infection. Areas that are difficult to access and the spaces between the teeth must be given special attention during care. Dental floss, oral irrigators or interdental brushes are useful here. Bacteria and Candida fungi feel at home in the humid climate of the oral cavity and find ideal conditions for spreading. A healthy lifestyle with little stress, sufficient exercise and a balanced diet also prevents the fungal disease, as it mainly occurs when the immune system is weakened.
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Last update of this page on March 26th, 2021 by author Dr. Frank Seidel.
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