Candida albicans is the Latin term for thrush. Thrush is a yeast-like naturally occurring fungus found in the body's mouth and digestive system. A healthy body with a good balance of beneficial bacteria is able to keep thrush from becoming overly productive and causing infection. When the body's chemistry is changed from illness or infection, the fungus can grow rapidly in the mouth.
Signs and Symptoms:
Thrush is easily identified as white spots or raised clusters on the surface of the tongue. These patches are often curd-like, and can be found on the roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks and on the back of the throat. Thrush on the tongue can cause dry mouth. When the clusters are coating the throat, swallowing becomes difficult and painful. Some foods, such as carbonated beverages, may aggravate the pain.
Thrush infections are common in people who have high blood sugar. Oral thrush may also be a side effect of antibiotic treatment, since antibiotics kill off good bacteria as well as infection, resulting in an imbalance in the body's naturally occurring flora. Thrush is also common in people who suffer from anemia or have hormone related disorders.
Oral thrush requires treatment by a medical professional. Anti-fungal mouthwashes or lozenges are the preferred method of treatment because they don't pose a risk to the digestive system. In more severe cases, an 10-14 day course of oral anti-fungal tablets may be prescribed by a doctor.
Because eating is often difficult or painful with a thrush infection, soft, moist foods, along with plenty of water are best at first. Once the infection has begun to subside, continuing a diet that is high in minerals like iron and zinc will speed the recovery process and help prevent future infection.