First of all, you should know that oral thrush is a yeast infection. More precisely, it is the fungus Candida albicans that is at the origin.
Oral thrush in babies is more common—and harmless. In fact, it is rather rare to see a case of oral thrush in adults.
However, adults, such as the elderly, people with weakened immune systems or asthmatics who inhale cortisone products, are as vulnerable to thrushes of the mouth as babies.
In the next few paragraphs you will learn about oral thrush’s symptoms, treatments, prevention methods and more.
What causes oral thrush?
Candida albicans is a microorganism naturally present on the skin, as well as in our body (especially in the vagina and the digestive tract). It is when the yeasts become too abundant that an infectious outbreak occurs, causing candidiasis (yeast infection).
Oral thrush affects babies more than anyone else because their immune system is not yet fully-prepared to fight these organisms.
Symptoms of oral thrush in babies, children or adults are as follows:
- Persistent, creamy whitish patches on the tongue, palate or inside of the cheek
- A burning sensation in the mouth or throat
- Redness sometimes accompanied by small lesions in the mouth
- Diaper rash
- Loss of taste
- Bleeding from the mouth walls and tongue (more rarely)
Usually symptoms last 7 to 14 days.
Comment prévenir le muguet buccal?
Même s’il s’agit d’une infection bénigne, il demeure intéressant de savoir qu’elle peut être évitée. À ce jour, la méthode de prévention la plus efficace pour éviter une poussée de muguet chez le bébé est l’hygiène des suces et tétines.
Une question d’hygiène
De toute évidence, une hygiène buccale est indispensable pour une bouche en bonne santé. Une hygiène adéquate permet d’éviter les poussées de muguet buccal mais également plusieurs autres maladies et complications.
Taking inhaled corticosteroids
If a health condition, like asthma, requires regular inhalation medication, then the risk of oral thrush flare-ups is higher.
To prevent them, all you need to do is thoroughly clean any inhalation device: from the inhaler nozzle to the cannula. These tight, closed, moist, warm spaces are conducive to the development of fungal infections, including oral thrush.
It is also recommended to rinse your mouth after inhaling a cortisone derivative.
Treatments for oral thrush
In the majority of cases, infections are mild and do not require treatment. However, if the symptoms of oral thrush persist beyond 14 days, it is advisable to see a doctor.
The latter may prescribe a mild fungicide (even for baby's oral thrush) to be applied directly to the areas of flare-ups. The doctor will monitor the situation to make sure that the strain of Candida albicans involved is responding to treatment, or not.
If your baby has an outbreak of thrush and you are breastfeeding, your nipples can also be infected. There are over-the-counter methods and products available, and a health professional will be able to guide you.
When should you consult a doctor?
If you suspect oral thrush, do not hesitate to discuss it with your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to guide you towards effective solutions, and also give you tips if undesirable symptoms appear.