Thrush is a common infection of the mouth, affecting mostly infants and small children. It is caused by yeast and appears as white plaquing of the lips, tongue and/or sides of the mouth. Infants and toddlers frequently get the infection by mouthing on contaminated objects such as bottle nipples and pacifiers. Breast fed children can also be infected if the mother’s nipples harbor the yeast organism. Adults who wear dentures, have diabetes, take long term steroid therapy or other medications which suppress the immune system and/or have conditions like AIDS or cancer also have a higher risk of thrush.
Treatment typically involves an oral preparation for 7 to 14 days of an anti-yeast medication such as nystatin, and contaminated objects should be washed in hot water or steamed. Maternal nipples should also be treated with topical application of the medication, usually for the same duration. Adults who have the above predisposing risk factors may need to be treated with the same or different medication, and often for longer periods of time. Diabetics have less risk and are treated more quickly if their diabetes is under excellent control…..Richard R Samuel, MD Family Practice and Urgent Care Hayden, ID USA