Oral Thrush

A fungal mouth infection caused by an overgrowth of a yeast

  • Most common under 1 year of age
  • Gender, genetics, and lifestyle are not significant factors

Oral thrush is a common fungal infection in the first year of life. It produces white spots inside the mouth and may make a baby reluctant to feed. The infection is caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast naturally present in the mouth. The reason for the overgrowth is often unknown.

What are the symptoms?

In most cases, the symptoms of oral thrush include the following:

  • Creamy white spots in the mouth that are difficult to rub off.

  • Sore mouth that may make a baby reluctant to feed.

Oral thrush may be associated with a candida infection in the nappy area (see Nappy rash).

Oral thrush

The white patches on the tongue and the lining of this baby’s mouth are caused by a common yeast infection, oral thrush.

What might be done?

If you think your baby has oral thrush, you should arrange for him or her to see a doctor within 48 hours. The doctor will examine your baby’s mouth and may take a mouth swab to check for Candida albicans. He or she may prescribe antifungal drops and, to prevent reinfection if you breast-feed, an antifungal cream for your nipples (see Preparations for skin infections and infestations). If you bottle-feed your baby, all the equipment should be thoroughly sterilized. Oral thrush often improves within days of starting treatment and clears up within a week, but the infection may recur.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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