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If you are a parent, then you have probably heard of thrush in babies. Thrush is not something that should be ignored as it can lead to serious health issues for your child.

In this article, we will discuss what causes thrush and how to treat it naturally so that your baby can be healthy again!


What causes oral thrush in babies?

Oral thrush is a type of fungal infection ( yeast called Candida Albicans )that causes white patches inside the mouth. Usually, these patches will be seen on the tongue and inner cheeks. While oral thrush can affect people of all ages, it is more common in babies under 1 year old. This is because their immune systems are still developing, so they’re less able to fight off the fungus causing this infection.

Oral thrush is not a serious infection and it generally goes away by itself. However, your child may feel some discomfort from the sores, so you can use certain home treatments to ease this for them. One of these is Gentian Violet – a liquid that makes the patches turn purple. This treatment is unlikely to cause side effects in babies, but it does have a strong taste that most children dislike. If the white patches do not clear up after four weeks or if they spread beyond the mouth, then see your GP as you may need further treatment.


What Is Baby Thrush?

Thrush is an oral fungal infection. It occurs when the yeast, Candida albicans (C. Albicans), becomes overgrown in your baby’s mouth and throat tissues. The most common symptom of thrush includes a sore or red area at the back of your little one's tongue that could be mistaken for something else.


What causes oral thrush in babies?

There are a few things that could lead to your baby getting thrush. These include: being on antibiotics, not breastfeeding exclusively or at all, having an illness such as a fever or medication for diarrhea, HIV infection in the mother while pregnant with child, and receiving blood transfusion before age one. 

What causes oral thrush in babies? The most common cause of oral thrush is repeated exposure to yeast from unclean surfaces like eating utensils or sharing pacifiers. Other factors can be family history (having Down syndrome), use of birth control pills during pregnancy, and low immunity due to premature birth.


How can you know if your baby has thrush?

There are several signs to look for that could indicate the presence of thrush such as white patches or lesions on their tongue; stretching and sucking with mouth open wide during nursing sessions; nappy rash (discharge from diaper area); thinning hair which might fall out because it's so fragile due to constant rubbing against clothing while feeding. If there is discharge coming out of their nose and nose white lesions then this too would be an indication that they have thrush. The most common symptom though is bright red painful-looking ulcers in their mouth caused by yeast eating away at the skin!


Is oral thrush in babies serious?

It is a rare condition in babies. But it can be serious if the child has been on antibiotics and/or had an illness such as fever or diarrhea, HIV infection of the mother while pregnant with baby, receiving a blood transfusion before age one. If you think your baby may have oral thrush ring our clinic to book an appointment today for diagnosis and medical treatment options!


How to Diagnose Baby Oral Thrush?

The first step is to rule out other causes of the symptoms. If your baby's mouth looks like it has red patches if they have a fever, or if you can't find any white spots in their mouth then this may be more than thrush and an oral condition exam by a doctor would be required.

Then we simply need to diagnose what sort of fungus is causing this common infection. This will help our treatment in two ways - either because we'll know which drug needs to be used (as different types are effective against different fungi) or because knowing that there are multiple bacteria involved means we might recommend probiotics instead of just antifungal medication.

If your child is over six months old and still having a lot of problems, it may be time to see a doctor. These thrush treatments will work for most babies but there's always the off chance that they might not work on yours.

If they have a fever or if you can't find any white spots in their mouth then this may be more than thrush and an oral exam by a doctor would be required. Then we simply need to diagnose what sort of fungus is causing the infection. This will help our treatment in two ways - either because we'll know which drug needs to be used (as different types are effective against different fungi) or, and this is more common because the diagnosis itself will be enough to get rid of the thrush.


How Can I Treat Baby Thrush?

You may find relief from baby thrush by breastfeeding your child more since you're providing them with the antibodies they need to fight off a yeast infection, using over-the-counter medications like Nystatin and Lamisil cream, or eating yogurt that contains live cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus). If babies are under six months old, it's best not to use any medication for their thrush because they can't swallow pills yet. You should speak with your pediatrician about other treatment options in these cases where there is no improvement after several days.

If there's still an active case of candida, you can repeat the treatment but there is a risk of thrush developing again.

You should always call your pediatrician to schedule an appointment if:

Your child has been less than six months old for more than two weeks and/or when symptoms persist despite being treated with medication;

Some signs suggest their immune system isn't functioning properly, such as abnormally high fever or diarrhea;

They have a medical condition like cancer, diabetes, HIV infection, kidney disease, or liver disease that affects how they respond to drugs. These conditions could make it difficult for them to fight off this type of yeast overgrowth themselves without medicine. Some medications used in these cases include fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox) and ketoconazole (Nizoral).

They have a disorder that changes the way their immune system functions, such as AIDS or an organ transplant.


Does oral thrush in babies hurt?

Thrush infection in infants has sharp shooting pain. Therefore, it can be very irritating for parents to see their baby's sore mouth and all the extra saliva that they drool onto themselves while feeding.


Can you use over-the-counter Medication to treat oral thrush in babies?

