Oral thrush is caused by fungus Candida albicans. The infection is common in newborn infants and toddlers below the age of two. It can also occur in adults to some extent. You can easily notice white curd like patches inside the mouth of a baby suffering from oral thrush.
Besides the oral cavity, Candida albicans can also develop thrush in different sites such as in the vagina, nail fold and as nappy rash. Oral thrush in babies is not a serious condition. It can be completely treated with conventional medications as well as home remedies.But before that, let us find out the underlying cause for development of oral thrush in babies.
What Are The Causes Of Oral Thrush In Babies?
There are several microorganisms which live harmoniously with each other in different parts of human body. Candida albicans is also found in mouth, digestive tract, on skin and in the vagina. When candida lives in harmony and it is in small number it does not produce any symptom. Under some circumstances when the yeast overgrows, it gains a foothold and assumes a pathogenic role.
- Oral thrush is common among premature infants, undernourished babies, and babies who are suffering from diseases where antibiotic become a necessity.
- A healthy new born infant first comes in contact with candida albicans when traveling through the vagina at the time of delivery.
- Oral thrush develops in few babies soon after birth as a result of hormone changes occurring in his body. It becomes a triggering factor for overgrowth of the organism in the infant’s mouth.
- Infants below the age of 2 months usually suffer from oral thrush. During this period the immune system is not well developed. This maternal source seems to be the principal means for infection of a healthy newborn baby. Especially premature children have low immune level.
- Oral thrush occurs when the baby for some reason is given antibiotics. Antibiotics can cause imbalance of microorganism living in the mouth. As a result the yeast gets a chance to multiply and produce symptoms.
- Feeding on imperfectly sterilized bottle or nipples can also lead to oral thrush.
- The infection can also spread from the attendants hand while handling the child.
Signs And Symptoms Of Oral Thrush In Babies
Warmth and moisture favor the growth of candida albicans. Mouth, anal region and genitals are therefore vulnerable for thrush infection.
Oral thrush in babies can be easily detected by the mother.
- Pearly white, elevated patches resembling milk curd appear on the gingivae, tongue, roof of the mouth, and even in the throat.
- When forcibly removed the white spots leave a raw surface.
- White spots are painless with little or no swelling.
- Few babies may have soreness in their mouth. The child turns fussy and refuses breastfeeding.
- Saliva may drool out from the mouth.
- In some cases cracks may appear in the corner of mouth.
Home Remedies For Oral Thrush In Babies
Many babies suffering from oral thrush may not require any treatment. The lesion heals on its own within few days of its appearance. However, to shorten its course many doctors prescribe anti-fungal solution to be applied in the mouth.
In addition to the conventional use of anti-fungal solution, many mothers prefer home remedies for treating oral thrush infection for their baby.
- Baking soda is effective home remedy for treating oral thrush in babies. Take a cupful of water. Boil the water for few minutes. Let the water become cool. Now add half teaspoon of baking soda and mix to prepare a uniform solution. Dip sterile gauze in the solution. Now with your clean finger wrapped with the wet gauze, apply the solution inside the mouth. Apply it two times in a day.
- For toddlers and children suffering from oral thrush, tea tree oil is an effective remedy. In a cup of water add 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil. Mix it well and dip a small piece of cotton bud. Now wipe the mouth with the cotton bud. Use new bud every time you wipe the inside of mouth.
- Applying grapefruit seed extract inside the mouth also initiates early healing.
- Apply yogurt inside the mouth of your baby. Yogurt contains good bacteria which are useful to kill the yeast organisms.