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Baby with a surprised expression

Your child opens his mouth, and you see white stuff covering his tongue. You freak out! What the heck is that? In all likelihood, it’s thrush, a common yeast infection in the mouth. It looks alarming, but thrush is usually fairly harmless, although in rare cases it can spread beyond the mouth. Fortunately, a good pediatric dentist can treat thrush and provide tips to reduce the risk of future infections.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, Dr. Matt and Dr. Craven are experts in all manner of pediatric oral problems, including thrush. Once your little one’s infection has cleared up, we can also provide complete dental care, including exams and cleanings. 

To learn more about thrush or to get appropriate treatment, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

What is thrush?

Thrush is an oral yeast infection, also known as oral candidiasis. It typically causes white, creamy looking sores to appear on the tongue and insides of the cheeks. The sores may bleed slightly when they are scraped. Your child may also experience a slight loss of taste, a cottony or burning feeling, or a nasty taste in the mouth. 

Babies, of course, will not be able to communicate these symptoms. But you may notice fussiness and irritability, as well as difficulty feeding

Why does thrush occur?

Many people have the Candida albicans (C. albicans) fungus in their mouths, and for most it is not a problem. However, when fungal overgrowth occurs, a thrush infection will develop. These infections are particularly likely to affect infants and small children because their immune systems are still developing. In fact, an estimated 5-7% of babies under a month old will suffer from thrush.

Thrush can also affect infants if their moms have a history of vaginal yeast infections. In these cases, infection can pass to the babies during delivery. C. albicans can also pass back and forth between baby and mom if the infant is breastfeeding

Treating Thrush

Your dentist or pediatrician can easily treat thrush with a prescription antifungal medication. Infection will usually go away in about 4 to 5 days, though it’s important to continue using the medication as directed.

If you are a nursing mom and experience any signs of infection on your breasts, you should call your own healthcare provider. She will most likely prescribe a topical antifungal cream and, potentially, oral medications, as well. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying the medication. You can continue breastfeeding while you and your baby take your medications

Preventing Thrush

To prevent thrush from occurring or to prevent a recurrence of the infection, be sure that your child maintains proper oral hygiene. For older children, this means daily brushing and flossing. For infants, it means wiping their gums with a soft cloth several times a day. You can also prevent thrush by thoroughly sterilizing all pacifiers and bottle nipples. 

Contact Us for More Pediatric Dentistry Information

Parenthood is a wild ride, and we know it can be a stressful one for parents. That’s why we are always here to answer questions and provide guidance. 

Contact our office online to learn more about thrush or other oral health concerns. You can also call us at 913-685-9990. 

Smiles Dentistry For Kids

14700 Metcalf Ave, Suite 110
Overland Park, KS 66223
(913) 685-9990
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm
8:00am - 4:30pm

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