Oral thrush is a fungal condition characterized by Candida albicans building up in the mouth's lining. This condition presents itself as creamy, white lesions. They are usually found on the inner cheeks or tongue. They may bleed when scraped or be painful. In some cases, this condition may spread to the gums, back of the throat, mouth or tonsils. There is treatment for thrush.
Nursing Mothers and Infants
Any mother who is breastfeeding an infant with this condition should seek treatment for her and her infant. If both are not treated, there is the chance they will just pass this infection to each other over and over again. The baby may be prescribed a mild antifungal medication. The mother may be prescribed an antifungal cream to apply to her breasts. All of the baby's bottles and pacifiers should be thoroughly cleaned in a solution that is half vinegar and half water. This should be done daily and once soaked and rinsed, they should be air dried. Also, any breast pump used must also have all detachable parts also soaked and cleaned in the same water/vinegar solution.
Healthy Children and Adults
Healthy children and adults with this condition can usually alleviate their infection by taking acidophilus liquid or capsules, or eating an unsweetened yogurt. Acidophilus and unsweetened yogurt will not kill the fungus that causes thrush, but they may help in restoring the body's normal bacteria flora. An antifungal medication will be prescribed if the infection persists.
Adults with Weakened Immune Systems
If an adult with a weakened immune system needs treatment for thrush, they will often be prescribed an antifungal medication. This medication may come as a tablet, lozenge, or a liquid. The liquid will be swished around the mouth like mouthwash and then swallowed.
Those with a late-stage HIV infection may experience Candida albicans that eventually becomes resistant to antifungal medications. In these cases, amphotericin B, a prescription medication, may be administered when other medications fail to effectively treat this infection.
Liver damage may result from some antifungal medications. Because of this, the patient's liver function may be monitored when he or she is taking this type of medication. If the patient has a history of liver disease or is receiving prolonged treatment with an antifungal, liver function testing is commonly performed.
An adult with a weakened immune system may also have to use an antifungal lozenge or mouthwash for five to ten days if his or her thrush is severe. If the infection has spread, fluconazole, ketoconazole, or another strong antifungal may be prescribed.
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. (2005). Thrush. Retrieved on February 28, 2011 from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: https://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/dental/dent4380.html
Mayo Clinic. (2009). Oral Thrush. Retrieved on February 28, 2011 from the Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oral-thrush/DS00408