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Mouth thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth caused by the Candida fungus. Many people, both male and female of all ages, can develop yeast infections of the mouth, although they are most common in seniors and babies.
An important point to note is that oral thrush is one of the symptoms of HIV. If you are already HIV positivie, which affects your immune system's ability to fight off germs and sickness, then mouth thrush can become worse and more frequent.
Oral yeast infections are small lesions inside the mouth and on the tongue. If they are not treated, they can spread to other parts of the mouth and throat, including the pallet or roof of the mouth. Even the tonsils can be affected if they have never been removed. The little bumps in the mouth caused by the yeast infection may look like cottage cheese, not unlike the typical yeast infections found in the genitals. They may also be painful and make it harder to eat as well as affect the taste of food. A dry mouth may be noticed.
Mouth thrush is unattractive and it is usually noticeable when brushing your teeth although a dentist, carrying out a routine check, will often be able to point out the problem to his patient. A yeast infection in the mount can look like a burn as the skin is milky white in color. Try to avoid scraping or scratching the thrush with objects such as a toothbrush as this can cause bleeding and pain. Thrush in the mouth may cause a fever to occur if left alone too long.
Those suffering from a yeast infection in the mouth may notice a feeling of something stuck in the throat which will not move even if a person swallows. It may be painful to swallow, almost like having a strep throat infection. Since thrush is common in young babies, a nursing mother may notice her nipple area is dry and cracking. This can be a sign that the baby may have thrush.
Small white patches on the tongue may be the first sign of an oral yeast infection. These patches may hurt and bleed if scraped and may appear to be "cottage cheese" like lumps growing on the tongue. Infants and the elderly as well as those with immune deficiencies are more likely to get an oral yeast infection. Thrush in the mouth will spread to other parts of the mouth including the cheeks, roof of the mouth and the throat if not treated.
Other forms of fungal infections are jock itch, athlete's foot and nail fungus.