Does oral thrush hurt?

In this blog post we will be discussing whether oral thrush hurts or not. In addition to this, we will also be discussing some other symptoms of oral thrush, as well as how to manage them.

Does oral thrush hurt?

Oral thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth, is not always painful. However, it is also not uncommon for people to notice a burning sensation, accompanied by pain and irritation in the lesion when the plaque that gets formed in oral thrush is scraped or rubbed off. Along with pain and burning, the skin underneath the thrush can also pain under such circumstances.

Certain lesions of oral thrush are more painful than the others. Lesions present on the throat are more likely to be painful and they may even cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, especially while swallowing and speaking. Thrush of the throat can make simple day to day activities like eating food and talking difficult, disrupting the daily activities. 

Oral thrush on the corners of the mouth is extremely painful. It leads to cracking on the corners of the lips, soreness and redness. This condition is known as angular cheilitis. Opening the mouth can be a very painful experience when you have angular cheilitis associated with oral thrush. Apart from this, oral thrush on the gums, palate and inside of the cheeks is usually painless. 

A person may be tempted to wipe off the white plaque lesions and may seem as if the infection is now gone. However, the plaque will form once again within a few hours and the condition will worsen. When this is done, a lesion which might have been painless previously, will lead to pain and bleeding. Therefore, it is best not to try scraping or wiping off the thrush lesions.

Can Oral Thrush Spread From One Another

Yes, oral thrush can spread from one person to another. However, the important thing to understand here is that it does not infect a person by simply coming in contact with someone with oral thrush. A person has to come into direct contact with the thrush lesion in order for it to spread from one another. If the site of an active infection is touched with bare hands, or the spores of the fungus come into direct contact with you as in during any kind of physical contact, you can develop thrush.

A person can get candida fungus through direct physical contact like kissing, breastfeeding, sharing the same personal items like towels, sexual intercourse etc. 

How Does A Person Get Infected With Thrush?

Almost everyone carries candida in their mouth but not everyone gets oral thrush. Candida needs the right kind of environment to grow and infest. It is an opportunistic infection and requires certain suitable conditions of the body that enable this fungus to multiply and flourish, leading to thrush. Some of the most common conditions are the conditions that make a person more prone to oral are:

  • Dry mouth: dryness of mouth gives the best suited environment for candida to grow. Saliva has many functions in the body and in the absence of saliva or when its production is reduced in the mouth, opportunistic microorganisms like candida can start to grow. This article highlights the importance of saliva in the mouth.
  • Dentures: oral thrush is most commonly encountered in the elderly population which wears dentures. Unclean dentures and ill-fitting or loose dentures are a major reason for developing oral thrush.
  • Antibiotics: long term use of antibiotics can also cause oral thrush. Antibiotics kill both the good as well as bad bacteria. The good bacteria is responsible for keeping the growth of candida in check. Once the number of good bacteria decreases in the mouth, candida, being an opportunistic infection, starts to grow, causing thrush.
  • Steroids: long term use of steroids weakens the immunity, which in turn can lead to oral thrush.
  • Diabetes: systemic diseases like diabetes can cause thrush. A diabetic person is prone to developing many secondary infections, thrush being one of them.
  • HIV: HIV is another systemic disease which can cause other secondary diseases due to weakened immunity.
  • Low immunity: weakening of immunity due to any reasons can allow many opportunistic infections to happen, oral thrush being one of them.
  • Poor oral hygiene: not maintaining proper oral hygiene can not lead to tooth diseases, it can also cause oral thrush and other bacterial infections of the mouth as well.

Should An Oral Thrush Be Treated At Home?

As thrush is a mycotic infection, it requires proper medical management in order to get rid of it. Attempts to treat a thrush infection at home should not be made as it can exacerbate the infection. However, research has shown that cranberry juice is an effective home ingredient that controls the growth of candida and can also treat the infection. 

Cranberry juice creates an acidic environment which kills the fungus that causes thrush. Also, cranberry juice has shown to have proanthocyanidins, which inhibit the adherence of candida to the skins, leading to reduction in the infection. 

