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Thrush in Babies

thush in babies

Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of a yeast called Candida Albicans. Candida Albicans is normally found in an individual’s mouth as part of the normal microbial flora. Babies and other immunosuppressed people are susceptible to overgrowth of this yeast. In pediatrics, this seems exceptionally common when children under 2 are exposed to antibiotics (either through breastfeeding or via medical treatment).

When this happens, thrush appears as white patches inside the mouth. It can occur on the lips, cheeks, tongue or palate. Most thrush pictures show cases of the lips only because it is the easiest area to photograph.

Often new parents are worried that their newborns “white tongue”is a case of thrush. Fortunately, most cases of “white tongues” are normal variation and not the beginning of thrush. If a healthy newborn only has a white tongue, treatment should begin if there evidence of spread to the palate, lips or cheeks. once daily therapy.

Nystatin is the main treatment for thrush. Nystatin is an anti-fungal medication that works topically (or at the site of application). It is typically prescribe three to four times a day. It is most effective when is can be directly applied to the site of infection. In the rare cases where nystatin treatments fail, I recommend Diflucan (fluconazole). Diflucan is a once daily medication that is absorbed the blood stream. Often parents prefer once daily therapy. However, I continue to write nystatin primarily since it is cheeper, is not absorbed into the blood stream and has a safe history of use.

Breastfeeding mothers can contract a breast yeast infection from their newborn with thrush. Often it is necessary to treat both the newborn and mother to resolve the infection. Candida Albicans can be carried on pacifier and bottle nipple. Pacifier and bottle nipples should be boiled daily during infections to minimize re-infection.

see more pictures of thrush


Written May 2013 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician












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