Oral thrush is a fungal infection that causes symptoms that may affect eating, speaking and swallowing. This irritating condition is common among infants and toddlers as well as those who have weakened immune systems. Although it can be scary to think your child may have an oral infection, thrush is treatable. It is important to note that oral thrush can recur in infants and younger children, but this is normal. If the infection does come back, make sure to schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dentist to prevent complications (the infection can spread to the brain, heart, eyes, and esophagus).

Risk Factors

Certain risk factors can increase your child’s risk for developing oral thrush, including (but not limited to):

1. The presence of diabetes, HIV, leukemia and/or anemia

People that have a compromised immune system from any of the aforementioned conditions may experience oral thrush.

2. Age

Younger children and infants don’t have as strong of an immune system as adults, which makes them more vulnerable to infections and viruses of any kind.

3. Recent use of antibiotics

Antibiotics not only kill bad bacteria, but they also kill good bacteria—the bacteria that keep the body healthy. This can increase the risk for thrush.

4. Direct contact with someone who is infected with thrush

This can include breastfeeding mothers who are infected with thrush of the nipple, as well as sharing toothbrushes, food, utensils and/or drinks with someone that has oral thrush.

Symptoms

Symptoms tend to include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Yellow and white bumps inside the cheeks, on the palate, tongue, and/or throat.

2. A burning sensation

3. Altered taste

4. Cracked corners of the mouth

5. Dry mouth

6. Trouble swallowing

7. Bleeding

Treatment

Treatment typically involves anti-fungal medications and/or mouth rinses. A stronger anti-fungal may be necessary for severe cases and for those with conditions like HIV, diabetes, leukemia and/or anemia. The infection tends to clear up within a few weeks following treatment.

If you suspect that your loved one has oral thrush, it is best to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist or a pediatrician to have them diagnose and treat your child. Advanced Children’s Dentistry provides a fun and educational experience with Dr. Sybil Padavathil, our pediatric dentist in Garden City, NY. Schedule your child’s dental appointment at 516-758-KIDS.

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