Oral yeast infection or oral thrush is a superficial infection that may affect the tongue, inner lip area, inner cheek, and sometimes the gums. Oral thrush is commonly seen in young infants, but everyone can get it. Oral yeast infection is typically caused by an excessive growth of the yeast called Candida albicans, normally found on the surface of the skin, inside the mouth, and throughout the intestinal tract of healthy people.
You must get some medical care when oral yeast infection is suspected for a toddler, when over-the-counter drugs do not work, or if the particular infection is painful (for instance, bleeding or cracking of the nipple). Diagnosis of oral yeast infection is fairly simple – your doctor will only have to take a look into your affected area to determine if you really have an oral yeast infection going on.
There are many types of oral yeast infection treatment, and the treatment depends on the patient’s age, overall current health, and the source of the infection. The main goal of any oral yeast infection treatment actually is to stop the spread of the infection-causing fungus inside the mouth:
- For adults who have a weakened immune system, oftentimes, the doctor will prescribe oral yeast infection treatment in the form of an antifungal drug. However, take note that Candida albicans, the yeast that causes the infection, can become extremely resistant to a lot of antifungal drugs, most especially in patients with HIV infection of the later stage. Therefore, a drug named amphotericin B may be given, but it is only a last resort when other drugs have no effect at all since this particular drug can cause adverse side effects.
- In otherwise healthy children and adults, the doctor will most likely recommend an oral yeast infection treatment comprising of antifungals. Antifungal medication can come in many forms such as tablets, lozenges, or a liquid solution that you can swish in your mouth and swallow after.
- For infants and nursing moms, in case you are a breastfeeding mom and your baby turned out to have oral thrush, you and/or your baby are at high risk of passing the infection back and forth. The doctor may give you an antifungal cream for your breasts while your baby will be given a mild oral yeast infection treatment in the form of an antifungal drug.