What is oral thrush in babies?
What does oral thrush look like in babies?
What causes oral thrush in babies?
What are the symptoms of oral thrush in babies?
Is oral thrush contagious?
Newborn oral thrush treatment
How to prevent oral thrush in babies
1. What is oral thrush in babies?
Oral thrush is a fungal infection caused by candida, a type of yeast, that can grow out of control. The good news is that thrush is harmless and exceptionally common in babies2 . The bad news is that it can leave a baby’s mouth feeling sore, and that can make life – and feeding – difficult for your baby and you.
2. What does oral thrush look like in babies?3
Oral thrush isn’t pretty – and it causes a lot of the parents I see a lot of concern! It is marked by redness and white spots on the mouth and tongue or a white coating on the tongue. Further, if you rub away a white spot, you may find blood underneath – a sure sign of the discomfort that comes with oral thrush.
Further, babies with oral thrush may also have persistent nappy rash, which does not clear with typical care and over the counter creams.
3. What causes oral thrush in babies?
Babies are particularly susceptible to thrush because their immune systems are not yet fully fledged. Their underdeveloped immunity may not be as effective in fending off the fungal infections that our adult immune systems can. Babies do come into contact with candida in their earliest days, whether exposed to it within the birth canal, or via hand to mouth contact once born.
Further, if their immature immune systems leave them vulnerable to bacterial infections, which may require antibiotics, those medications can also kill the ‘good bacteria’ that are another line of defence against fungal infections.
4. What are the symptoms of oral thrush in babies?
Because the symptoms of oral thrush are visible, it is, pardon the pun, easy to spot. The tell-tale signs include redness, white patches and notable discomfort at feeding time. Nappy rash and its raised red bumps are further evidence that oral thrush has taken hold4.
5. Is oral thrush contagious?
Oral thrush is not generally considered to be contagious in adults, but for babies, it can be spread by hand to mouth contact, shared dummies or bottle nipples and to a mother’s nipples from the baby’s mouth5 . This can make breastfeeding painful for both!
6. Oral thrush in babies treatment
Newborn oral thrush can be self-clearing, but if your baby’s symptoms persist for more than a week, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about prescription anti-fungal medicines. There are a range of gels and suspensions and they should take about 7 days to clear an infection6.
7. How to prevent oral thrush in babies
It may not be possible to fully prevent oral thrush in newborns, but sterilising bottles, dummies and feeding equipment will never go amiss. Over time, as your baby’s immune system becomes more robust, they will be better able to fight these types of infections7.
If you found our oral thrush in babies article useful then be sure to look at our other in-depth articles on common baby skin conditions and baby advice on our Parenting Community, like the below: