Thrush is a yeast infection caused by various species of microbes called Candida. it is a fungus, and one of the many little organisms found on our bodies. Most of the time they have no effect, but in young children and people with weakened immune systems, they can cause problems. When Candida grows out of control in the mouth, it is called oral thrush or simply thrush.
Thrush appears as creamy white, curd-like patches on the tongue and the inside of the mouth. In babies, it can be differentiated from dried formula by the fact that the thrush cannot be scraped off with a tongue blade.
Many infants develop thrush because they got Candida from their mothers during childbirth. this can happen when the mother has a vaginal yeast infection. Babies can pick it up orally from friends and relatives, too.
Some things can make you or your baby more susceptible to thrush. These include:
* Antibiotics - Babies and adults on antibiotics are susceptible to thrush because the antibiotics upset the balance of microbes.
* Diabetes - If diabetes is not kept under control, large amounts of sugar in the saliva can encourage the growth of Candida.
* Cancer treatments - Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can affect the immune system and lead to an increased risk of developing thrush.
* AIDS - The risk of thrush, and many other infections, is higher in people with AIDS.
* Dry mouth - Dry mouth, and conditions that cause it such as Sjögren's syndrome, can increase your risk of thrush.
* Smoking - Smoking also increases your risk of developing thrush.
In babies, Candida can also manifest itself as diaper rash. It is also very contagious. In fact, the yeast that causes thrush can pass back and forth between the baby's mouth and the mother's breast during breastfeeding.
In children and in adults, thrush can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as diabetes, so you should ask your doctor for further tests.
Thrush can sometimes resolve on its own. If not, it can often be treated with an anti-yeast medication. If you are breastfeeding, both you and your baby may need medication.