Parenting is a difficult task that demands your utmost attention towards your child. Becoming parents confers upon you loads of responsibilities and the most important among them is your responsibility towards your child’s health and well-being. There are various little health issues that may occur in children which need immediate concern. Here we will discuss a common problem like baby oral thrush, which is seen in about one in every 20 babies.
Have you been lately seeing some white spots or patches in your baby’s mouth? It may be a case of oral thrush, which is nothing but a harmless fungal infection. As a parent to a baby, you should be careful about such issues and know what you need to do in that case. Read on to find out the symptoms and treatment for baby oral thrush.
What is oral thrush and what are its symptoms?
As the name suggests, oral thrush is seen in the baby’s mouth as a white fungal infection. It appears as white or yellowish spots or patches on the gums, tongue, roof of the mouth or the inside walls of the cheeks. They look like curd or cottage cheese like formation on these areas and refuse to go away unlike milk deposits. Sometimes these spots or small patches join together to form plaques. Since it is an infection, the tissue underlying the patches may be red and even bleed a bit. Usually your baby may not be troubled by it and not show any sign of irritation. But if the oral thrush gets sore, the baby may show discomfort or reluctance while being fed.
Sometimes there may be other signs for oral thrush in babies. These include:
- Fussiness while being fed
- Detaching from the breast while feeding
- Refusing to take to the breast
- Whitishness in saliva
- Greater salivation
Treating oral thrush in babies
Oral thrush is usually harmless and goes away on its own most of the times. You may not need treatment at all in some cases. But if they continue to persist and trouble your child you need to get some medical treatment to relieve your child of them. You must take the child to a doctor or health care provider to get it treated. Since this is a fungal infection the child may need some anti-fungal medicine to treat the oral thrush. Do not give your child any anti-fungal gel or drop on your own.
Depending upon your child’s age, the doctor may decide to include yoghurt in your child’s diet. Yoghurt contains lactobacilli which are good bacteria and these help to eliminate the yeast fungus in your child’s mouth.
It is very important to consult a doctor before giving any medicine to your child as all anti-fungal medications may not be suitable for babies. It is also necessary at times to treat the mother’s nipples too if the baby is breastfeeding. This is necessary to stop the infection from passing back once again from the nipple.
Why is my baby suffering from oral thrush? Can it be caused by dogs?
Whenever parents spot any disease or disorder in their child, the first question that pops up in their minds is why is my child suffering from it? Where did I go wrong? As a parent you must know what causes oral thrush in your child. As already mentioned, it is a fungal infection caused by a kind of yeast fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus survives on human skin or inside their mouth. Candida overgrowth can also happen if the baby has been given antibiotics. Usually it may not be of great trouble but it may lead to an infection in people who have a weak immune system. Since immunity is low and still developing in babies, they are more prone to these fungal infections.
Babies about one month old are at a greater risk of having this infection though older babies can suffer from it too. Premature babies or babies born before the normal period often suffer from oral thrush. It is true that oral thrush may be caused due to lack of hygiene and cleanliness but it is not proved that having a dog around your home can cause oral thrush in babies. Try to keep your house and baby clean always. If possible, prevent your dog from licking your baby.
Prevention of oral thrush in babies
The fungus called Candida albicans lives on human skin and inside their mouth and it includes babies too. Since the fungus lives in the bodies, there is no exact way to protect your baby from having oral thrush. There is no full proof method for prevention. However, as suggested by doctors, you can follow some ways to prevent or lessen the chances of an infection.
- If licked by a dog, immediately give your baby a cleanup with a mild antiseptic.
- Try to prevent such habits of your pets.
- If your baby has a habit of putting toys in the mouth, you must sterilize all such toys regularly.
- Do not let anybody else or any other baby put the same toy in the mouth as well.
- The mother must also maintain perfect personal hygiene.
- If as a mother you see redness or sore nipples, there is a chance that you are having an infection and you and your breastfeeding child are passing the infection back and forth. You should never breastfeed a child with an infected nipple. Immediately seek treatment for nipple infection and get it treated to prevent infection in your child as well.
- If the baby is being bottle fed, it is very important to sterilize the bottle as well as any other feeding utensil or equipment to get rid of germs.
- Feed sterilized water to your baby after every feed. Doctors suggest that giving the baby sterilized water after breastfeeding to wipe away traces of milk in their mouth.
- Storing prepared bottles or milk in the refrigerator helps to prevent yeast from growing.