From cradle cap and diaper rash to colic, chances are you will encounter several common conditions during your infant's first year of life. There is another unremarkable condition that often occurs in babies that are both bottle fed and breast fed: thrush. Even though it may seem dangerous, oral thrush is typically benign, although it can cause your baby some discomfort. Here is some valuable information about your baby and oral thrush, including how to prevent it:
Causes and Symptoms of Oral Thrush in Infants
Thrush occurs when your baby's mouth features an overgrowth of a common type of fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus is naturally found in small amounts in the mouth and digestive tracts of most people, including infants, and is prevented from flourishing by their body's good bacteria. However, when the baby's immune system is compromised in any way, the Candida albicans can begin to grow unchecked, which will lead to the symptoms associated with thrush.
When thrush develops in newborns, it often occurs simply because the baby's immune system hasn't fully developed. In older infants, thrush most often occurs if the baby is immunocompromised, or after a course of antibiotics. In addition to killing the bacterial infection, an antibiotic will also negatively impact the growth of good bacteria, which then leads to an overgrowth of oral fungus.
Additionally, if a baby is breastfed and the mother doesn't properly dry her nipples before each feeding, or if the baby uses a pacifier or is bottle fed, it can cause excess moisture in the mouth, which creates the perfect environment for Candida albicans to flourish.
Once again, the symptoms of thrush generally aren't serious, although they can be uncomfortable for your baby. The most common symptom is the presence of white patches on the inner cheeks, gums and tonsils. A white film will often also occur on your baby's tongue.
Many babies suffering from thrush might have trouble breastfeeding or bottle feeding because of the discomfort caused by the white patches.
Treatment for Oral Thrush in Infants
If you suspect your baby has thrush, don't hesitate to contact your pediatrician. There are effective treatments available that won't harm your baby. The most common treatment for minor cases of thrush is an antifungal medication. The medication is applied to the inside of your baby's mouth on a cotton swab or a sponge applicator for several days.
In more severe cases, your doctor might recommend a liquid oral antifungal medication. Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, your pediatrician might also prescribe an antifungal cream that is applied to your nipples until your baby's oral thrush is gone.
How to Prevent Oral Thrush in Infants
In many cases, your baby's oral thrush is unavoidable because their immune system is underdeveloped. However, as your newborn grows into an infant, there are several simple things you can do to prevent the formation of thrush. According to WebMD, here are a few of the best ways to prevent oral thrush:
Oral thrush is a very common condition that is easy to spot, treat and prevent. If you have any additional questions about oral thrush, don't hesitate to contact your pediatrician at a place like Entira Family Clinics.
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