Many parents question whether the white film on their infant's tongue is a patch of milk or a sign of something abnormal, like thrush. Oral thrush in babies occurs, in part, because of the baby's developing immune system, which is too weak to ward off the fungus that causes it.
Thrush in Babies
Candidiasis, also known as oral thrush, is caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth due to the fungus Candida albicans. In recent decades, there has been a decrease in cases of thrush in infants, but infants still experience the highest rate of incidence compared to other groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Your little one can show signs of thrush in more than one way. Thrush can appear as white patches that occur in your infant's mouth on the cheeks, tongue
Natural Thrush Treatment for Babies
Minor bouts of thrush may go away on their own with no treatment within a week or two. Household remedies may also curb the fungal growth, though it's always best to get your pediatrician's approval before trying alternative treatments. If your baby is capable of eating solid food, unsweetened yogurt may serve as a basic home remedy for mild thrush, according to the National Institutes of Health. Though the lactobacillus in yogurt doesn't destroy the fungus, it may be able to restore a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth.
Breastfeeding mothers with cracked nipples or those with signs of a yeast infection should ask their doctors how to prevent the spread of the fungus. Be sure to keep all objects in contact with your child's mouth clean, including their pacifier and bottle, and throw out any toothbrushes that might be contaminated.
See Your Pediatrician
Thrush is one of the more common ailments in babies younger than 6 months old. However, before you presume your baby has thrush and pursue treatment, it's best to see your pediatrician for a diagnosis. The doctor will examine the white patches in your baby's mouth and, if necessary, take a small scraping of them to view under the microscope, explains the Mayo Clinic.
If your baby does indeed have thrush, follow your pediatrician's recommended treatment plan. Your doctor may prescribe Nystatin, an antifungal medication, to administer to your infant through oral drops, according to Nationwide Children's Hospital. With prescribed treatment, oral thrush will often clear up within four to five days.
If you notice reoccurrences, cases of thrush that increase in severity or cases that don't improve after 10 days, make an appointment with your pediatrician to investigate potential underlying health issues. However, most babies recover from the ailment with a healthy, pain-free mouth.