Oral thrush (Oral Candidiasis): Proven Facts

KEY POINTS

  • Oral Thrush or candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by candida albicans.
  • Oral Thrush appears as white spots inside the mouth (mucous membrane).
  • Oral Thrush can make sucking and feeding difficult for the baby.
  • Oral Thrush is treatable.
  • Oral Thrush can pass from the baby to the breastfeeding mother or visa versa.
  • Thrush often goes away on its own, but children sometimes need antifungal drops or gel.

What is Oral Thrush?

Oral Thrush i.e. candidiasis (ICD-10-CM-B37.0) is one of the most common fungal infection. It can be seen in adults as well as babies. The organism responsible for this infection is candida albicans.

Candida albicans is a fungus which is commonly present in the oral cavity, mucus membrane, as well as skin and does not cause any harm. But, if the number of the organisms increase, then the fungal infection will be seen. The fungal infection can also be seen with diaper rashes.

The child might get affected within a few weeks of birth. The immunity when the child is born is very less, this leads to aggravation of the fungus and thus candidiasis. Sometimes kids pick up the infection while birth through the vagina, as the vagina too has some amount of fungus. The child can also get affected if the child is sucking on already infected nipples.

Oral thrush can affect anyone but children below the age of 2 years are most prone.

Oral thrush is treatable and preventable if proper care is taken care of.

How to check if you or your child has Oral Thrush?

In Adults:

  1. White patches inside the mouth
  2. If the patches are removed, they leave inflamed areas which can bleed
  3. An unpleasant taste in the mouth
  4. Cracking and redness at the corners of your mouth (angular cheilitis)
  5. Sometimes in denture wearers oral thrush can cause redness, irritation, and pain under dentures (denture stomatitis)

    Oral thrush in adults is not contagious.

In Kids:

  1. A white coating on the tongue like cottage cheese – this cannot be rubbed off easily.
  2. If the patches are removed, they leave inflamed areas that can bleed.
  3. Sometimes there are white spots in their mouth.
  4. Cracking and redness at the corners of the child’s mouth (angular cheilitis)
  5. If the infection spreads to your child’s food pipe, it can be painful and make it hard for them to swallow.

Oral thrush normally do not irritate babies and young children. But it might cause irritation if the areas get inflamed.

oral thrush, oral candidiasis, thrush, symptoms of oral thrush

When breastfeeding a child with oral thrush, it can pass to the mother’s breast causing:

  1. Red, sensitive, cracked, or itchy nipples
  2. Shiny or flaky skin on the areola, the area around the nipple
  3. Painful nursing or painful nipples between feedings
  4. Stabbing pains deeper in the breast

How to treat Oral Thrush?

Normally oral thrush is not difficult to treat except in immunocompromised patients.

In Children:

If the kid is irritable, then your pediatrician might suggest some anti-fungal gel or drops to be applied multiple times a day for at least 10 days.

But if the child is fine otherwise, then there is no need for any medication.

Babies with oral thrush and diaper rash (which can also be a fungal infection) will need medication for both the areas. The medicine prescribed by your pediatrician will be different for both the areas.

For Breast feeding mothers:

  • If you are breastfeeding, use nursing pads and keep bras and any bottles or breast pump parts clean.
  • The doctor might give you some anti fungal cream which you will have to wipe before feeding the baby.

For Older Patients

  • If you wear dentures, be sure to disinfect them as recommended by your dentist.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene.

Can Oral Thrush be prevented?

Oral Thrush, how to prevent oral thrush, Oral thrush prevention,

Oral thrush can happen to baby during the birthing process , in that case you can not do anything to prevent it. But yes oral thrush occurring after birth, can be prevented if proper care is taken in case of babies.

  1. Good Oral Hygiene
  2. Regular dental check ups
  3. For breast feeding mothers, clean the nipples properly before feeding the baby
  4. For bottle feeding, clean and sterilize the bottles properly using the bottle sterilizer
  5. Clean and wash the teethers
  6. Treat diaper rashes immediately
  7. Wash baby’s clothes at 60 degrees Celsius to kill fungus
  8. For asthmatic kids, make sure they wash their mouth with water after taking asthma medications
  9. For diabetic kids, try to keep their blood sugar level within its target range

Home remedies to treat the Oral Thrush for adults

There are few time tested remedies to treat the oral thrush at home. You can try these if the problem is not severe.

  1. Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar, has natural antifungal properties and studies show that the vinegar may fight the growth of candida. Use 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water and use it like mouthwash daily 2-3 times a day.
  2. Coconut Oil: The antifungal properties of coconut oil may help eliminate the candida. Swish coconut oil in your mouth every morning on an empty stomach. Continue doing it for 10 to 15 minutes and then spit it out.
  3. Salt Water: Try warm salt water rinses. Dissolve about 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Swish the rinse and then spit it out.
  4. Yogurt: It contains healthy bacteria (eg. Lactobacillus acidophilus) which prevent growth of candida. In a study they found that Probiotics reduce the prevalence of oral candida in the elderly . You can have plain yogurt 2-3 times a day and keep it in mouth for sometime before swallowing it.
  5. Lemon Juice: It is a natural antifungal. Squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water, and drink it.
  6. Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate): Baking soda is a common home remedy for oral thrush. According to a study, the use of 3% sodium bicarbonate saline solution for oral care effectively prevented the occurrence of Oral Thrush.
  7. Turmeric: In a study it has been found to be very effective in the treatment of Candida albicans infection or oral thrush. Curcumin a compound present in turmeric, is a powerful compound thought to have anti-inflammatory abilities. you can take turmeric by mixing in milk for the treatment of oral thrush.
  8. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant and enhances immunity and may help fight oral thrush.
  9. Mouthwashes: You can also use mouthwash twice a day to control the oral thrush as most of the mouthwashes contain anti fungal agents.

When should you visit a doctor regarding Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush is a very common self healing infection in babies, but if the baby is in pain and is not having any food due to oral thrush you should get medical help immediately.

If the oral thrush keeps on reoccurring then you should visit a medical practitioner, as there might a causative factor which needs to be diagnosed.

Related: Vomiting In Children: All You Need To Know

Disclaimer:

This blog provides general information about Oral Thrush. The opinion and content on this blog is only for conversational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical or dental advice pertaining to any particular individual. If the reader or any other person has a medical or a dental concern, he or she should consult with an appropriate licensed medical or dental practitioner.

Dr. Garima Verma

Dr. Garima Verma is a dentist and an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. To spread information regarding dental health and parenting she started this blog, where authentic information is provided after a detailed study from the most know websites like, FDA, WHO, IDA, etc. and a gist with accurate and complete information is shared.

4 thoughts on “Oral thrush (Oral Candidiasis): Proven Facts

  • November 29, 2022 at 9:59 am
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    Thank you for sharing this article on oral thrush. this will definitely help many people like me and will create awareness about this.

    Reply
  • November 28, 2022 at 1:47 pm
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    Nice explanation about the oral Thrush and it’s treatment and precautions.

    Reply

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