Thrush is a common fungal infection in babies caused by the Candida fungus. It usually appears as white, velvety patches on the tongue and inner cheeks. It can also appear in other places such as the diaper area, nails, eyes, and skin folds.

Thrush Symptoms in Babies

  • Redness in the mouth
  • Pain in the mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Crying or restlessness
  • Refusal to feed or use a pacifier due to pain
  • Loss of taste

A white tongue alone does not mean that your baby has thrush. Many babies’ tongues turn white after drinking milk. White patches from thrush often cover many surfaces of your child’s mouth and cannot be easily wiped away. When you try to wipe them, the wounds may bleed. In addition, in thrush, the white spot is usually surrounded by red.

What Causes Thrush in Babies?

Medications: While antibiotics fight the germs that make a child sick, they sometimes also affect the “good” bacteria that help keep the body’s balance of microbes in check, giving fungi like Candida, which causes thrush, a chance to overgrow. Additionally, not rinsing the mouth after use of inhaled steroids used for asthma can also cause thrush.

Pregnancy & Birth: Newborns can get Candida infection from their mothers. This can also occur while the baby is still in the womb or during passage through the vagina at birth. At the same time, fungal infection in the nipples of the breastfeeding mother can also cause thrush in the baby.

How to Treat Thrush in Babies?

Thrush in babies does not always require treatment and sometimes goes away on its own after a few days. It’s still helpful to have your pediatrician confirm that the sores in your baby’s mouth are caused by thrush and not another infection. Your pediatrician may prescribe an antifungal medication to treat your child’s infection, and most cases of thrush in babies clear up within two weeks of starting treatment.

Is Thrush in Babies a Serious Condition?

Thrush in babies is not a serious condition, but its symptoms can cause babies to refuse to eat and can lead to dehydration. If thrush recurs frequently, you have difficulty calming your baby down due to pain, your baby refuses to eat, and there is a decrease in the number of wet diapers per day, consult your doctor.

What Should Be Considered to Prevent Thrush in Babies?

  • Thoroughly clean and sterilize anything that goes into your baby’s mouth, such as a pacifier or bottle nipple.
  • To prevent reinfection, ensure that the baby and anyone with thrush living in the same household is treated at the same time.
  • Use antibiotics only if your doctor deems it necessary and as recommended by your doctor.
  • If your child has asthma, make sure they rinse their mouths with water after using inhaled steroids for the treatment.
  • Change your baby’s diaper frequently to help prevent fungal infection in the diaper area.
  • Taking probiotics regularly can help prevent thrush and other types of yeast infections, but check with your doctor before starting any supplements on your baby.


  1. Seattle Children’s. Thrush
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Thrush and other Candida infections.
  3. MedlinePlus. Thrush in newborns
  4. Matsubara VH, Bandara HM, Mayer MP, Samaranayake LP. Probiotics as antifungals in mucosal candidiasisClin Infect Dis. 2016;62(9):1143-53. doi:10.1093/cid/ciw038