Mouth sores, or aphthous stomatitis, can affect anyone. Also known as canker sores, mouth ulcers are small, painful bumps that develop inside your mouth. They often heal in 7 to 10 days without treatment. Washing your hands frequently is important when you have mouth sores because you don’t want the sore to become infected with bacteria from your fingers. It’s also important not to bite or injure the sore with your teeth and not to pick at it with your fingernails.
If the immune system is weakened, fungi can spread in the mouth.
- Then we not only notice a furry feeling on the tongue, but also have to fear other ailments.
- The tongue reddens, it smells unpleasant despite good dental care & untreated then still threaten bleeding & inflammation.
In this guide, you will learn how to detect oral thrush & mouth rot as early as possible and what exactly the treatment looks like.
Let’s start with the most important question:
What is Mouth Sores?
In oral thrush, better known as mouth sores, a pathogen attacks the throat and mouth area and causes inflammation.
The most common identifying sign of oral thrush is a furry coating on the tongue or the inside of the cheeks.
This is triggered by certain yeast fungi, most commonly Candida Albicans.
Often, the pathogen attacks the inside of the cheeks and the tongue and makes itself felt as a thick white coating with reddened mucosa.
Mouth sores in adults
Mouth sores usually occur in old and sick people or immunocompromised patients.
- Newborns and babies, however, are much more commonly affected. Read more about oral thrush in babies in this article.
- Prolonged use of antibiotics can also promote the growth of yeast fungi.
Medical professionals often refer to oral thrush as oral candidiasis.
The fungus must be treated with certain medications, otherwise it spreads further in the body.
Recognizing oral thrush: The main symptoms
The most classic appearance of oral thrush is a reddened oral mucosa covered by a white coating
Mouth thrush discolors the tongue & forms a white coating on it.
This can be removed effortlessly. Physicians refer to this symptom pattern as pseudomembranous candidiasis.
The plaque is often found on the inside of the cheeks, on the palate, on the tongue and under the tongue.
- Wiping away the coating reveals a red, inflamed and reddened oral mucosa.
In addition to the tongue coating, bleeding may also occur when the milky layer is removed.
- In the progressive stage of fungal disease, Candida spreads further into the pharynx and esophagus.
- At this point, at the latest, severe pain occurs in the affected areas of the body, which can no longer be ignored.
Additional symptoms also include strong bad breath and a feeling of furriness in the mouth. You may also have burning mucous membranes and feel great thirst, more than usual.
You may also occasionally experience taste disturbances (a metallic taste in the mouth is common, for example)
Mouth rot also has other manifestations
In addition to the classic white spot, the fungal infection can also manifest itself in other ways
Mouth sores do not always have to be accompanied by the milky coating. In the so-called acute erythematous candidiasis, the mucous membranes redden strongly and burn.
The signs of oral thrush are not always obvious. A visit to the doctor will make the diagnosis easier.
In addition to the inside of the cheek, the top of the tongue is also affected.
- Medical professionals then speak of a strawberry tongue, since the appearance strongly resembles the strawberry.
- This type of oral thrush usually occurs after a long therapy with antibiotics or after HIV infection.
A third type of oral thrush is called hyperplastic candidiasis (also called Candida leukopathy).
Here, too, white coatings are found in the mouth. However, these are very difficult to remove.
This form of oral thrush often occurs in people with weakened immune systems and can last anywhere from months to years.
So you see:In many cases, diagnosis is difficult without the help of an expert. If in doubt, always go to the doctor!
Causes and risk factors of oral thrush
In most cases, the yeast Candida Albicans is the culprit of this condition.
- This pathogen is found everywhere on the skin and can also be found in 50% of healthy people, both in the mouth and in the intestines.
- The fungus also likes to nest on other mucous membranes, because it feels most comfortable in humid and warm climates.
If our immune system is functional, he fungus can exist in us without causing problems.
A healthy immune system suppresses oral thrush.
Only when the immune system is weakened does a so-called opportunistic infection develop, in which the fungus can spread unhindered, resulting in oral thrush, among other things.
Mouth rot in babies and newborns
Because babies and newborns do not yet have a developed immune system, they often get oral thrush and other fungal diseases.
When this happens, the little ones usually become infected when their mothers give birth, for example if they suffer from vaginal fungus.
As a reminder: On this topic, I have written a separate article: Oral thrush in babies.
But people who have to take antibiotics for a long time are also at risk. That’s because these drugs kill not only the bad bacteria, but also the good ones.
The intestinal flora gets out of balance. Since no other bacteria can inhibit Candida from growing, the fungus spreads.
The increasing age
Older people tend to get sick more often. This is because the immune system gets weaker and weaker as people get older.
The immune deficiency
Infectious diseases such as HIV or hepatitis weaken the immune system. This leads to all sorts of concomitant diseases, including oral thrush.