YES! There are many different types of topical creams that your doctor will prescribe which come from the penicillin family and ketoconazole (see our list below). These prompt treatments usually work best on mild cases but some doctors also recommend natural remedies such as noni fruit extract, grapefruit seed extract, coconut oil, or olive leaf extracts taken orally to fight the thrush. All these suppress the growth of yeast thus improving the health conditions. 


How can I treat my baby's thrush naturally?

There are many different home remedies that you can try to treat your baby's thrush naturally. One of the most popular is grapefruit seed extract which has been clinically proven in some studies to be as effective as an over-the-counter cream with penicillin and ketoconazole without any side effects.

Another natural remedy for oral thrush is Coconut Oil or Olive Leaf Extract taken orally. These treatments usually work best on mild cases but doctors also recommend them. There are a few DIY recipes online if you want to make it yourself from scratch, such as this recipe: ¼ cup coconut oil mixed with about ½ teaspoon olive leaf powder (dry or fresh) plus optional water for desired consistency). To apply, put the mixture in the palm of your hand and rub it on the baby's gums. Another natural prevention is to clean the baby's mouth and tongue with wet gauze.


How do I clean my newborn's mouth and tongue?

Always be sure that you are using water from a boiled kettle or bottle of boiling water because cold tap water can cause oral thrush too. You want to use an electronic thermometer to check whether it has reached 100 degrees Celsius (212 F), to be sure that the bacteria dies. If not, continue boiling until this happens, then allow it more time before putting it in your child’s mouth as well. When done cleaning their mouths and tongues thoroughly rinse them out with lukewarm distilled or bottled water. After each session makes sure to wash hands so they don't get infected too!


Can bottle-fed babies get thrush?

Yes, they can. But it is less common than for breastfed babies to get thrush because breastfeeding encourages the production of lactobacilli in a mother's gut through bottle nipple and these bacteria are transmitted through her milk.

Bottle-fed infants usually have increased oral contact with their caregiver which also increases the chances that they will develop thrush from this exposure and then pass it onto their parents when feeding (so make sure you're careful about handwashing!).

If your baby has been on antibiotics use lots of lukewarm water to rinse out any remaining traces as regular water won't be enough to kill off all the bad bacteria - otherwise, there could be an overgrowth!


The Importance of Hand Washing

Parents need to be aware that there are two ways in which they can get thrush. The first relates to how they handle and feed babies with their caregiver which also increases the chances that they will develop thrush from this exposure and then pass it onto their parents when feeding (so make sure you're careful about handwashing!). If your baby has been on antibiotics use lots of lukewarm water to rinse out any remaining traces as regular water won't be enough to kill off all the bacteria.


How do I know if my child has got Thrush?

If your baby has extremely sore gums, lips, or tongue - you'll notice they are red and swollen. A thin white coating on their mouth is easily brushed off with a toothbrush. Oozing from the baby's nappy area due to their irritated skin scraping against it when wetting themselves. You may see signs of diaper rash as well!

If your child has thrush then there will be excessive drooling that can't seem to stop or if they show signs of breathlessness because the pain is too much for them to swallow properly. They could also have sore nipples, painful nipples, and itchy nipples (and this could affect breastfeeding) so watch out for those symptoms and get help ASAP! Babies who suffer from recurrent cases of thrush can have a weakened immune system and be more susceptible to other illnesses making it imperative that you treat their symptoms as soon as possible.


What happens if baby thrush is left untreated?

If baby thrush is left untreated, then the infection will continue to spread. It can also lead to yeast overgrowth and this could affect other parts of your child's body as well. Thrush in babies needs treatment right away so that it doesn't get worse!

Thrush is not common in babies and while it's typically harmless when caught early enough; if left untreated thrush can cause your infant discomfort or even lead to more severe complications such as pneumonia from the yeast spreading into their lungs and difficulties with feeding. You can treat it with steroid medicines or antifungal medicines.


How long does thrush last in a baby?

Babies can be prone to yeast infections for up to eight weeks, but if it is left untreated the symptoms may reoccur. You must treat your baby and avoid giving them a sugar-rich diet which could further fuel their thrush infection.


Can Oral Thrush Be Prevented?

It is possible to prevent thrush by using natural and organic toothpaste. These types of toothpaste are free from artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners that could increase your baby's yeast overgrowth levels which in turn increases the risk for thrush infections.

To avoid any type of infection you should also ensure that your child brushes their teeth twice daily with an appropriately sized brush as this will remove plaque build-up on the tongue and other hard surfaces within the mouth. You should then rinse well with warm water to remove all traces of soaps, sugars, and denture stomatitis before bedtime each day.

The first treatment option would be Nystatin oral suspension (100,000 units per mL) usually given two times per day for two weeks. You can also use Nystatin ointment (100,000 units per gram) as a topical prescription antifungal treatment applied three to four times per day for two weeks.


Conclusion

As you can see there are many causes of thrush so if your little one falls into any of these categories then don't hesitate at all to head straight over to the GP's office! You should also avoid feeding anything acidic because this may irritate their throat too much, especially when they're already uncomfortable. 

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