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Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a very common infection in infants that causes irritation in and around a baby's mouth. It's caused by the overgrowth of yeast, a type of fungus called, Candida albicans. Since Candida is found in everyone it's when it becomes overgrown that can lead to vaginal yeast infections, diaper rash and of course oral thrush.

Thrush causes white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is most common in babies and older adults, but can occur at any age. In babies, Candida causes thrush because babies' immune systems are not yet strong enough to control the growth of yeast. Older people can get thrush because their immune systems can weaken with age.

What are the symptoms?
  • White patches that look like cottage cheese or milk curds. If it wipes away easily then it's milk or formula
  • A sore mouth and tongue/or difficulty swallowing. If your baby is fussy and has a white tongue and/or mouth then it's probably thrush
  • Poor appetite. If your baby refuses to eat or is unable to eat because of a sore mouth or throat and he acts fussy then it's a sign of thrush
  • A diaper rash may develop because the yeast that causes thrush also will be in your baby's stool

How do I get rid of it?

The longer you wait, the harder it is to cure~

Try these natural remedies first


  • Dissolve a level teaspoon of baking soda in 8 oz of water. Use a fresh cotton swab to wipe the insides of your baby's cheeks, gums, and tongue after every nursing or bottle feeding - bathe your nipples in the solution after every nursing too. Make a fresh solution every day.
  • Large quantities of vitamin C (1 gram every 2 hours for a week or longer if immune system is very weak) is said to discourage the growth of yeast.
  • Caprylic acid,taken according to directions.
  • Grapefruit seed extract is supposed to be good for stubborn cases.
  • Black Walnut (tincture), apply inside baby's mouth and on mom's nipples (if nursing) 2-3 times a day. In stubborn cases mom can also take the tincture internally, 10 to 15 drops 2-3 times a day. Be careful near clothing because it stains
  • Pau d'Arco tea 2-3 cups daily. Pau d'Arco is a South American tree that resists fungus growth.
  • If these natural remedies don't work then call your baby's pediatrician for a prescription medication

If you are a breast feeding mom and your nipples are sore from the thrush follow these tips:

  • Gentian Violet solution, 1% swab on nipples and inside babies mouth once daily for up to four days, you should feel an improvement by the 3rd day, if not stop. May be used up to seven days if needed but not longer. This solution will stain clothes so be careful and wear old clothes or nothing at all around your nipples.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Lactobacillus bifidus supplements (look for them in the coolers, most need to be refrigerated to maintain potency). Infants and toddlers should be given bifidus rather than acidophilus, there are many bifidus supplements made just for kids. Lactobacillus is a "friendly" bacteria that keeps yeast growth in check.
  • Garlic, garlic, garlic! Use fresh garlic in your cooking or take a garlic (odorless) supplement
  • Rinse nipples with an organic, raw apple cider vinegar solution made from 1 tablespoon vinegar in 8 oz of water. DON'T USE IF SEVERE BECAUSE IT WILL STING
  • Lansinoh is great! It heals & protects sore, cracked nipples (use a small amount it goes a long way) Also great to use while pregnant about 2-3 weeks before delivery to prevent sore, cracked nipples.

To prevent thrush from spreading follow these tips

  • Exposure to fresh air and sunlight is one of nature's best cures. Go bra-less as often as possible.
  • Keep your baby's bottom dry; let baby go diaper less as much as possible, change diapers promptly.
  • Breast shells & nipple shields may contribute to yeast overgrowth - stop using them or, if you must use them, make sure to boil them 20 minutes every day to kill the yeast.
  • Use excellent hygiene. Wash you hands after you change baby's diapers, touch your nipples, or touch the baby's mouth. This will prevent the thrush from spreading.
  • Use towels, bras and breast pads only once, wash in HOT water, and use 1/4 cup vinegar in the rinse water (for all your laundry) to help kill yeast - weather permitting hang them in the sun to dry (the sunlight kills yeast); same thing for non-disposable diapers.
  • Avoid dairy (except yogurt), sugar and yeast containing foods and supplements. Stay away from highly processed foods, baked goods, heavy starches, wheat, sugars, honey, fruit and fruit juices.
  • Eat organic grown, fresh vegetables, beans and whole grains while you are treating the infection.
  • Drink plenty of distilled water to keep up your milk supply. A good guide is 1/2 oz/lb of body weight, more if you are very active. Example if you weigh 200 pounds drink 100 oz of water daily and again, more if you are active (exercise)