What Is Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush is a very common fungal(yeast) infection in babies. It causes irritation in and around a baby’s mouth.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush (also called oral candidiasis) can affect anyone, but is most common in babies younger than 6 months old and in older adults.

A baby with oral thrush might have cracked skin in the corners of the mouth or white patches on the lips, tongue, palateor inside the cheeks that look a little like cottage cheese but can’t be wiped away.

May be confused with milk pathches. Milk patches can be wiped off easily.

Under the white patches, the red mucosa bleeds easily

Some babies may not feed well or are uncomfortable when sucking because their mouth feels sore, but many babies don’t feel any pain or discomfort.

What Causes Oral Thrush?

Caused by the overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of fungus. Most people (including infants) naturally have Candida in their mouths and digestive tracts(commensals), which is considered normal growth. 10% of normal babies are colonized GI and respiratory tract at nearly one week of age and this rate increases in preterms. Skin is colonized at 2 weeks of age. The amount of this fungus in the body is usually controlled by a healthy immune system and some “good” bacteria control. But if the immune system is weakened (from an illness or medicines like antibiotics, as they can kill the “good” bacteria, poor oral hygiene) or not fully developed (as in babies, especially in premature babies). Yeast overgrowth in oral mucosa causes the epithelial cells to desquamate bacteria, keratin and necrotic tissue accumulate and form a pseudomembrane.

Candida in the digestive tract can overgrow and lead to an infection. Candida overgrowth also causes diaper rash. Babies can have oral thrush and a diaper rash at the same time. Oral thrush also can happen after the use of steroid medicines.

How Is Oral Thrush Treated?

Seek advice of your doctor if you think your baby may have thrush (white patches in oral cavity). Candid mouth paint applied several times a day by “painting” it on the inside of the mouth and tongue. Usually disappears by two weeks. Depending on your baby’s age, the doctor also might suggest adding yogurt with lactobacilli to your baby’s diet. The lactobacilli are “good” bacteria that can help get rid of the yeast in your child’s mouth. If your baby keeps getting oral thrush, especially if he or she is older than 9 months old, talk with your doctor because this might be a sign of another health issue.

Can Oral Thrush Be Prevented?

Oral thrush is a common infection in babies, but you can help prevent it:

  • If you formula-feed your baby or use a pacifier, thoroughly clean the nipples and pacifiers in hot water  after each use. That way, if there’s yeast on the bottle nipple or pacifier, your baby won’t be reinfected. Store milk and prepared bottles in the refrigerator to prevent yeast from growing.
  • If you breastfeed and your nipples are red and sore, you might have a yeast infection on your nipples, which you and your baby can pass back and forth. Talk to your doctor, who might recommend using an antifungal ointment on your nipples while your baby is treated with the antifungal solution.
  • To prevent diaper rash, change diapers often.

If you need any further information, you can comment below or call Motherhood Chaitanya Hospital at 0172-5088088, 01762-509503.


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