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Oral Thrush (cont.)

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for Oral Thrush?

Medical care should be sought when thrush is suspected for a child outside of the infant age range, when over-the-counter remedies (see below) are not helpful, or if the infection is painful (maternal breast involvement -- for example, cracking or bleeding of the nipple).

A health-care professional should evaluate all teens and adults with thrush.

How Is Oral Thrush Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of oral thrush generally does not require laboratory testing -- visual inspection of the area is all that is necessary to establish the diagnosis.

Is Oral Thrush Contagious?

Oral thrush is passed to a person via a number of mechanisms. Newborn infants may become exposed during a vaginal birth if their mother has a vaginal yeast infection. Utilization of Candida-contaminated bottle nipples may also cause an exposure. Another mechanism to develop oral thrush is the overgrowth of the normally small amount of Candida in the mouths of older children, teenagers, and adults. Improper technique while utilizing an inhaled corticosteroid (not using a spacer) and failing to rinse and spit with water following usage of an inhaled corticosteroid are also common mechanism leading to the development of oral thrush. Oral thrush is not transmitted from animals.

What Specialists Treat Oral Thrush?

Primary-care providers (pediatricians, family practice, and internal medicine physicians) are all trained in the diagnosis and treatment of oral thrush. Older children, teenagers, and adults without an obvious cause to develop oral thrush (for example, improper technique using inhaled corticosteroids) should have a thorough evaluation since there are several serious conditions that may predispose to the development of oral thrush (for example, weakened immune system).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/6/2016

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