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How can you tell if you are your child has thrush? Patches of white appear on the mouth or on the tongue, as well as red or cracked areas around the lips. If the patches are rubbed off either when you eat or brush your teeth, a raw area can appear which is mostly red in color.
While the fungus growth in the mouth is prevented by bacteria, an illness or weak immune system can contribute to the spread of the fungus known as oral thrush. In addition, if you are taking antibiotics which cause an imbalance, the fungus can multiply.
In severe cases, such as people with AIDS, oral thrush can spread to the esophagus and cause a myriad of problems.
One of the concerns of oral thrush is it can segue into other areas in the young and old alike. For older individuals who develop this condition, it can cause denture problems. How? Older folks who wear partial dentures, for example, that are poorly fitted can cause plaque and food particles to become trapped which can lead to decay in the remaining teeth. Conditions such as gingivitis or periodontitis may occur and the fungus resulting from these conditions may cause oral thrush.
For the very young who are diagnosed with thrush, the condition can affect not only the baby but the mother as well. For example, if you breastfeed a baby who has this condition, you can develop a yeast infection on your breast or nipples. In fact, thrush can also affect older children in the form of diabetes or a disorder occurring within their immune system.
It should be noted that although Candida albicans exists in small, harmless quantities in the mouth and other areas of the body, if the fungus continues to grow at a rapid pace it results in thrush.
Our bodies consist of “good” bacteria which is necessary to fight off infection. However, when antibiotics or other drugs are utilized to treat illness, the normal immune defenses within the body are impaired and Candida conditions such as thrush often result.
Thrush is treatable as long as the condition does not worsen. Although physicians do assert that the condition may re-occur.
What Causes Thrush?
A bacterium is generally considered a “friend” since it protects the mouth from conditions such as thrush. However, it becomes an enemy when a different kind of bacteria infiltrates the mouth causing an imbalance that allows Candida to grow at a rapid pace. There are many conditions that can cause thrush. Let’s take a look at some of them.
A weak immune system can cause thrush. An illness or disease can render the immune system helpless in defense against Candida. Such is the case of older individuals who, for whatever reason, develop chronic diseases and cannot easily fight off certain illnesses. Conversely, the very young have not yet developed their immune system and they are just as susceptible to thrush. Thrush may appear in infants up to seven days after birth. Moreover, if the mother has a yeast infection and is ready to give birth, the child can be born with thrush.
Diabetics are not immune to thrush because their sugar level is so high that it invites the rapid growth of Candida. So too, individuals with HIV/AIDS have a high incidence of thrush due to the very nature of their illness.
Oral hygiene, when not kept in check, can also contribute to thrush. Older people are particularly vulnerable, especially those who wear dentures. In fact, studies show that people who wear dentures and have developed thrush can spread this condition to others. This may occur if someone touches the dentures that contain the yeast and then touch their mouth.
Pregnant women run the risk of developing thrush because of the hormonal changes that normally occur.
Thrush can be exchanged through body fluids when engaging in oral sex. Smoking can also cause thrush since fighting off infections is minimized.
Other factors that contribute to thrush are antibiotic medications and corticosteroids. They, too, create an imbalance of bacteria in the mouth.
While thrush is not usually contagious, it can affect a nursing mother who can develop a yeast infection on the breast and nipples. It can also pass from one child to another. Small children love putting toys or other objects in their mouths. If they have thrush and another child in the family also plays with the same toy in the same fashion, that child could also develop thrush.
The good news is that thrush is treatable. It becomes serious, however, if it is not attended to and spreads to the esophagus and bloodstream. Prevention of thrush can be easily attained by simply ensuring that you maintain your health, promote proper hygiene among members of your family, and become fully aware of the signs that indicate you or someone in your family may be susceptible to this condition.
What Is the Treatment for Thrush?
The severity of thrush determines the type of treatment given. Since thrush affects the very young and the very old, let’s take a look at treatment options.
In mild cases of thrush, symptoms may not occur, and treatment may be called for in order to avoid the spreading of the fungus. However, in the case of infants developing thrush either through the process of giving birth wherein the mother had a yeast infection or through other means such as medications or the environment, thrush is treatable either topically or orally.
In most cases where the condition is not severe, an antifungal medication is prescribed. For infants who are affected, a topical medication is utilized. For adults, however, oral medications work best. Antifungal mouth rinses are normally prescribed.
Doctors advise that in both cases, the condition can be cleared up within two days for an infant, and within two weeks for an adult.
There are home remedies that are utilized in the treatment of thrush. For the elderly, they include:
To prevent thrush from spreading to another infant or child, it will be necessary to ensure all of the toys, bottles, pacifiers, are thoroughly cleaned. Kids love to put things in their mouths, but if one child has thrush he or she can pass it on to another who enjoys the same activity.
Preventing thrush from occurring is half the battle. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking too many medications can weaken the immune system in the elderly, thus inviting a host of infections such as thrush. Disengaging in activity wherein body fluids are exchanged can also prevent the spread of thrush.
Ensuring that your entire family including your parents, maintain a good healthy lifestyle and proper hygiene habits can also prevent thrush. As for the very young, keeping a close eye on their daytime activities can help prevent the spread of thrush to another sibling.
More importantly, if you are pregnant and show symptoms of any type of Candida it is important that you not self-treat this condition, but visit your doctor so that he or she can determine the best course of treatment.
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