Most first time moms might not have heard but is quite common in oral thrush in babies. Oral thrush (oral candidiasis) is a fungal infection caused by a fungus ‘Candida’, that mostly occurs in and around the mouth of babies. While oral thrush can affect anyone - it is most common in babies below 6 months of age.
Thrush is characterized by a yellowish-white coating, white patches on the tongue, throat, inner cheeks, and the palate. Oral thrush can be completely harmless in most cases as it gets resolved on its own but if the fungus continues to grow; it can be uncomfortable and painful for the baby.
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Here are the most common causes of oral thrush:
- Weak immunity leads to the growth of fungus in the mouth
- Babies can get it from their mother’s infected nipples during breastfeeding
- Taking too many antibiotics for a prolonged time, kills bacteria and results in yeast growth in the mouth.
One needs to be careful while identifying oral thrush in babies tongues as it will be white and patchy soon after breastfeeding as well.
Also, one should not try to scrape the baby’s tongue as it can make the tongue bleed. The cottony substance will not go away by scraping and even if it does; it will come back.
Symptoms of Oral Thrush in Babies & Kids
Symptoms of oral thrush can appear suddenly. These include:
- Patches of white that look like breastmilk, but cannot be wiped away.
- White patches appear on the roof of the mouth.
- Patches appear inside the cheeks and on the baby’s tongue.
- Under these white patches or lesions - there may be red tissue that bleeds.
- Redness around white patches.
- The white patches are painful - making baby crankier than usual.
- Corners of the baby’s mouth may have cracks.
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7 Home Remedies for treating oral thrush in babies (For babies 3 months plus)
Start with the below-mentioned home remedies only after the diagnosis is confirmed by your child’s pediatrician that your child has oral thrush.
#1. Use Tea Tree oil
Tea tree oil has many health benefits. One of them is its ability to treat thrush in your baby. Here is how you can use it to help your baby heal. This home remedy can be used for babies 3 months plus.
- Boil half cup of water
- Add 1-2 drops of tea tree oil to it once it cools down.
- Now dip a cotton swab into this mixture.
- Wipe the affected areas with it.
#2. Use coconut oil
The antifungal properties of coconut oil make it the best choice for treating oral infections. This home remedy can be used for babies 0 months plus.
- Apply coconut oil on a small area of the skin to test for any allergic reaction.
- You can also apply some on your baby’s lips
- If it suits your baby, just keep applying it daily on the affected areas inside the mouth and on the tongue
#3. Apply grapefruit seed extract
Grapefruit extract is a good home remedy but it is also bitter to taste. Grapefruit seed extract is a very good antimicrobial compound that can treat all kinds of fungal, bacterial and viral infections. This home remedy can be used for babies 3 months plus.
- Just mix some grapefruit seed extract with a small amount of distilled water.
- Dab a piece of cotton in this mixture and clean the affected area with it every hour.
- Remember to use a fresh cotton swab every time.
#4. Wipe with baking soda paste
Baking soda is an age old home remedy that mothers use to treat thrush. It can easily treat mild cases of infant oral thrush without need of any medicines. This home remedy can be used for babies any age.
- Boil a cup of water
- Prepare a smooth paste using baking soda and water
- Apply it around the child’s mouth.
- This can also be applied to the mother’s nipples for prevention as well.
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#5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is safe for use on babies. You can easily use this at home if you have a plant or use a store bought gel. It is very effective in treating the discomfort caused by oral thrush in babies. This home remedy can be used for babies 3 months plus.
- Apply aloe vera gel to the infected areas of your baby’s mouth and tongue, using a fresh cotton swab. Do this daily till the infection goes away.
- For 6 months and older babies, you give 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice everyday.
- Aloe vera not only treats the infection, but also boosts your child’s immunity. This ensures that the infection does not return soon.
#6. Turmeric and milk paste
Turmeric is well known for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Turmeric is suitable for treating oral thrush in babies older than 6 months. For infants it is best not to use this.
- Raw turmeric roots are easily available in the market and milk is available in every home. You can also use breast milk if you have a breast pump.
- Peel and crush some fresh turmeric roots
- Make sure you have enough to make about 3 teaspoons of paste.
- Add 2 spoons of milk to the turmeric paste and mix well.
- Apply this paste on to the affected areas of your baby’s mouth.
- Try to get your baby to move the paste around the whole mouth.
- Wipe off the paste or get the baby to spit it out.
- Do this twice daily.
This home remedy is highly effective in treating oral thrush. However, it is not suitable for infants who are less than 6 months of age.
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#7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar or ACV has a strong taste, but it is very good in treating oral baby thrush. You can also add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your nipples before each feed. This will help keep the nipple thrush away. This home remedy is only for babies 1 year and above.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and honey
- Add this mixture to a cup of warm water
- Let your child drink this solution twice a day, and continue till you get the desired results.
Apart from the above remedies, you may also take certain measures to stop the infection from coming back:
- Sterilize the breast pumps, bottles and teats after every use.
- Clean your nipples after every feed and keep them dry with breast pads.
- Avoid giving too much sweets and sugary products to kids.
- Eat fermented foods that contain probiotics, such as yoghurt and idlis.
- Limit the use of a pacifier as much as you can to reduce chances of thrush.
- Do not allow your baby to go to sleep with bottle.
If oral thrush doesn’t go away within two weeks, it is advisable to see a pediatrician so that he can prescribe an appropriate medicine.
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