Oral yeast infection is a fungal infection of the mouth that can affect babies, children, and adults. It can be mild and often improves if you keep your mouth clean with pain relievers. Some people may find it helpful to drink beverages, eat yogurt with active cultures, or use foods like probiotic tablets.
Yeast infection can be treated with prescription antifungal mouthwashes or lozenges if it does not go away on its own.
If these treatments fail, healthcare providers may prescribe other antifungal medications.
Home remedies and lifestyle
Oral yeast infection in babies often goes away without treatment after a week or two, so you or your child may not need treatment.
Cold foods and drinks can relieve the burning and itching sensation of yeast infection. Popsicles, ice cream, cold soups, smoothies, and drinks with crushed ice can temporarily relieve discomfort.
You can also gargle with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water) to relieve it. Make sure children spit out the rinse aid when they are done.
Keeping your mouth clean is an important part of treatment. Rinse your mouth with water after meals and after taking medications (unless the medications are intended to cover your mouth with yeast). Use a soft toothbrush and brush your teeth, gums, and tongue twice a day. Keep dentures clean and disinfected daily. Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes, as they can increase the burning sensation.
Yogurt with active cultures contains lactobacilli (probiotic bacteria), which can displace yeast in the mouth. Consult with your pediatrician to discuss whether you can give it to your baby.
Over-the-counter probiotic pills and active culture drinks with acidophilus and lactobacilli can help restore beneficial bacteria in the mouth and digestive tract. They may be appropriate for mild cases of canker sores that develop after taking antibiotics. As an added benefit, they help restore bacteria in the gut, which is often needed after antibiotic treatment.
When determining how to treat your child's yeast or thrush, your healthcare provider will take into account the age, health status, severity of the infection, and the likelihood that the infection will spread quickly.
If your case is mild to moderate, the usual treatments are antifungal pills, mouthwash, or liquid. For more severe cases, oral or intravenous antifungal medications are usually prescribed.
The most common medications for yeast infection are:
- Mycelex (clotrimazole): This is a topical medication that is given in pill form. The medicine is given as the lozenge dissolves slowly in the mouth over 20 to 30 minutes. It is usually taken five times a day. Not recommended for children under 3 years of age.
- Miconazole : Miconazole gel (applied to affected areas) can be used for babies over 4 months, while nystatin is preferred for babies. It is used up to four times a day and continues until the symptoms of the infection are gone after two days. Oravig, a miconazole tablet, is available for people over the age of 16. It is applied in the morning to the gums above the canine and dissolves slowly throughout the day.
- Mycostatin (nystatin) : This drug is also usually given as a pill or liquid mouthwash. For newborns and babies, apply with a cotton swab or your finger. It is given up to four times a day for all age groups. To combat yeast, direct contact with the drug is necessary. When taking liquid nystatin, you should skip and swallow the medicine. For babies, you can use sterile gauze to rub the medicine on the white spots with active yeast. Some people report that nystatin tastes bitter or sour, but your pharmacist can add flavor to make it taste better. The mint flavor is a popular recommendation that works well to mask bitterness.
- Diflucan (fluconazole) – Usually used as second-line therapy when nystatin is ineffective. For people undergoing chemotherapy, it is most often given as a pill, which is taken once a day. Common side effects of Diflucan include headaches, nausea, and dizziness, but they are generally very mild. In some cases, Diflucan may be prescribed to prevent yeast infection during cancer treatment. A generic option, fluconazole, is also available.
If these prescription medications are not effective or there is a risk of a systemic fungal infection, your healthcare provider may use a new class of antifungal medications, the echinocandins. These include itraconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole, and amphotericin B, which are administered intravenously.
To relieve symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a mouthwash, which is a combination of several medications. It is often called magic mouthwash and is often prescribed for yeast infection that develops during chemotherapy . There are several different formulas and the doctor can determine at his discretion which medications to include and the appropriate dosage. Do not try to mix medications at home, leave this job to the pharmacist.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, a mild case of thrush can sometimes go away on its own. However, it is often important to see a doctor. If your child has thrush , always see a pediatrician, as thrush can be passed from the baby to the mother. Adults should see a doctor if yeast infection recurs or worsens, or if symptoms (such as cracked nipples during breastfeeding) affect quality of life.
Brushing your mouth twice a day can help relieve yeast symptoms. Mouthwash Can Help Too – Several common foods , such as lemon juice, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar, have been shown to help cure oral thrush when used as a mouthwash. Severe cases may require prescription drugs.
If the classic signs and symptoms of Candida , such as a white coating inside the mouth, pain when eating, and loss of taste, go away, the yeast infection is probably gone. Your healthcare provider can test this by doing a mouth or throat exam or culture.
After treatment, symptoms should start to improve within a few days. Then the yeast infection in the mouth usually clears up within a week or two, depending on the medications used and the severity of the infection.
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