If you have ever had an extended stay at the hospital and been on antibiotics, you may have experienced “thrush,” also called oral candidiasis. Thrush is a fungal infection that appears on the tongue, mouth, or throat and is caused by an overgrowth of normal yeast in the mouth. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people who have a weak immune system, take antibiotics or have trouble producing saliva are all at increased risk of developing thrush. This infection is also common in the very young and elderly, people with dry mouth, and people who wear dentures. In the case of dentures, experts recommend always cleaning and removing them before going to bed. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of thrush include creamy, white lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, or roof of the mouth.
Some people also experience cracking at the corners of their lips, a loss of taste, and a “cottony” feeling in their mouth. Treatments range from taking antifungal mouthwash to lozenges, although medicines may also be prescribed if the infection spreads. If you suspect you or someone in your family may have thrush, contact your doctor or a dentist on your dental plan for more information about its symptoms and causes. Left untreated, thrush can become a serious health issue, so be proactive and take care of it at the first sign of infection.