Information for Patients
Your mouth is one of the most important parts of your body. It has many different functions. It allows you to
- Take in food and drink
- Breathe in air
- Start digestion, with your teeth chewing the food you eat and your salivary glands releasing saliva to help break down the food
- Speak and sing
- Show emotion, by smiling or pouting
Any problem that affects your mouth can make it hard to eat, drink, or even smile. Some common mouth problems include
- Cold sores - painful sores on the lips and around the mouth, caused by a virus
- Canker sores - painful sores in the mouth, caused by bacteria or viruses
- Thrush - a yeast infection that causes white patches in your mouth
- Leukoplakia - white patches of excess cell growth on the cheeks, gums or tongue, common in smokers
- Dry mouth - a lack of enough saliva, caused by some medicines and certain diseases
- Gum or tooth problems
- Bad breath
Treatment for mouth disorders varies, depending on the problem. If a mouth problem is caused by some other disease, treating that disease can help. It is also important to keep your mouth clean and healthy by brushing, flossing, and not using tobacco.
Candida is the scientific name for yeast. It is a fungus that lives almost everywhere, including in your body. Usually, your immune system keeps yeast under control. If you are sick or taking antibiotics, it can multiply and cause an infection.
Yeast infections affect different parts of the body in different ways:
- Thrush is a yeast infection that causes white patches in your mouth
- Candida esophagitis is thrush that spreads to your esophagus, the tube that takes food from your mouth to your stomach. It can make it hard or painful to swallow.
- Women can get vaginal yeast infections, causing vaginitis
- Yeast infections of the skin cause itching and rashes
- Yeast infections in your bloodstream can be life-threatening
Antifungal medicines get rid of yeast infections in most people. If you have a weak immune system, treatment might be more difficult.