Sequel to our previous article on oral thrush, we will be giving you answers to the 5 most important questions about the condition.
Keep reading to learn more.
1. Is oral thrush contagious?
Thrush is potentially contagious, it may be spread through direct contact with an infected mouth e.g. kissing. However, the establishment of the infection on the other person depends on the strength of their immune system.
2. Who can develop thrush?
Thrush can develop in anyone, however, certain factors increase the risk:
- Having a condition that causes dry mouth e.g. lupus
- Certain diseases e.g. diabetes, anaemia, leukaemia, or HIV
- Taking antibiotics for a long period
- Wearing poorly fitting dentures
- Having asthma or COPD; corticosteroid therapy may trigger thrush
- Being on immunosuppressant drugs e.g. after an organ transplant
- Cancer chemo or radiation therapy
- Smoking cigarettes
- Poor oral hygiene
- Infants, especially neonates (less than a month old) are at increased risk of having thrush.
3. How is oral thrush diagnosed?
Thrush can easily be diagnosed after a doctor takes your medical history and examines your mouth. Exposure of bleeding, raw-looking sore after scraping the plaque is almost confirmatory of thrush.
Furthermore, swabs from the back of the throat can be taken and cultured; and an upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy can be done to diagnose oral thrush.
4. How is the condition treated?
Antifungal medications are used to treat thrush. Antifungals like nystatin, clotrimazole and miconazole are often used to treat mild cases; fluconazole, itraconazole, or amphotericin B are used for severe cases of oral thrush.
The antifungal drugs may be in the form of oral drops, lozenges, gel, capsules or liquid rinses.
If the thrush was triggered by something reversible, such as taking antibiotics, smoking or using ill-fitting dentures, these factors must be corrected as part of the treatment.
5. How can I prevent oral thrush?
- Practice good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice daily and flossing regularly.
- Visit your dentist at least once every 6 months.
- Get treatment for dry mouth.
- If you have diabetes mellitus, keep your blood sugar under control.
- If you use inhaled corticosteroids, try using a spacer with your inhaler and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after each inhalation.
- For those who wear dentures, remove dentures at night, clean them and leave them out to dry.
- Regularly sterilize babies’ feeding bottles and pacifiers.
- Limit sugar and yeast intake.
- Quit smoking.
Read Also: 4 Home Remedies for Toothache