Do you suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or hormonal diseases (for example, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism)?
If so, you also belong to the risk group.
The dental prosthesis
Implants, dental bridges & dental crowns serve as an ideal hiding place for pathogens, because it is both moist and warm underneath. Ideal conditions to grow.
In addition, the spots are usually difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Loose fillings or braces also encourage the growth of oral fungus.
Poor oral hygiene
Inadequate oral hygiene promotes pathogen growth in the mouth area. The risk of rotten teeth increases, as does the incidence of gingivitis.
Drinking too little water dehydrates the body. This also dries out the mouth, since less saliva is produced.
But saliva is important because it acts as a kind of natural mouthwash, rinsing out the mouth and keeping it clean.
If the mouth is dry, pathogens grow unchecked.
It is not the cancer itself, but the cancer therapy (chemotherapy and radiotherapy) that weakens the immune system.
Because not only the cancer cells, but also the healthy body’s own cells are destroyed in the process. The immune system suffers and fungal infections break out.
Some infectious diseases (for example, pneumonia) also promote the growth of fungi.
Smoking is unhealthy in many ways. Nicotine promotes the growth of malignant pathogens in the mouth and also causes other dental problems.
Smoking significantly increases the risk of oral thrush.
Reading tip: Here’s what to look for in dental care as a smoker.
By a nutrient deficiency, our body can no longer function properly. Above all, a lack of iron, zinc, vitamins B and C makes for a disturbed immune system.
Examination and diagnosis of oral thrush
The diagnosis can be made by the pediatrician, the dentist, the family doctor, as well as the dermatologist.
First, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and how long you have had them.
Often doctors discover the disease during routine checkups.
After that, he or she will want to know if other illnesses exist and if you currently need to take medication.
Appearance and diagnosis
The appearance alone is usually decisive for the diagnosis of oral thrush.
If the doctor sees the white coating in your mouth, he can speak of oral thrush. The white stippling is characteristic of the disease.
Diagnosis of oral thrush is usually quick – only in some cases are additional tests necessary.
If the plaque can be scraped off with a wooden spatula, the diagnosis is clear.
- If, however, this is not possible, further tests must be ordered because of the suspicion of leukoplakia, a precancerous condition.
- The doctor may look at the scraped-off plaque again under a microscope to be sure.
The diagnosis of atypical candidiasis is not quite so simple. For this, a positive smear is needed.
A blood draw is also helpful in making the diagnosis, as antibodies can be detected in the blood.
The treatment of oral thrush & oral thrush
The treatment of yeast infections is done by means of special medications called antifungals.
Your doctor will prescribe these medications, which can reliably fight Candida in both the mouth and throat.
Typical and effective agents are amphotericin B and nystatin.
- You can take the drugs in the form of lozenges, oral gels, solutions, and suspensions.
- The important thing here is that you follow the treatment strictly according to schedule and do not stop early.
Because just because the symptoms have disappeared does not mean that the candidiasis has been successfully controlled.
A therapy terminated too early then leads namely to a new fungal outbreak, which is usually worse than the first.
Disease progression, prognosis & chances of cure
As long as you strictly follow your doctor’s instructions, oral thrush can be treated very well and reliably.
In rare cases, the disease lasts longer or keeps coming back. Then your doctor will usually prescribe a stronger antifungal agent, which will also rid the intestines of the yeast fungus.
Prevent oral thrush: What you can do
To avoid getting oral thrush in the first place, there are a few things you can do personally
Water is our body’s fuel, without which we cannot function properly. Drink at least 2-3 liters of water a day to avoid becoming dehydrated
A dry mouth is the ideal breeding ground for yeast fungi.
A well-hydrated body, in fact, produces enough saliva to rinse our mouths several times a day and rid them of pathogens.
Attention to oral hygiene
Good oral hygiene is essential for all-around healthy teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, after eating.
We recommend using an electric toothbrush, as it has a much better cleaning effect compared to a conventional manual toothbrush.
The oral irrigator
Mouthwashes help promote good oral flora.
Using high pressure, these rinse the mouth with water and gently remove food debris from hard-to-reach areas.
Use dental floss
Dental floss helps keep even the hard-to-reach spaces between teeth clean, because that’s where fungi are particularly fond of nesting.
Dentists recommend flossing once a day.
The professional teeth cleaning
If you have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist once a year, you minimize your risk of getting dental problems by quite a bit. In addition, the dentist removes discoloration in the process, making your little teeth shine brighter.
The use of mouthwashes has been scientifically proven to be very effective. This is because they have an antibacterial effect and effectively disinfect the entire oral cavity.
Mouthwashes help prevent oral thrush & other dental diseases.
While these should only be considered as a supplement to your daily dental care and do not replace brushing your teeth! Simply gargle for about 1 minute in the morning and evening after brushing and spit out afterwards.
