Oral Thrush

When a yeast infection occurs in the mucous membranes of the mouth, it's referred to as oral thrush. Although this type of yeast infection is most prevalent in babies and the aged population, anyone can contract oral thrush. People with compromised immune systems, like AIDS and HIV patients, are more likely than others to contract this type of yeast infection and it can have some very dire effects on the internal organs if left untreated and allowed to spread.

Like all types of yeast infections, the best treatment is prevention. The more educated you are about thrush, the more you can do to avoid it all together.

This section will cover the most common symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention pertaining to thrush (oral yeast infections).

Oral Symptoms - Oral Causes - Oral Treatment - Prevention

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Oral thrush produces patches of lacy, white lesions on the tongue and cheeks. Under these lesions, the tongue is generally extremely red. When the lesions are scraped, they have a tendency to bleed easily. As the lesions grow and spread, they can take on a gray or yellow color. People with oral thrush usually experience mild to moderate discomfort when eating as the mucous membranes affected by the yeast become swollen and sore.


The mouth is the perfect environment for yeast to grow because it's warm and moist. Thrush can be caused by poor oral hygiene, especially in people who wear dentures and do not clean them properly or often enough. Antibiotics are infamous for causing yeast infections because they also deplete the body of good bacteria while getting rid of the bad. Even simply overusing antibacterial mouthwash can deplete the good bacteria in the mouth and allow yeast to invade. Prolonged steroid and oral contraceptive use can also lead to oral thrush in certain people.


Oral thrush is treated with anti-fungal medications. For obvious reasons, the ointments and creams that work on yeast infections of the skin cannot be used to treat oral thrush. Your doctor can prescribe anti-fungal medications that can be taken orally and come in the form of lozenges, pills or liquid mouth rinses.


There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent oral thrush. Always practice good oral hygiene and change your toothbrush regularly. Be careful not to overuse mouth washes or breath sprays, which can upset the good/bad balance of bacteria in the mouth. Smoking can contribute to oral thrush and aggravate the condition once present. Avoiding foods that contain sugar and yeast can help prevent not only oral thrush, but all types of yeast infections.