When you hear the term thrush, you might think it’s a term that only applies to vaginal yeast infections. However, thrush is a common fungal infection that can affect various parts of the body including the skin, armpits, groyne, and mouth.

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, affects the inside of your mouth. It causes a film of white creamy lesions to coat your tongue. It can also spread to your gums, inner cheeks, the roof of your mouth, and the back of your throat. 

While oral thrush isn’t a serious infection, it can be an embarrassing and irritating condition.

Oral Thrush Causes 

Oral thrush can happen to anyone, but is most common in infants, toddlers, and older adults because they don’t have as strong of an immune system. This is why people with a compromised immune system are also more likely to develop oral thrush.

Just about everyone has a fungus called Candida in their mouths, digestive systems, and skin. In small amounts, it’s generally harmless and is usually kept under control by other bacteria and microorganisms in the body. However, in the right circumstances, the fungus can thrive and become unbalanced leading to infection.  

Candida can grow out of control if you become sick, are overly stressed, or start taking certain medications. 

Medical conditions that can cause thrush include:

  • Diabetes
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Iron deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • HIV
  • Malnutrition
  • Any condition that compromises the immune system
  • Dry mouth

Some medications and medical treatments can make a person more susceptible to oral thrush, especially those that treat cancer. Other medications and treatments that make someone more likely to get oral candidiasis are:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Birth control pills

Other risk factors for oral thrush include: 

  • Smoking
  • Wearing poorly fitting dentures
  • Pregnancy

Oral Thrush Symptoms

The majority of oral thrush cases tend to be mild and can be easily managed at home. At worst, oral thrush is a moderately annoying nuisance. Although people with compromised or lowered immune systems can experience more severe symptoms.

The most common symptom is the appearance of white, raised areas on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, back of the throat, gums, and tonsils. If you try to scrape off the lesions, the area may become red and inflamed and start bleeding. 

Oral thrush symptoms:

  • Raised spots that look like cottage cheese
  • Cottonmouth
  • Cracking and redness at the corners of your mouth
  • Loss of taste
  • Gum irritation
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Loss of taste 

If the infection becomes more severe and spreads into your throat and oesophagus, you may experience pain, have trouble swallowing and speaking, and feel like you have something stuck in your throat. This can lead to unintended weight loss which can cause further health issues if you have underlying health conditions.

In rare cases, the fungi can reach deeper layers of the tissues or even nenter your circulatory system and cause blood poisoning. These complications are more likely to affect people with weak immune systems. 

Because oral thrush is more common in young babies, it’s possible for the infection to spread to your nipples if you are breastfeeding. Nipples that develop thrush become dry, cracked, red, and painful which can make breastfeeding difficult.   

Why Do I Keep Getting Oral Thrush?

If you’ve had 4 or more episodes of thrush in a 12 month period, you may have recurrent thrush. Recurrent thrush is different to a persistent case of thrush because there are symptom-free periods. With persistent thrush, the infection never actually goes away even if it seems like it has because the symptoms became less noticeable. 

Your GP or pharmacist can give advice on a more intensive course of treatment for recurrent thrush. There are also things you can do at home to reduce the chance of developing recurrent or persistent thrush.

  • Regularly replace your toothbrush
  • Properly cleaning and disinfecting your dentures
  • Practice good oral hygiene
  • Rinse your mouth out with warm salt water
  • Oral Thrush Prevention

It’s not always possible to prevent a thrush infection, especially if you are at a higher risk of getting one. However, making a few lifestyle changes can make you less likely to develop a thrush infection or to have milder symptoms if you do get one. 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Regularly see your dentist for checkups and cleanings
  • Floss once a day
  • Rinse your mouth out or brush your teeth after using an inhaler
  • Manage your diabetes
  • Make sure your dentures fit correctly and take good care of them

More research needs to be done, but cutting out refined carbs and sugars and adding probiotic foods and supplements to your diet may limit the growth of Candida. 

Oral Thrush Treatment for Adults 

Even though oral thrush is uncomfortable, you can usually treat it at home with medications available from pharmacies like Pharmacy Planet. One of the most effective ways to treat thrush is with antifungal medications like Fluconazole. 

Fluconazole works by killing off the excess Candida and preventing it from overgrowing. It can also be used to prevent oral thrush from developing in the first place if you’re at risk.

Your symptoms should start to reduce within a few days, but even if the symptoms stop you should continue the full course of treatment. Stopping treatment before the infection fully clears makes you more likely to develop recurrent or persistent thrush. Your pharmacist or GP will advise you on how long to take the medication and the recommended dosage. 

Fluconazole isn’t recommended for children under the age of 16. 

Can I Buy Oral Thrush Medication Online? 

If you’re experiencing oral thrush and want relief from the irritating symptoms, visit Pharmacy Planet. We are one of the UK’s most trusted online pharmacies and can provide you and your family with a wide range of affordable medications to keep you happy and healthy.

After a short online assessment, our pharmacists will have your medications shipped safely and swiftly right to your doorstep.