Oral Thrush

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is an infection in the mouth. It is very common in children. Oral thrush is caused by a yeast germ known as candida. Other common areas where this infection can develop are nail folds, vagina, and nappy area in children. Oral thrush is not contagious.

  • Yeast infection of the mouth and throat
  • Effective anti fungal treatment available

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Oral thrush is also referred to as oropharyngeal candidiasis. It is a yeast infection that develops on the inside of the mouth and on the surface of the tongue. It is the Candida albicans fungus that causes oral thrush. It is much more common for this condition to arise in infants and toddlers, although it can affect people of all ages. Adults with weak immune systems are an example of another affected group. There are several symptoms which can potentially arise when this condition begins to play up. Some of them include:

  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth
  • An uncomfortable, burning sensation can be felt in the mouth
  • You may experience a loss of taste or temporary foul taste in the mouth
  • White plaques arise in the mouth, they can be wiped off but leave behind sore red areas which may possibly bleed
  • Difficulty in eating and drinking

Typically, oral thrush is a mild condition which rarely brings any further complications subsequent to facing the initial symptoms. If you, however, have a weak immune system, there can be problems which occur later.


A small, controlled amount of Candida albicans fungus will already be present in the mouth, digestive system, and skin of a vast amount of people; usually kept at bay by other bacteria and microorganisms in the body. Oral thrush will only occur when the natural balance of Candida albicans is disrupted and the infection begins to multiply at an overly accelerated rate. This results in an infection sprouting. It is a very common condition found in babies, young children, and elderly people. They are at a high risk of developing oral thrush, as they have underlying conditions or deficiencies.

Oral thrush can also occur if your immune system becomes weak and the number of good microorganisms, that would usually prevent infection, drop significantly. If this happens, you will be much more susceptible to developing the condition. There are multiple factors which could play a part in negatively affecting this balance. Some may include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Weak immune system
  • The use of an inhaled corticosteroid (for asthma)
  • Frequently wearing dentures, especially if they don’t fit well
  • Undergoing a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy as cancer treatment
  • Remaining on a course of antibiotics for a prolonged period of time, particularly if they’re a high dosage
  • Being a baby
  • Excessive use of antibacterial mouthwash
  • Taking steroid tablets
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Severe anaemia
  • Lack of iron or vitamin B12

Types Of Treatment

The approach you take towards treatment will differ from person to person, depending on their age and the current state of health. The aim is to halt the growth and spread of the fungus. Antifungal medicines are generally very effective towards treating oral thrush. They come in the form of topical gels and liquids which can be directly applied inside the mouth; as well as tablets which are also frequently prescribed. Topical medications will usually need to be taken several times a day for up to 14 days, while the oral medication is taken once a day.

Locally Applied Medicines

For mild to moderate cases of oral thrush, it is usually recommended that you try miconazole mouth gel for a period of 7 to 14 days. We stock Daktarin, which is a non-generic version of this product containing the exact same active ingredient. If this proves unsuccessful or cannot be used (due to an allergy towards it, etc.), then we would recommend Nystatin drops.

These medications typically have little no side effects, although they have the potential to induce vomiting, nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. There is also a regimen which can be followed from home and can help quicken the process. It includes:

  • Refraining from the use of mouthwash or sprays
  • Use a saltwater mixture to rinse mouth, usually several times a day
  • If you have diabetes, ensure you are keeping blood sugar levels maintained
  • Brush your teeth with a different toothbrush every day until the infection clears
  • Use a soft toothbrush to avoid scraping away any lesions which may be there
  • Use the gel or drops after eating or drinking
  • Use the gel 4 times a day
  • For drops, use a dropper to place the liquid inside the mouth, 4 times a day
  • Do not drink or eat for 30 minutes after applying the gel or drops

Anti-Thrush Tablets

Tablets are used for more severe conditions. They contain a medicine known as fluconazole. It helps to clear the fungus and thrush infection. The usual course is of 7 days.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!

Questions & Answers

I feel really itchy; do you reckon it could be due to oral thrush?

Itchiness is one of the most common symptoms so there is a good chance it could be thrush. Take a second look at the symptoms we listed and if any others match then this may be even more of a sign. Make sure you get yourself tested as soon as possible if you believe you are infected.

Why have I got oral thrush?

The candida fungus will typically already be present in your mouth. When conditions change, it can overproduce and symptoms can arise. This overproduction is usually linked to a sudden change in the immune system, but it can also be linked to a change in the mouth which encourages the growth of fungi.

If I’m currently taking other medications, can thrush still be treated?

This question could not be answered accurately without first knowing the medication you are on and your current state of health. Please consult your local GP/doctor.

Can I develop thrush from taking a course of antibiotics?

Yes, it is possible for an infection to arise subsequent to taking a certain course of antibiotics. It’s estimated that approximately 1 in 3 women who begin a course will get thrush, due to levels of good bacteria being lowered. A window of opportunity will arise for an increased production of Candida albicans.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!

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