Oral Thrush in Babies - Why Does it Happen?

Oral Thrush in Babies - Why Does it Happen?

Most of the time, we see babies crying while being breastfed by their mothers. They seem to be uncomfortable and cranky. And once we look into their mouth, a white patch on the tongue can be seen. This white patch is called oral thrush, a common fungal infection in babies.

Oral thrush is common in babies, especially the ones below the age of 6 months. The fungus that causes this infection is called candida that can live anywhere in the body, including the mouth and digestive tract.

A baby can contact candida through saliva or may have picked it through the birth canal if born vaginally. When the fungus grows more in a baby’s mouth, it becomes oral thrush. It causes sore patches in and around your baby’s mouth. These patches make a baby feel uncomfortable and painful to take feed.

Remember, this oral thrush can be transferred to your nipples if you breastfeed your baby, which can further cause you pain and discomfort, especially at the time of breastfeeding.

What Causes Oral Thrush in Babies?

The presence of candida is not a matter of worry, but it is vital to keep a deep check on your baby’s oral health. Oral thrush can happen if your baby is given antibiotics. Antibiotics also kill some ‘good bacteria’ that weaken the immune system and further allow these fungi’ growth.
Signs And Symptoms of Oral Thrush In Babies
If you suspect the presence of oral thrush in your baby, it is good to seek your doctor’s help for diagnosis and treatment. Here are the common signs and symptoms of oral thrush in babies.


  • Difficulty in feeding: One of the first signs showing the presence of oral thrush in a baby is discomfort and pain. Your baby may cry in pain while taking breastfeed.
  • White patches: Oral thrush looks like a white patch. It seems like cottage cheese is rubbed on your baby’s tongue. And when you try wiping these white patches, they don’t get removed. Thus, it is essential to take good oral care in babies, too.
  • Cracked skin at the corners of the mouth: The corners look cracked and reddish when a baby is suffering from oral thrush.

How to prevent Oral Thrush in Babies?

  • Wash your hands - Make sure you wash your hands before and after feeding and even after diaper changes.
  • Keep anything that comes in contact with your baby’s mouth (like teethers, bottles, toys, pacifiers) and your breasts clean
  • Change your nursing bra and breasts pads regularly because milk leakage in nursing bras and breast pad can be a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria to grow
  • Add probiotics or yogurt in your daily diet which will help in building good bacteria that manages the growth of yeast
  • If you are breastfeeding allow your nipples to completely dry between the feedings before putting your bra back on

How to Treat Oral Thrush in Babies?

In general, thrush goes by itself in few weeks, but it is helpful to seek your doctor’s advice in case of any need for antifungal treatment.


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