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What is thrush in children?

Dr. Ramakanth Reddy 92% (118 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma In Child Health
Pediatrician, Hyderabad  •  23 years experience

Thrush (Oral Candida Infection) in Children

What is thrush in children?

Thrush is a mouth infection that is common in babies and children. Symptoms include white or yellow velvety patches in the mouth. Thrush is caused by a type of fungus called Candida. Candida is found naturally on the skin and in the mouth. But if Candida grows out of control, it can cause thrush. Thrush is not a serious problem for a healthy child. It can be treated with antifungal medicine.

What causes thrush in a child?

Candida yeast is common in the everyday environment. It only causes a problem when it grows out of control. This can happen if a child:

  • Has taken antibiotics
  • Uses inhaled corticosteroids, such as for asthma
  • Uses a pacifier often
  • Has a weakened immune system

Which children are at risk for thrush?

A child is more at risk for thrush if he or she:

  • Had a very low birth weight
  • Passed through the birth canal of a mother with a yeast infection
  • Has taken antibiotics
  • Uses inhaled corticosteroids, such as for asthma
  • Uses a pacifier often
  • Has a weakened immune system
  • What are the symptoms of thrush in a child?

Thrush causes milky white or yellow patches to form on the tongue or inner cheeks. These patches can be painful and may bleed. Some babies have no pain from thrush. Others may have pain and be fussy and refuse to feed. It may hurt when your child swallows. Thrush can also cause cracked skin in the corners of the mouth. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. The symptoms of thrush can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is thrush diagnosed in a child?

The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. This will include looking in your child’s mouth.

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