Treating Oral Candidiasis & Lip Fungal Infection

By Patricia | May 22, 2009

Oral candidiasis is the scientific name for oral thrush. Thrush is a yeast infection, and is very painful, but thankfully, not very serious. Candidiasis usually affects the lips, which is why it is also known as lip fungus, although sometimes it can spread to the cheeks and the roof of the mouth as well. Candida infection as such forms on the mucous lining of the cheeks and mouth. The infection is caused by the fungus called candida. This fungus is present in small quantities in everyone’s mouth.

If you have not yet received medical attention and are not sure what you have on your lips, lip fungus pictures available on the Internet should be able to help you determine whether what you have is really lip fungus.
In this article, we will deal with the causes of oral candidiasis as well as the different remedies.

Causes:

Candida is a natural part of oral flora and is held in check by our immune system as well as the other bacteria that flourish in our mouth. It is only when our immune system is weakened that the candida begins to multiply. The other causes for oral candidiasis (also related to a weakened immune system) include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Taking steroidal medication
  • Undergoing chemotherapy
  • Being very old or very young, hence extremely vulnerable to infections
  • People with diabetes are also more likely to be affected with oral candidiasis because of the high blood sugar in their saliva. This acts as food for the fungus, making it difficult to remove.
  • Being on antibiotics for a long time also makes a person prone to candidiasis because the antibiotics kill off the beneficial microorganisms in the mouth that keep candida in check.
  • It has also been observed that people who wear dentures, which do not fit well, are more likely to get oral thrush than the general population.
  • Oral thrush is very common in infants because of lack of hygiene during breast feeding.

Symptoms:

Oral thrush is very easy to identify. It appears as a thick whitish velvety growth on the tongue and itchy lips. Under this, the skin of the tongue will seem reddish and inflamed and will often start to bleed. Only very rarely is a culture needed to confirm thrush. Most doctors will identify thrush after a superficial examination.

Treatment:

Treatment for thrush is not very complicated, and although it is a fungus that grows in the mouth, it responds very well to anti-fungal medicines that can be applied topically. There are a number of over the counter medicines that can be used to treat thrush, and very often just gargling with an anti-fungal mouth wash is sufficient to kill the outbreak. Keeping your lips moisturized is of importance, your doctor will most likely prescribe you a medicated lip balm.

In infants, an outbreak of thrush is considered very serious only if it lasts for more than 2 weeks. Usually, proper hygiene during breast feeding will reduce infections considerably.

Home remedies:

Coconut oil and yogurt: The most common home remedy for oral thrush in infants is the application of coconut oil on to the nipple and swabbing out the infants mouth with sugar-free yogurt. The coconut oil contains caprylic acid, which naturally destroys the candida, and therefore ensures that the cycle is broken. The yogurt does not destroy thrush, it is, however, good at promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, which, in turn, destroys candida.

Salt water gargling: A salt water gargle is one of the simplest and most effective remedies for grown-ups. Salt is mixed in the ratio of one quarter of a teaspoon in one cup of water. Gargling should be done at least 4 or 5 times a day.

Garlic and onions: Garlic and onions are very good anti-fungal agents, and including them as a part of the diet is a good preventive measure for thrush. Also, making a decoction out of them and drinking it after rinsing the mouth as thoroughly as possible helps. You can also use it as a paste, applying it on the tongue.

Limiting sugar intake: Reducing the consumption of sugar is one of the first things you must do as sugar is food for fungus and will counteract any medication to cure the problem.

Castor oil and warm milk: One tablespoon of castor oil and a cup of warm milk are usually good enough to keep your lips moisturized. Apply this solution to your lips as well as the fissures several times.

Blood Root and Golden Seal Pastes: Both of these herbs contain berberine, which is a naturally occurring compound known to be used for fungal infections. Berberine can be used to treat fungal infections of any kind.

Once you are rid of your fungal infection, it is important to ensure that the fungal infection does not recur. Maintaining better personal hygiene and living in a clean hygienic environment ensures that you do not have repeated fungal diseases. Include iron rich foods such as sesame seeds, jaggery, spinach, liver, and kidney products and dairy products. All of these are rich in iron and give your body the ability to fight off infection better.

Generally medication is not required to treat thrush, and in infants, it is definitely not recommended at all. Even the yogurt swabs are really not needed as in most cases the infection subsides on its own. At the most breaking the cycle by applying coconut oil is sufficient as the baby’s own immune system will overcome the infection as they get older.

Even in grownups, these home remedies are more than enough, and it is really not necessary to visit the doctor unless you have a very severe case. This will happen when the infection has spread out of the mouth and has gone down the esophagus, infecting the rest of the body too. In this case, systemic anti-fungal medication needs to be taken to cure the disease.

In most cases, however, thrush is identified in the beginning stages itself because it is very painful and starting off on a salt water rinse or other anti-fungal mouth washes will cure the problem in a week’s time.

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