Oral thrush is a fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans in the mouth. White patches are visible on the tongue and on the lining of the baby's mouth. Common in babies under a year old, oral thrush can cause the baby's mouth to feel sore and make it connectant to feed. The condition is sometimes associated with nappy rash caused by the same fungus. Treatments include antifungal creams, a Candida-elimination diet (for the mother if she is breastfeeding-feeding), probiotics and the homeopathic medicine Borax.
Why it Occurs:
Candida albicans is a yeast organism that is naturally present in the mouth and the gut. An overgrowth of the yeast in the mouth results in oral thrush if the oral bacteria that keep it in check are disturbed by certain antibiotics. Some complementary practitioners say that a dietary imbalance may also disturb the bacteria. As well as young children, thrush can affect the elderly and people with impaired immunity.
If you bottle = feed your baby, take care to thoroughly sterilise all equipment.
ANTIFUNGAL DROPS AND GELS – The doctor will examine your baby's mouth and may take a mouth swab to check for the presence of Candida albicans. If oral thrush is confirmed, the doctor may prescribe an antifungal treatment, such as nystatin, to be applied to the baby's mouth.
Oral thrush usually improves shortly after starting the treatment, and should clear up within a week, but it may recur.
PREVENTION – To prevent Candida from overgrowing in the future, breastfeeding mothers may be prescribed an antifungal cream for their nipples. If you bottlefeed your baby, make sure all the equipment you use is thoroughly sterilized by immersing it in boiling water.
Candida albicans, the yeast liable for oral thrush, thrives on sugar. Eliminating or reducing sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as white flour products, can help to starve yeast out of the system. To help clear thrush in a breast-fed baby, the mother can cut back on her intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and take probiotics.
Probiotics (healthy gut bacteria supplements) may be very useful in treating oral thrush. You can give probiotics to your baby by adding the contents of a capsule or a powder to water or another drink.
Borax is a specially prepared homeopathic medicine for oral thrush. Babies who respond to Borax may be nervous and jumpy. Crush one tablet or two pills of the 6C strength between two teaspoons and give a small amount, dry on the tongue, 3 times a day at least 10 minutes before or after a feed.