Oral thrush is a common fungal infection in and around children’s mouths. Oral thrush looks like white spots and patches. Thrush often goes away on its own, but children sometimes need antifungal drops or gel.
About oral thrush
Oral thrush is a fungal infection of the throat, tongue, or lining of the mouth. In bad cases, it can spread down the food pipe. Oral thrush is mostly caused by a fungal yeast called Candida albicans. We all have this yeast in our bodies, and our immune systems keep it in balance with the other bacteria and funguses that live in our bodies. If the balance is upset, the yeast can multiply and produce an infection.
Things that can upset the balance include:
- medicines like corticosteroids and antibiotics
- a weakened immune system because of a medical condition or medical treatment
- poorly controlled type 1 diabetes
Symptoms of oral thrush
If your child has oral thrush, you might notice that they have white spots and patches on their tongue, inner cheeks, lips, gums, or the roof of their mouth. These patches don’t rub off with gentle pressure. If the patches are removed, they leave inflamed areas that can bleed.
A child with oral thrush might also have cracking and inflammation at the corners of their mouth. They might not be able to taste things as well as usual. Oral thrush generally doesn’t irritate babies and young children. But it might cause irritation if the areas get very inflamed. In this case, your child might not want to feed or eat. They might also drool. And if the infection spreads to your child’s food pipe, it can be painful and make it hard for them to swallow.
Prevention of oral thrush
There are several things you can do to prevent oral thrush:
- If you’re bottle-feeding your baby, sterilize teats and bottles after each use.
- Use antibiotics only when necessary and prescribed by a doctor for your child.
- If your child has asthma, make sure they wash their mouth with water after asthma preventer medications.
- If your child has diabetes, try to keep their blood sugar level within its target range.
Oral thrush treatment
If your child has oral thrush and is otherwise well, your GP might not need to treat the oral thrush. It will go away on its own.
But if your baby is having difficulty feeding or is irritable, your GP will probably prescribe antifungal drops or oral gel, which you use after each feed or meal for 10 days. Sometimes oral thrush goes along with thrush in the nappy area, which will need treatment at the same time. You can still breastfeed if your child has oral thrush. Your doctor might advise you to put some antifungal cream on your nipples as well, but you should wipe this off before feeding. Or you can use a sprue plaster with the aim of closing the wound, so it is protected from the effects of other factors that can slow wound healing. Our flagship product regarding thrush plasters is Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing. This product can be used In children over 5 years The benefits of Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing include:
- Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing contains vitamin E which nourishes the wound area so the healing process will be better
- Contains mint flavor which can reduce halitosis (bad breath due to thrush/wounds)
- Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing protects wounds from touching, exposure to cigarette smoke or food
- Adhesion for up to 4 hours makes Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing comfortable to use
- Provides protection for thrush sores, small wounds on the oral mucosa due to braces, and dentures that don't fit properly or are accidentally bitten.
- The adhesive surface of Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing is easy to see, painless during twisting
- Plaster Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing is air soluble, comfortable to use
With Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing, wounds are protected and the healing process is improved.
- Insert Pack Curatick™ Oral Wound Dressing,
- KidsHealth, Nemours (2017). For Parents. Canker Sores.
- Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/canker-sore/symptoms-causes/syc-20370615.
- Raising Child Australian Parenting Website. Oral Thrush Suitable for 0-8 Years.