Mouth and throat infections can be extremely painful and can temporarily make your daily routine difficult to follow. Most mouth and throat infections are caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi and can be treated with traditional and alternative methods to return your life back to normal.
A throat infection is often indicated by a dry scratchy feeling with painful swallowing. It is extremely common and may sometimes go away within a a week as the immune system takes care of the problem. Mouth infections have similar symptoms with pain and inflammation. Both can involve sores filled with pus.
The main causes of mouth and throat conditions are bacterial, viral, and fungal. Typically, the common sore throat is caused by viruses, including the viruses that cause the common cold, the flu, mononucleosis, measles, and chickenpox. Bacterial infections that cause a sore throat include strep throat, diphtheria, and tonsillitis. These viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth and nose and are quite contagious, often being spread through coughing, sneezing, or shared objects. Sores in the mouth can be formed by the chickenpox virus or bacterial infections starting in the teeth or gums.
Mouth and throat infections can lead to many other conditions if they are not treated. The bacterial infection strep throat can lead to tonsillitis, sinus infections, ear infections, scarlet fever, and an inflammation of the kidney. The viral infection mononucleosis can lead to problems as severe as hepatitis and inflammation of the heart, among others. Complications can result from tonsillitis that lead to snoring, sleep apnea, and further bacterial or viral infection. Any bacterial or viral infection can spread throughout the body if not taken care of properly--for example, a bacterial infection in the teeth may spread to the brain causing a host of problems.
If a mouth or throat infection is bacterial in nature, the first course of action is often antibiotics. Penicillin is typically prescribed or erythromycin if you have an allergy to penicillin. Pain killers in the form of topical anesthetics, analgesics, and anti-inflammatories like lidocane and ibuprofin may also be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. Gargling and rinsing with salt water may help to improve the rate of healing and treat mouth sores. A light toothbrushing may be recommended to help keep sores from spreading infection. A chronic infected set of tonsils often warrants a tonsillectomy, which is more often done in childhood due to the speedy ability to recover. Doctors may only treat symptoms and wait for the immune system to heal a viral infection.
A strong course of vitamins and herbal remedies may also help to alleviate infections of the mouth and throat. Vitamin C may be able to strengthen the immune system, act as an antihistamine, and reduce inflammation, while vitamin A can begin to improve the rate of healing of damaged mucus membranes. Echinacea and garlic act as a good one-two punch with antibacterial and antiviral properties that can enhance the strength of the immune system. A rinse made from the goldenseal tincture contains the compound berberine, a known bacterial killer, and can begin to fight a bacterial infection. A tea with the slippery elm and marshmallow herb root can coat the throat, making it easier to swallow food and drink while experiencing infection.