When we think of oral health, we most often think of things like brushing, flossing, and getting regular cavity checks at the dentist. However, there are other threats to our oral health that we may not even be aware of. One of those threats is Candida. What’s the connection between Candida and your oral health? Read on to learn more:
What is Candida? Candida, also known as thrush, is an infection caused by the Candida (or yeast) fungus. Candida naturally exists in not only the mouth, but also in other parts of the body (the digestive track, skin, and vaginal walls, for example), and it therefore can lead to infection in a multitude of areas in the body. People most commonly associate Candida with diaper rash and vaginal yeast infections.
What causes Candida? As previously mentioned, Candida is naturally occurring in the body, and is not always the cause of an infection. However, there are times when the fungus multiplies to an extent that throws the body’s natural balance off, and this is what leads to infection. Under what conditions does Candida thrive in such a way as to result in thrush? The most common culprits are stress, illness, and certain medications. Illnesses that weaken the body’s immune system, such as HIV, diabetes, and cancer, make the body vulnerable to Candida infections. Medications like corticosteroids, birth control pills, and antibiotics can also compromise the body in the same way. Additionally, pregnancy, nursing, smoking, and improper denture wear can all make the body more susceptible to Candida infection.
What are the symptoms of oral Candida? Thrush in the mouth generally comes on rapidly and has a very distinct set of symptoms. These include pain and swelling, caused by white lesions that may appear on the tongue, roof of the mouth, cheeks, gums, tonsils, and/or throat. Many people describe these particular yeast signs as having a cottage cheese appearance. If left untreated, lesions may even spread to the esophagus, causing even more pain, as well as difficulty in swallowing.
Treatment for oral Candida. Treatment for thrush may be different for different circumstances, but it usually involves an antifungal medication, in tablet, liquid, or lozenge form, taken over a period of 10 to 14 days. Those with weakened immune systems may require extra care and a more complex treatment plan.
Prevention. Of course, you should always brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day, as well as see your dentist every six months to a year. It is a good idea to avoid mouthwashes and sprays, which can throw off your mouth’s delicate balance, to ingest sweet and yeasty foods as little as possible, and to quit smoking altogether.
Candida, or oral thrush, is a troublesome condition, but not one that can’t be treated and, in most cases, prevented. Educate yourself and keep these considerations in mind to keep Candida infection at bay.
About the Author: Elfrieda Schweppe has been researching candida ever since she had a systemic infection 2 years ago. Visit here to learn how to get rid of yeast and prevent future infections.