The Truth About Your Tooth

Babies and Oral Thrush - How a Dentist Can Help

Infants, just like older children, may need to see a children's dentist for oral health issues. Some of these issues may be ones that are completely new to you, like the development of oral thrush. Find out about thrush, why it happens, and how your child's dentist will help to resolve the problem. 

What Is Thrush in Children?

There are a few signs that you may see if thrush is developing in your son or daughter's mouth. You will see some rough patches on the cheeks, tongue, and sometimes in the back of the throat. These areas will appear white in color and may seem as though they are covered by a buildup of some kind. The lips might look irritated or cracked along the corners. And many infants will actually have a diaper rash at the same time that the buildup appears in the mouth.

This issue develops when fungal growths develop in the digestive tract. The entire tract may contain much more candida than normal, and this causes the white patches to form. Oftentimes, the thrush is the result of an immature immune system and the natural development of flora in the digestive tract.

Sometimes, the issue may occur due to your child taking a course of antibiotics for an unrelated issue. This is especially true if your child is taking the medicine for the first time.

How Will a Dentist Help With the Problem?

If you notice thrush, then it is wise to speak with a dentist as soon as possible. Make an appointment so the professional can visually inspect the mouth. He or she may take a small swab of the fungal growth for viewing under a microscope. Or, the dentist will send the sample to a laboratory for evaluation. 

At this time, the dentist will look to see if the gums are infected. Gum disease may be a concern, and the dental professional will suggest a soothing rinse to minimize discomfort and to help reduce inflammation. Also, an antifungal medication can be painted onto the white patches to help kill off the fungus to allow the mouth to heal. You may need to use the same sort of medication at home, which your dentist will provide to you. Oral antifungal medications may be an option too.

You will also be provided with some education on sanitizing any and all items, like pacifiers, bottle nipples, and teething rings to prevent a recurrence of the fungal problem.