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It is common to have a green tongue after eating or drinking something with green food coloring, but an unexplained color change can be a of an underlying issue. An infection or overgrowth of certain germs is often the cause of a green tongue, though there are other causes as well. Symptoms of a green tongue will usually go away after treating the underlying condition. In this article, we look at conditions that cause a green tongue, treatment options, and when to see a doctor.

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NCBI Bookshelf. Oral thrush is a condition that can be difficult to recognize at first. It's usually harmless and not necessarily painful, but it can be very unpleasant and greatly affect your quality of life. Oral thrush is caused by types of yeast fungus called Candida that live in the mucous membranes lining your mouth. Oral thrush is most often caused by a type of Candida fungus called Candida albicans. But given the right conditions, the fungus can start growing very quickly. This often affects people who have serious diseases, and it can also be a side effect of certain types of treatment.

Oral thrush is visible as a white coating that covers your mouth and throat. Scraping it off with a tongue depressor will reveal inflamed red areas that often bleed slightly as well. Even if they practice good oral hygiene, people who have oral thrush will notice a constant cottony feeling in their mouth. Their sense of taste will also be affected and they may have pain or a burning sensation on their tongue.

That can make it difficult to eat and drink. Severe oral thrush can also affect your ability to swallow or speak.

Oral thrush is usually the result of another medical condition or a side effect of medical treatment. It is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment. Chemotherapy can damage the mucous membranes and weaken the immune system, allowing the fungus to sp easily. Radiotherapy in the head and neck region also increases the risk of oral thrush.

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The more intensive the treatment is, the more likely oral thrush is to develop. Dentures, diabetes and certain medications e. Infections are generally more likely to occur if the body and immune system are weakened. Oral thrush can also affect older people who require nursing care and are generally very weak overall, eat and drink very little or are fed through a tube. Oral thrush usually doesn't cause any serious health problems, but it can be very unpleasant. If the fungus spre to your food pipe, for example, it may cause problems swallowing.

Together with the usual symptoms, this may cause people who have oral thrush to eat less and lose weight. That's mostly a problem if they are already weakened by another medical condition or a treatment, or if they also have other problems like nausea or lack of appetite. Left untreated, oral thrush can last for months or even years. If your immune system is very weak, the fungi may penetrate deeper layers of tissue in rare cases, reaching the circulatory system and causing life-threatening blood poisoning sepsis. If you have a higher risk of developing oral thrush, it's important to tell your doctor or caregiver about any unusual sensations or pain you may feel in your mouth.

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They could then check to see whether it's a fungal infection. If they think it might be oral thrush, a sample of the coating can be taken using a sterilized cotton swab and then tested in a laboratory. You can also check your mouth yourself in the mirror by looking for changes like a white coating or inflamed areas. Family members or caregivers could also help here.

They kill the fungus or slow its growth.

There is a lack of research on whether doing other things can prevent oral thrush. If you'd like to do something more, it would be best to practice good oral hygiene. Probiotics could possibly help prevent fungal infections in older people. Oral thrush can be treated with antimycotics. Some of these medications can be applied directly topically to the affected mucous membranes in the mouth. Other kinds are swallowed. They then spread through your body systemic treatment. Small amounts of topically applied medication enter the gastrointestinal tract stomach and bowel through saliva.

Some of the medication is absorbed there and then also spre through the body. Antimycotics that you take by swallowing them are probably less effective than ones that are applied topically. But they can also have side effects, including temporary headaches, rashes, nausea, flatulence wind and diarrhea. Factors like your general health and how much the infection has spread will determine which antimycotic is suitable for you.

The medications are typically used over a time period of about one to two weeks. You can also change what you eat so that the mouth sores are less painful — for example, by switching to soft foods, avoiding hot or alcoholic drinks and using honey instead of sugar as a sweetener. When people are ill or need medical advice, they usually go to see their family doctor first. Read about how to find the right doctor, how to prepare for the appointment and what to remember.

IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services. Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. We do not offer individual consultations. Our information is based on the of good-quality studies.

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It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods. Turn recording back on. National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Search term. Introduction Oral thrush is a condition that can be difficult to recognize at first.

Symptoms Oral thrush is visible as a white coating that covers your mouth and throat. Causes and risk factors Oral thrush is usually the result of another medical condition or a side effect of medical treatment. Effects Oral thrush usually doesn't cause any serious health problems, but it can be very unpleasant.

Introduction

Diagnosis If you have a higher risk of developing oral thrush, it's important to tell your doctor or caregiver about any unusual sensations or pain you may feel in your mouth. Treatment Oral thrush can be treated with antimycotics. Further information When people are ill or need medical advice, they usually go to see their family doctor first. A meta-analysis of randomized trials assessing the effects of probiotic preparations on oral candidiasis in the elderly.

Arch Oral Biol ; Guide for health professionals addressing oral care for individuals in oncological treatment based on scientific evidence.

Support Care Cancer ; 26 8 : Interventions for preventing oral candidiasis for patients with cancer receiving treatment. Behandlung und Linderung. April 04, Efficacy of nystatin for the treatment of oral candidiasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Drug Des Devel Ther ; Pankhurst CL. Candidiasis oropharyngeal. BMJ Clin Evid Ann Oncol ; 26 Suppl 5 : v Interventions for the prevention and management of oropharyngeal candidiasis associated with HIV infection in adults and children. Interventions for treating oral candidiasis for patients with cancer receiving treatment. Int J Nurs Stud ; Efficacy and safety of miconazole for oral candidiasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Oral Dis ; 22 3 : Oral thrush: Overview.

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Informed Health Links. More about Oral thrush. Learn more: How can you prevent oral thrush?

Research summaries: Oral thrush: Prevention during cancer treatment. Related information. Recent Activity. Clear Turn Off Turn On. Oral thrush: Overview - InformedHealth. Support Center Support Center. External link.