Particularly with dentures, you should pay attention to good hygiene, because fungi like to nest there especially.
To avoid re-infection, dispose of your used toothbrush and buy a new one regularly.
For babies, always keep the pacifier well clean and refrain from cleaning the dropped pacifier with your own saliva.
If you suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, see your primary care physician regularly for checkups.
Tobacco has a negative effect on oral health and promotes fungal growth. Try to avoid nicotine use as much as possible
Restoration of intestinal flora
After a prolonged intake of antibiotics, it is advisable to boost your own intestinal flora again.
This helps so-called probiotics, which contain benign and intestine-friendly bacteria. These can buy you in each pharmacy or e.g. here on Amazon *.
Probiotics in pill form are handy & practical. Amazon advertising link.
Alternatively, you can also resort to probiotic yogurt. Simply spoon a cup daily.
Important:Make sure there are live cultures in the yogurt to get the full effect.
Goodbye chocolate and rubber animals
You should refrain from consuming sugary foods. This is because sugar is the lifeblood of mushrooms. The more of it you eat, the better and faster the yeast will grow.
Set instead rather on renunciation or alternatives such as birch sugar.
Home remedies as first aid for mouth rot
At the first sign of mouth rot & oral thrush, there are some home remedies that can provide relief
However, you should by no means confuse the following measures with a professional treatment. They only fight the symptoms & do not cure the causes of oral thrush!
Apple cider vinegar
Vinegar helps restore the natural pH of the mucous membrane.
- The enzymes contained in apple cider vinegar also provide an unfavorable environment in which fungi cannot grow.
- Place 1 tablespoon of high quality organic apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it before a meal. Repeat several times a day.
Due to the death of the fungi, symptoms may worsen at first before getting better.
Coconut oil not only smells good, it also has antifungal properties. The oil’s medium-chain fatty acids attack and destroy the pathogen.
Simply put 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and pull it through your teeth. Repeat oil pulling several times a day.
By the way, coconut oil for the teeth also represents a proven home remedy for the prevention of dental problems.
The substances contained in oregano inhibit the growth of candida and effectively combat oral thrush.
Mix 3 drops of oregano oil with 1 drop of olive oil and swipe the mixture through your teeth. Repeat several times a day.
Alternatively, mix 3 drops of oregano oil with 1 glass of water and drink.
Note:When buying the oil, make sure that it is high quality and does not contain alcohol. You can find a high-quality variant here * .
Garlic contains natural sulfur-containing compounds, which are the fungus on the glue.
In addition, garlic strengthens the body’s defenses. Already 1-3 crushed garlic cloves help effectively against candida infections. Simply add to food and enjoy.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has an antimicrobial effect and disinfects.
This inhibits the spread of candida and relieves symptoms.
Place 5-7 drops of tea tree oil in a glass of water and gargle the mixture several times a day for a few minutes. Then spit it out.
Cinnamon is not only super delicious, it also works against fungal infections.
Just add at least 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to your food. Make sure that the cinnamon is not heated. Foods like cereals, shakes and smoothies are best.
It is important to see a doctor if symptoms persist, and then medicate the condition to prevent it from spreading.
Conclusion & further tips
The best prevention against oral thrush is a functioning immune system.
Tongue cleaners fight bad breath & gently scrape away plaque.
A healthy body fends off yeast so it can’t spread in the mouth in the first place. Another important preventive measure is consistent dental care.
Ideally, you should clean your teeth after every meal or at least 2-3 daily.
Recommendation for healthy teeth: The Sonicare Flexcare Platinum convinced in the test with a very thorough cleaning & takes a lot of work off your hands when brushing.
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When brushing, make sure to clean your teeth from all sides and don’t forget the spaces between your teeth.
- & Sonic toothbrushes make it easier to clean correctly, even if you don’t have a perfect command of the technique.
- The interdental spaces are best cleaned with dental floss or interdental brushes (even the best toothbrush does not reach these places).
- A fluoride toothpaste not only removes food debris, but provides your teeth with important minerals & a protective film against tooth decay.
With these 3 points you have covered everything important in terms of oral hygiene.
Supplement your dental care with a few effective home remedies.
For even more protection against rotten teeth, you can also supplement your brushing routine with the following secret tips.
- are a great alternative to flossing (if you can’t handle it at all) and are great for a quick clean in between helping to remove unsightly tongue plaque (a common trigger of bad breath). This ensures white teeth and fresh breath.
- Apart from a good toothpaste, there are also effective home remedies for dental care: olive or coconut oil are suitable as a natural mouthwash. Xylitol is a tooth-friendly substitute for sugar.
In addition to daily cleaning, another thing is also important to best protect the teeth and detect diseases as early as possible: Regular visits to the dentist.