Oral thrush or oral candidiasis is a condition where a fungus, Candida albicans, develops in the mouth. The fungus usually grows around the gum lining, on the tongue, and in the inner cheeks. Anyone with a compromised immune system is at risk of developing a dental problem. Thus, those with HIV are at an increased risk of developing oral thrush.
Oral Thrush Symptoms
The most commonly known symptom of oral thrush is the development of lesions on the tongue. In some cases, the lesions may also spread to the back of the tongue, the throat, and on the roof of the mouth. These lesions are demarcated by redness and irritation in the damaged area. If you notice any of these symptoms develop suddenly, you may want to visit your dentist as they can also be an early sign of HIV infection.
Causes of Oral Thrush
Candida albicans is a naturally occurring fungus in the body. However, the fungus levels tip out of balance as a result of a weakened immune system, which may or may not be a result of HIV. Children, babies, young adults, and adults are all at risk of developing oral thrush. While oral hygiene is not a cause of the infection, good oral hygiene can prevent the spread of the infection, and poor oral hygiene aggravates it and accelerates its spread.
Treatment of Oral Thrush
Your doctor will prescribe an anti-fungal treatment to fight the infection. They may also give you medication to promote good bacteria growth to counter the production of Candida albicans and curb its side effects.
Your dentist will also advise you to follow a proper oral healthcare routine to prevent the infection's spread and recurrence. Switch to an electric toothbrush, brush twice daily, use good floss to get rid of food particles from the crevices of the mouth to keep bacteria formation to a minimum.
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