Childhood Diseases Common Illnesses Thrush

Thrush infection, or oral thrush, is quite common in infants. It’s caused by an abundance of the natural-occurring yeast, Candida albicans, which is present in the mouth. Thrush yeast grows out of control in infants because of their undeveloped immune systems. 

Thrush Symptoms

Symptoms can develop seemingly overnight in mouth thrush. You may see tongue lesions or creamy white mouth sores. Thrush pictures often depict these sores as having a cottage cheese-like appearance. Other symptoms may include:

  • Cottony feeling in the mouth
  • Cracking at the corners of the mouth
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Slight bleeding (if lesions are irritated).

Oral Thrush - Thrush in Children

There are other concerns with thrush. For example, this infection may spread to the esophagus, causing difficulty swallowing. This complication is called Candida esophagitis. In addition, with thrush, breastfeeding babies can pass the infection to their mothers. If you’re breastfeeding an infected baby, you may notice the following:

  • Painful nipples during or between feedings
  • Red, sensitive or itchy nipples
  • Shiny or flaky skin on the areola
  • Stabbing pain, down deep in the breast.

It’s especially important to treat these cases in both the mother and infant. This will prevent the infection from being passed back and forth.

Thrush Treatments

There are different treatments available, depending on the patient’s age and overall health. For babies with thrush, doctors will likely prescribe a mild antifungal medication. If you’re breastfeeding, your doctor may give you an antifungal cream to treat your sore breasts. You’ll want to rinse any pacifiers or bottles your baby uses in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water while your baby is being treated for thrush. This goes for breast pumps and the parts that come in contact with infected areas.

In otherwise healthy older children, eating plain, unsweetened yogurt or taking acidophilus pills as directed can help to cut down on the yeast, clearing up the thrush infection. These cultures may help to restore the normal flora to the infected child’s digestive system. If these approaches don’t help, ask your pediatrician what the next step should be. She may then prescribe an antifungal medication.

Practicing good oral hygiene habits of brushing and flossing daily can help to prevent thrush. Avoid mouth washes and rinses, as these can cause an imbalance of the flora and bacteria in your child’s mouth. Always remember to contact your child’s physician if you think the condition is worsening or have other concerns.

Resources

Ben-Joseph, E. (2008). Infections: Oral thrush. Retrieved December 27, 2009, from the Kids Health Web site: http://kidshealth.org/parent/newborn/basics/thrush.html.

Dugdale, D. (2009). Thrush. Retrieved December 27, 2009, from the Med Line Plus Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000626.htm.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009). Oral thrush. Retrieved December 27, 2009, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oral-thrush/DS00408.