Understanding Oral Thrush in Infants

Few things rattle parents more than health problems with their baby. While ideally parents will enjoy a complication free beginning to their new child's life, some parents have to learn about new conditions and illnesses, as well as how to treat them and provide the best care for baby. Oral thrush is one health issue that may alarm parents caring for the new addition to the family.

Typically characterized by white sores inside the mouth or on the lips, resembling curdled milk or cottage cheese, oral thrush can not be scraped or wiped away. The inside of the mouth or lips may also appear red or present with red edges around the white lesions. Often these thrush sores are sensitive to touch and irritate the baby's mouth, causing pain and discomfort for the baby when sucking.

It is very common for babies to develop oral thrush after a course of antibiotics. The antibiotic kill good bacteria as well as the infection; therefore, the yeast candida albicans has the ability to grow and multiply with little good bacteria to fight it, leaving the baby's immune system susceptible to yeast overgrowth problems such as yeast infections, diaper rashes or oral thrush.

Other potential culprits for oral thrush in infants include pacifiers and formula bottle nipples that have not been properly sterilized. Women can also develop thrush on their nipples through breastfeeding and then pass on the thrush to their child.

While many babies' immune systems are designed to battle candida and thrush, if their systems have been compromised in any way-through antibiotics or otherwise-they are more likely to develop the oral thrush condition.

Possible treatments for oral thrush in infants include boosting the baby's immune system and healthy, yeast-fighting bacterium with a good probiotic and / or sugar-free yogurt containing live active cultures. This will replenish the child's healthy bacteria, so the body can do its job to destroy candida and restore a healthy intestinal flora.

Avoiding unnecessary antibiotics is another way to help the child heal from oral thrush. Especially if the infant is already dealing with thrush symptoms, antibiotics will only hinder healthy bacteria growth.

A very common treatment for oral thrush in infections is gentian violet-an antifungal agent used to treat a variety of fungal infections and problems. Although it is not derived from the gentian flower, it does have a bright purple color similar to the gentian flower petals.

With treatment, the oral thrush should improve and eventually go away entirely. Children under six months of age are more susceptible to the condition, and once they are one-year-old the chance of developing oral thrush is significantly reduced.