The Truth About Oral Thrush

By Diane Hernandez

No one wants to see velvety white spots growing in their baby’s mouth. But, if you notice this sign, chances are your baby may have something called oral thrush.

Noticing this might confuse and worry parents. But oral thrush is extremely common and easily treated. One in 7 babies will actually experience oral thrush according to Here is what you need to know about it.

Why Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush is a yeast-like fungus known as a Candida albicans, according to nonprofit healthcare system Banner Health. Candida typically lives in our mouth, intestines and genital areas without stirring up trouble. But sometimes this can change.

When your baby begins to show symptoms of thrush, it’s because the fungi got out of control. Usually, our immune systems work hard to stop bacteria and fungi from growing too rapidly. However, babies haven’t formed their immune systems completely yet.

This makes it easier for yeast to grow quickly, according to healthcare system Mount Sinai. Other causes include taking antibiotics, which can kill “good” bacteria. Overall, because yeast thrives in warm and moist areas, a baby’s mouth and mother’s nipple is a key place for this “not-so-fun-fungi” to develop.


Now that we know what oral thrush is, here are ways to look for symptoms. Tell-tale signs include white sores in a baby’s mouth, bleeding, redness, diaper rash and mood changes, according to Mount Sinai. Moms can also develop thrush on the nipple — symptoms include cracked, tender, pink and sore nipples.

If you notice these traits, contact your pediatrician or doctor immediately. Usually, thrush will go away on its own after a few days. But, in some cases, a provider might prescribe an antifungal solution for the baby’s mouth. Moms will apply anti-fungal cream to their nipples if infected.


Most things in life are preventable — oral thrush is no different! KidsHealth recommends thoroughly cleaning baby bottles and pacifiers in hot water after each use. This stops fungi from reinfecting a baby. For moms, Banner Health recommends washing your hands before and after nursing. Other steps include changing nursing pads regularly, adding probiotics to your diet and letting the nipples completely dry before putting on a bra. Oral thrush might seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Through these simple recommendations, parents may be able to avoid this scenario. If your child happens to contract it, don’t worry too much either!

It’s easy to treat and easy to prevent! Always consult your pediatrician!

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