What is an oral thrush?
The common infection which is found in the mouth of the baby occurring in the first few weeks or month of the life is called as oral thrush. The oral thrush which is also called as a yeast infection is caused by the microorganism Candida albicans a fungus. Though oral thrush is not a serious problem, it can lead to serious, uncomfortable problems if left untreated.
What causes oral thrush in infants?
The organism Candida albicans which commonly lives in the mouth is usually kept under control by the immune system. Due to under maturity of the immune system in infants, resistance to such infections are quite less. Because of the weak immune system, oral thrush leads to the development of sores and lesions in the mouth of an infant. The level of the fungal growth can increase even after the treatment with antibiotics as antibiotics reduce the level of the healthy bacteria in the mouth.
The other reasons for oral thrush infection are: exposure to the vaginal infection during the birthing process and the infection of the mother’s nipples which get transmitted to the infant during breastfeeding.
What are the symptoms of oral thrush infections in the infants?
First signs of oral thrush in baby are unsettling behavior and mouth sores, other common symptoms are as follows:
- Appearance of the white, velvet lesions in mouth and on the tongue
- Bleeding of the red tissue underneath whitish material
- Development of the pain associated lesions in the mouth
- Increase in the number and size of the lesion
- Appearance of the white patches at the top of the mouth surrounded with redness around the patch
- Loss of taste
- Difficulty in swallowing
How is oral thrush in babies treated?
Appearance of the Candida albicans under microscope with the swab of the infected tissue or sample confirms the diagnosis of oral thrush. The treatment is generally not required as the infection disappears after two weeks of its appearance though the pediatrician should look for the progress of the lesions. The treatment is generally with the drops or gel which needs to be spread inside of the mouth. In addition, mother’s nipples should be treated if the baby is breastfeeding in order to avoid the back and forth transmission of the infection.
Medications such as topical or antifungal antibiotics such as fluconazole may also be included under the treatment regimen.
How is oral thrush in infants prevented?
The transmission of the yeast infection may be prevented by pregnant women consulting the health care provider with the appearance of the symptoms of the vaginal yeast infection such as cheesy white discharge or itching of the vagina.
A nursing women who has nipple discharge and pain should also be notified to the healthcare provider so as to avoid the risk of thrush infection in nipples which could be transmitted to the mouth of the nursing infant while breastfeeding.
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