Oral Thrush in Babies – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Just like in teenagers and adults, babies do also develop oral thrush. It is a fungal/yeast infection that affects mucous membranes in a baby’s mouth. It is very important that you ascertain that your baby has oral thrush before seeking treatment. This is because you can easily mistake milk residue in your baby’s mouth to be oral thrush since both cause white coating on the tongue.

The easiest way to differentiate oral thrush and milk residue is by gently rub your baby’s tongue with a clean finger. While coating that easily rubs off is milk residue that which remains resistant to rubbing is oral thrush.
It is very important that you seek medical attention immediately you ascertain that your baby indeed has oral thrush. This is because it can easily cause mouth sores. Furthermore, untreated oral thrush can also pass through baby’s digestive system only to cause rashes in the nappy area.


The first symptom you are bound to notice if your baby has oral thrush is a white coating in the baby’s tongue. The coating can spread to internal parts of cheeks and rood of the mouth. It is also possible to notice white coating on your baby’s gums.

Although oral thrush does not cause a baby discomfort, development of mouth sores can make your baby very uncomfortable. He/she is most likely to avoid breastfeeding.


Just like in teenagers and adults, oral thrush in infants and babies is caused by Candida albicans. This is fungus that naturally resides in the mouth. Development of oral thrush begins when the fungus becomes pathogenic, meaning that its level increases beyond the normal level, causing opportunistic infection in the mouth.

Level of the fungus can increase because of several factors including your baby’s immature immune system, which makes your baby less resistant to opportunistic infections, use of antibiotic medications, which reduces level of healthy bacteria in the mouth and allows level of the fungus to increase. Your baby can also have oral thrush in case he/she encountered a bout of thrush if you gave birth through the normal way.


Treating oral thrush is normally not a problem for pediatricians. Oral thrush is easily treated by use of anti-fungal medications including nystatin suspension and miconazole gel. Whichever medication a pediatrician prescribes, you only need to apply the gel or suspension in the mouth, in which case your baby is bound to heal within a week.


It is very easy to prevent oral thrush unless your baby acquired it at birth. It’s important to ensure that your baby’s feeding bottle, clothing and toys remain clean at all times. It is important that you clean your nipples and let them dry every time before breastfeeding your baby.
It is very important to note that occurrence of oral thrush is never linked to any disease, illness or health condition. Although it is a mild condition that can easily resolve on its own by simply breastfeeding your baby, you always need to seek medical attention so as to prevent development of mouth sores.

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