What is oral thrush?
If you’ve got white patches on your tongue and your mouth is feeling sore and red, then you could be dealing with a charming fungal infection called oral thrush.
Oral thrush is a pretty common infection that can affect men, women, and children, so if you’re worried that a member of your family could be suffering with this one, then you’ve come to the right place!
Let’s have a look at what makes oral thrush the thoroughly lovely infection it is.
What is oral thrush?
Oral thrush is a fungal infection, which are also known as yeast infections, that affects your mouth, tongue, and throat.
It’s caused by a kind of fungus, or yeast, called Candida, which is the same type of fungi that causes genital thrush and other fungal infections in the body.
Candida naturally occurs in your body, but is usually kept in check by the good bacteria you produce.
If this system is put out of balance, (for example, if you’re taking antibiotics or getting chemotherapy) then Candida can grow and thrive, causing a thrush infection.
Thrush is no fun no matter where you get it, but luckily, it’s a common and usually harmless condition.
What are the symptoms of thrush in the mouth?
If you think that you or your child have oral thrush, then there are a few tell-tale symptoms you can look for.
- White patches in the mouth and on the tongue. These will be difficult to wipe away and may bleed if wiped. When this happens in babies, the spots may look like cottage cheese on their tongue
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Being unable to taste food as well
- Finding it difficult to eat or drink
- Pain in your mouth
- Redness in your mouth
- Cracks in the corners of your mouth
These will mostly be the same in children and adults, although you may notice that babies also have nappy rash or don’t want to feed.
If you want to see what oral thrush looks like, just scroll down, but be warned, you’ll want to close your eyes if you don’t have a strong stomach!
How to treat oral thrush
Luckily, oral thrush is easily treatable, which is fantastic news for anyone suffering with it!
Usually, the first type of treatment you’ll be given is a topical gel or liquid to apply to the inside of your mouth.
These products usually contain an antifungal medication called miconazole, which tackles the yeast that causes your thrush, helping to restore the balance of natural bacteria in your mouth and clearing your infection.
You’ll use miconazole gel for around a week or until your symptoms have completely cleared, and this will usually be enough to get rid of the thrush in your mouth or on your tongue.
Other treatments you may be given include antifungal tablets, which are similar to the ones you might take for genital thrush and also help to clear your infection within a week or so.
What should I do if my baby gets thrush in their mouth?
Oral thrush can be quite common in babies and children, and it can be really irritating for both your little one and you!
If your baby gets oral thrush, then you should take them straight to your doctor so they can recommend a treatment that will be suitable for them.
Babies who are younger than 4 months, they may not be able to use thrush remedies like miconazole, and may need a prescription for another type of treatment.
Don’t worry though, although seeing your little one feeling under the weather is no fun for any parent, oral thrush is normally completely harmless and will clear up with the right treatment.
Can I get thrush from my baby when I’m breastfeeding?
If your baby has oral thrush, then you may also develop thrush in your breasts or nipples through breastfeeding.
Luckily, we’ve written a guide all about thrush while you’re breastfeeding, so you can get your answers in just a click!
What should I do if I get oral thrush during pregnancy?
If you’re pregnant and get oral thrush, then you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications to clear up your infection.
You may still be able to use miconazole gel to treat your yeast infection, but you should only do so once your doctor has given you the all clear, just to be on the safe side.
Are there any natural remedies for oral thrush?
There aren’t any natural or herbal remedies for oral thrush, but there are some things you can do to prevent getting a yeast infection in the first place.
For starters, take good care of your teeth and gums, brush them twice a day and make sure you get regular dental check-ups.
If you wear dentures, make sure they fit properly and that you clean them regularly. If you’re a smoker, then quitting will only help to lower your chances of getting oral thrush as well as having a heap of other benefits.
If you’re worried about your child getting oral thrush, start off by sterilising any dummies or bottles regularly or after every use, as needed, and help them to brush their teeth twice a day when they get old enough.
Is oral thrush treatment available over the counter?
Oral thrush treatments like miconazole are available over the counter, but you’ll need to answer some questions from the pharmacist before you can buy.
These questions help the pharmacist to be sure that you do have thrush, and will help them to make sure you’re using the right remedy to clear up that annoying infection.
You’ll have to answer these questions if you buy from your local pharmacy or from an online pharmacy like us, so get answering and you’ll have some good advice and treatment in no time!
When should I go to a doctor?
Although your pharmacist can usually treat oral thrush without much trouble, there are some occasions where you’ll need to see your doctor for treatment.
If your baby is younger than 4 months, you’ll need to take them to see your doctor to get treatment that will be safe for them.
If you’re experiencing pain or difficulty while swallowing, you should make an appointment to see your doctor right away.
Finally, you should make sure to see your doctor if you don’t see any improvement in your condition after a week of treatment, so they can monitor your condition and change your treatment if necessary.
Now we’ve taken a closer look at oral thrush than many of you ever thought you’d want to and we’ve got a much better idea about what makes it so irritating!
If you’ve got any more questions, don’t hesitate to give one of our friendly pharmacists a call!
They’ll be able to answer your questions over the phone, or over email, Facebook message, or even through our Ask A Pharmacist feature, so you’ll know what you’re dealing with.