August 14, 2013

Oral Yeast Infection

Oral thrush goes by many names--Candidiasis, trench mouth, oral yeast infection--and is an accumulation of the fungus Candida Albicans on the inner lining of the mouth.  It is creamy white, usually on the tongue or cheeks, and can spread to the roof of the mouth, gums, tonsils or back of the throat.  It is most likely to affect those who wear dentures, use inhaled corticosteroids or have compromised immune systems.  The lesions can be painful and may bleed slightly when scraped.  These infections can occur with a weakened immune system (HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, untreated diabetes or vaginal yeast infections), or when taking drugs such as prednisone, or when antibiotics disturb the natural balance of microorganisms in the mouth.  Oral thrush is usually diagnosed by its characteristic appearance.  In healthy adults and children, adding unsweetened yogurt to the diet and taking acidophilus can help restore the normal bacterial flora.  Antifungal medication comes in the form of lozenges, tablets or liquid.  For denture wearers, letting lozenges dissolve in the mouth with the dentures out, or using an antifungal cream on the inside surface of the denture to direct the medication to the tissue, is effective.  It is important that the dentures be professionally cleaned to rid the denture material of any remaining fungus.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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