Thrush is an infection caused by a yeast germ called Candida. The mouth is a common site where Candida causes infection. Candidal infection in the mouth is called oral thrush.
Other common sites for thrush to develop are the vagina, nappy area, and nail folds.
Small numbers of Candida organisms commonly live on healthy skin and in a healthy mouth.
They are usually harmless. However, an overgrowth of Candida can occur in the mouth of some babies. This can cause a bout of oral thrush.
This overgrowth may happen because the baby's immune system is still quite immature and so it cannot control the Candida levels.
Another possible cause for oral thrush infection is if your baby has had a recent course of antibiotic medication.
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This is because the antibiotics can kill off healthy germs (bacteria) that live in your baby's mouth. These healthy bacteria normally help to control the levels of Candida in your baby's mouth.
If there are fewer healthy bacteria around, candidal overgrowth can occur. Also, if you are breast-feeding and you have recently been on antibiotics yourself, the levels of your healthy bacteria can be affected. This can make you, or your baby, more likely to develop thrush.
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