Infant oral thrush can be difficult and frustrating to treat. Babies’ undeveloped immune systems, combined with the frequent consumption of sugar-rich breast milk or formula, can cause infant yeast to be a persistent and chronic problem without the proper treatment.
In baby, infant thrush may cause symptoms such as white patches on the baby’s cheeks and gums or a thick, white film on baby’s tongue. Your infant may also be excessively fussy and reluctant to feed. Breastfeeding moms may notice that their nipples are red, sore, cracked or flaky; they may also experience discomfort while nursing or deep, stabbing pains in their breasts.
Many moms turn to the internet looking for safe, natural (and inexpensive) cures to treat infant thrush. Gentian violet is one home remedy that is popular for being effective and easy to use. Available in some drug stores, gentian violet is known for its dark purple color — which will stain anything it comes into contact with!
However, besides the inconvenience of having purple stains everywhere, a recent study raised serious concerns about long term safety. The study linked use of gentian violet with increased risk of oral cancer. Excessive use can also cause ulcerations inside a baby’s mouth and throat.
Gentian violet is prohibited by the FDA from being added to animal feed. Further evidence has shown that it may cause cancer in the digestive tract of animals.
For these reasons, as a natural health advocate, I strongly recommend against the use of gentian violet for infant thrush–it’s simply not necessary to treat infant thrush effectively.
It’s important to treat infant thrush at the root of the problem, which is an underlying yeast imbalance, otherwise even when the yeast is killed, the underlying imbalance remains. This translates into further yeast problems or other health problems down the line.