Over the course of our lives, we put our teeth through a wide variety of experiences, from common eating and drinking to injuries from impact, grinding, and more. While dental hygiene can help to maintain our teeth over a long period of time, there are some risks that we can’t entirely mitigate, no matter how hard we try.
While oral thrush can certainly affect anyone, senior citizens are exposed to a higher risk for the problem. Oral thrush is caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. The fungus lives in our mouths on a regular basis, but when it accumulates and overgrows in the lining of the mouth, it can cause a severe infection. An infection is displayed by white lesions on the tongue, cheek, gums, or roof of the mouth. Thrush is typically caused by medications or substances such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, steroids, or immune drugs that destroy the fungi’s ability to modulate its presence. When bacteria are gone, thrush can grow wildly. Patients typically experience decreased sensation and a strong, bad taste in the mouth.
During a dental examination, our dental team will diagnose the problem. If needed, we’ll take a sample through scraping or biopsy and send it to the lab for further examination. Once we have a diagnosis, we’ll prescribe medication that should alleviate the problem within 7-14 days.
In order to prevent thrush from occurring in the first place, we advise that patients only take antibiotics prescribed by a doctor or dentist, and to thoroughly examine the mouth on a regular basis when on medication. As always, it’s crucial to schedule dental examinations at least twice a year in an attempt to prevent small problems from turning into large ones.
If you have any questions about oral thrush, or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.