If your baby is unsettled and not eating well, they may have oral thrush. The infection is common, affecting 1 in 20 babies, particularly in the first few months of their life. But don't worry; oral thrush is easily treated by your dentist.

What is oral thrush?

Everyone has candida bacteria in their mouths, including your new born. This bacteria is a form of yeast and if too much develops in the mouth—which is likely to happen in someone with a weak immune system such as your baby—then it can develop into a full infection known as thrush.

A course of antibiotics can also cause thrush infections, so if your baby has recently been on antibiotics, stay alert for the signs of thrush.

Signs of oral thrush in your baby

The most common sign of oral thrush in your baby are milky white patches similar to cottage cheese in their mouth, on the inside of their cheeks, on their gums or tongue. Thrush will not wipe away as easily as leftover milk. When you do wipe away these patches, you may find red and sore areas underneath.

Other signs that your baby has oral thrush include:

  • Not wanting to feed, because the mouth is too sore.
  • Producing clicking sounds when feeding.
  • Nappy rash, a sore area with red marks around your baby's crotch, caused by the infection travelling from the mouth through the digestive system.
  • Poor weight gain.
  • Dribbling saliva more than usual.

Thrush can be spread between baby and mother via the breast, so you may also want to check yourself for signs of thrush. These include:

  • Red nipples with white patches.
  • Nipples that have a burning sensation or become itchy.
  • Your nipples becoming sore after feeding your baby, despite the feeding not being painful.


Thrush is not harmful to your baby, but as the infection can cause your child to stop feeding they can become dehydrated and lose weight which can be dangerous. If you suspect your baby has thrush, take to them your dentist or doctor through resources like Aaron Pivotal Point Dental.

Even if you don't show any symptoms of thrush, you and your baby should both be together to reduce the risk of the infection spreading. Your dentist or doctor may prescribe you anti-fungal medication which is applied to the affected areas.

While you're being treated:

  • Continue to breastfeed but throw away any milk from before treatment started to avoid re-infecting your baby.
  • Sterilise your baby's toys and bottles using boiling water and wash their clothes on a hot wash to dispose of any lingering infection.
  • Keep your nipples clean and dry

While thrush isn't harmful in itself, it can be painful and cause harm if your baby stops feeding. If you suspect thrush or have any concerns about your child's mouth, speak to your dentist.