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Tobacco Yeast Infections

Oral thrush is the most common name for a yeast infection in your mouth.  These types of infections are common in babies but most adults are not particularly susceptible to them.  However, there are several behaviors that can increase your risk of developing these types of infections, one of which is the use of tobacco.  Yeast infections can develop in your mouth at any age if you have a habit of chewing or smoking tobacco, and are particularly likely to develop in those individuals who have other risk factors as well.

Causes of Oral Thrush

Oral thrush develops as a result of the overgrowth of the bacteria Candida Albicans, an organism that naturally exists on just about everyone from birth.  These bacteria generally don’t cause any ill effects because your immune system and the other “good” bacteria that inhabit your body are able to keep the Candida population under control.  If anything occurs to upset this balance, however, an overgrowth of Candida can occur and quickly turn into a yeast infection.

Tobacco Use

When caused by the use of tobacco, yeast infections can occur in anyone.  The reason that tobacco use increases the risk of oral thrush is that it alters the chemistry of your mouth allowing the Candida bacteria to move into a position of power.  Your mouth is already a prime area as far as Candida is concerned because in is generally both warm and moist.  The skin in some parts of your mouth is also very thin, allowing Candida better access to the supplies of nutrients hidden just below the surface.

Generally your helper bacteria and immune system can stave off Candida infection, but if you do something like chew tobacco, smoke or just generally practice poor dental hygiene, you could be helping to swing the balance in the direction of the bacteria.  If you have dentures, you are at a particularly high risk of developing oral thrush, particularly if the dentures don’t fit well and if you also use tobacco, yeast infections are very likely to develop.

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High Risk Groups

Aside from those who use tobacco, yeast infections in the mouth are common to several other groups of people.  For instance, those with an inhibited or ill-functioning immune system like people with HIV or who take anti-rejection drugs are highly likely to develop this condition, often chronically.  Oral thrush is also quite common in babies because their immune systems have not had the chance to fully develop and in both children and adults who use steroid-type inhalers to treat asthma.

Treating Oral Thrush

Whether they’re caused by a secondary medical condition or the use of tobacco, yeast infections in your mouth are most often treated with the use of some sort of anti-fungal oral rinse.  You will generally have to get this as a prescription from your doctor because, unlike treatments for other types of yeast infections, treatments for oral thrush can’t generally be bought over the counter.

Even if you do know of a non-prescriptions treatment, however, you should still go see your doctor if you think you have an oral yeast infection.  Only your doctor will be able to tell you for sure if that’s what you have and if it’s not, using a yeast infection treatment will not be effective.  You should also talk to your doctor about what could have caused your infection, especially if you do not think you are in any of the high risks groups for developing this type of yeast infection.

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