Caused by the fungus Candida Albicans, oral yeast infection is also known as Thrush. Yeast infections can affect other parts of the body too - the vagina most commonly but also nails, folds of skin, the anus and so on. Generally, where it's warm and moist is the best place for the the fungus to breed.
The key causes: One of the other microorganisms that live on us are good bacteria; unlike bad bacteria which make us ill, good bacteria actually work for us keeping us healthy and helping the immune system. These good bacteria are what manage the fungus numbers to ensure an overgrowth doesn't happen - which is what leads to a yeast infection. Unfortunately, sometimes things become unbalanced perhaps due to hormones - such as during pregnancy or perhaps due to medications or prolonged use of antibiotics, possibly due to an existing illness that has weakened your immune system such as HIV, or a treatment for cancer like chemotherapy. Other triggers that you can control more are clothing, diet and diabetes.
Symptoms of Thrush: The infection can develop very quickly and can last for a long time. Common signs are white spots in the mouth on the tongue and inner cheeks, and possibly even on your gums and tonsils too. These spots are painful and can bleed if scraped. If it spreads to the escophagus, it is hard to eat or swallow and there can be a feeling that the your food is getting stuck.
Key method of prevention: - Brush your teeth every day, morning and evening and floss regularly. - Avoid mouthwashes, especially antibacterial ones as these will upset the balance in your mouth, kill the good bacteria, and give the fungus a chance to overgrow. - Quit smoking.
Key treatment options: There is a lot of discussion going on nowadays about natural treatment versus medicated for yeast infections. The choice has to be yours as there are some people that get good results with over the counter products, and then some that do not. Whether you choose the medicated lozenges etc to treat your Thrush, or whether you choose something like plain probiotic yogurt, you still are just treating the symptoms. There was a trigger that caused that overgrowth and you need to identify it and deal with it to really ensure it does not happen again.