Oral thrush in infants may be alarming to new parents but it is actually a fairly common condition. Some infants may even develop the problem multiple times in their first several years of life. However, for most children, the condition subsides by one year of age.
Much like candida diaper rashes and yeast infections, oral thrush is caused by an overgrowth of candida yeast in the infant’s system. Doctors and holistic health professionals have identified a few major contributors to oral thrush in infants:
• Over-use of antibiotics—even one dose of antibiotics can kill good bacteria and leave candida free to grow and multiply, which wreaks havoc on the body’s system.
• Non-sterilized pacifiers and formula bottle nipples—left unclean, these culprits can allow bacteria to enter the baby’s mouth.
• Breastfeeding mom who has thrush—a mother can pass thrush on to her nursing infant if she has the condition on her nipples. Just like baby, mom is more likely to develop thrush if she has taken antibiotics or has a low immune system.
Infant Oral Thrush: Possible Symptoms
Parents may wonder how they can identify thrush in their babies. Although it is always best to check with your health care professional, below are a few symptoms to look for:
• White lesions or sores inside the infant’s mouth or on the lips. Some people describe the sores as looking like cottage cheese.
• White spots inside the mouth with red surrounding them.
• Spots in the mouth that cannot be wiped or scraped away.
• Discomfort when the baby sucks or has pacifier or bottle in his mouth.
Treating Oral Thrush in Infant
One key in eliminating oral thrush in infants is to find ways to strengthen the baby’s immune system. Building up healthy bacteria with probiotics or live active cultures found in yogurt (sugar-free only) is an important step to fighting the candida overgrowth.
At the same time, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics can also make a difference. Antibiotics can further prevent healthy bacteria growth, making candida growth that much easier.
Many health practitioners recommend gentian violet to treat oral thrush in infants. This antifungal agent treats many different fungal infections. While it may color the baby’s mouth purple for a time, it is has shown to be very effective in treating oral thrush.