The spores of candida adhere to the skin and start multiplying when thrush happens. It is because of this adhering property of candida that leads to its multiplication in the area infested and also the creation of plaque lesions. If this adherence is stopped, candida ceases to infest the skin and the infection dies off. Therefore, because of the anti-adhering agent in the cranberry juice, it stops the growth of candida and treats the infection.

Apart from this, the first line medical treatment of candida is antifungal or anti-mycotic medicines. The most commonly prescribed ones are ketoconazole, clotrimazole, nystatin and miconazole. These medicines can be used orally or topically as an ointment or in case of severe infections, your dentist may even give a combination of the both along with an antifungal mouthwash. 

What Are The Precautions Should You Take In Oral Thrush?

Even Though oral thrush is usually not a life threatening disease, it can cause a lot of discomfort if left untreated. In an immunocompromised patient, a case of untreated thrush can spread to other parts of the body and can even become fatal. Therefore, the first thing to do if you have developed oral thrush is to visit your dentist for treatment.

Avoid spicy and hot food. Though oral thrush is usually painless, scraping of the lesion can cause burning and pain. This will be heightened if you eat hot and spicy food. It is best to stick to foods less in spices in case you have an oral thrush.

Eat soft foods to avoid pain and discomfort while chewing and swallowing, especially if thrush has infested the throat.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is imperative. Unclean mouth will help the fungus to grow even more. Make sure you brush your mouth twice daily and use an antifungal mouthwash along with brushing to ensure timely and complete healing of oral thrush.

Do not try to scrape off the plaque. As already discussed above, doing so can cause bleeding, pain and burning in the underlying tissue, which will only help the fungus to grow further. Avoid scraping or rubbing off the plaques of oral thrush.

Avoid kissing or any sexual activities if you or the other person has an active case of oral thrush. This can lead to transmission of candida and you or the other person can develop oral thrush. Engaging in oral sexual acts while a person has oral thrush will transfer the yeast to the genital organs, which can then lead to candiadiasis of the genital region. 

Do not share personal items like towels, handkerchief, utensils, toothbrush, makeup etc if you have an active infection of oral thrush. This way the yeast will get transferred to the person, and cause oral thrush in that person too.

Frequently Asked Questions (Is Oral Thrush Contagious)

What does thrush in the esophagus feel like?

Thrush in the esophagus or the food pipe can be a serious disease. The main symptom of thrush in the esophagus is difficulty and pain in swallowing the food. A person may feel like they are unable to swallow down the food and also like their food is stuck in the esophagus itself.

Can thrush cause stomach problems?

Yes, untreated thrush can cause stomach problems. Thrush, when it spreads to other organs, can cause illness of those organs. Thrush of the genital tracts when left untreated for long can lead to severe stomach pain which does not get relieved without the required medical intervention. This is why a thrush should not be left untreated for long and it is best to seek medical care at the earliest.

Which vitamins help with candida?

Vitamins help in building the immunity of the body. The stronger the immune system, less will be the chances of getting a candidal infection. Vitamins like vitamin A, B, C and D are the major building blocks of the immune system. Along with vitamins, it is important to take a healthy balanced diet daily to avoid any kind of nutrient deficiency and ensure optimum health.

What kills yeast in the gut?

In order to get rid of yeast infection in the gut, your doctor will prescribe antimycotics like nystatin, fluconazole etc. The medicines have antifungal properties and are the first line treatment of any kind of yeast infection.

Is sugar bad for fungal infection?

Yes, a high amount of sugar is bad for fungal infection. Research has shown that intake of high amounts of sugar can lead to worsening of the fungal infection and also delay healing. Therefore, it is best to avoid foods rich in sugar during an active fungal infection.


As we learned that oral thrush is usually a painless infection, however it can become painful if it is scraped off. In order to ensure proper and fast healing of oral thrush, necessary medical care should be sought on time and the precautionary methods should be followed. Once the symptoms of oral thrush disappear, it is important to visit your dentist once again to ensure proper eradication of thrush..


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