My Baby’s White Tongue: What’s Causing It?

tongue fungus baby

One of the most terrifying things in the world is the vulnerability of a baby. And, of course, you’ll do everything you can to keep this little human safe from anything that could cause concern.

You lay them down softly, support their head, lightly clothe them, and inspect every inch of their body for any strange signals. Then you notice something: your baby’s tongue, instead of being flawlessly pink, appears to have a white coating on it.

This type of covering might come out of nowhere. The good news is that a white tongue in newborns isn’t uncommon. It’s usually caused by a yeast overgrowth (which is easily treated) or something as basic as milk residue.

It’s possible that it’s a thrush.

What is the white stuff on baby’s tongue?

Thrush is a yeast infection caused by an excess of Candida, the same fungus that causes vaginal yeast infections and diaper rashes.

Oral thrush, on the other hand, develops in the areas of the mouth that are used for sucking. Lips, tongue, and inner cheeks are all part of your baby’s mouth.

And, while we understand that you put your kid first and yourself second, you should be aware that thrush can spread to the object of your baby’s sucking: your nipples if you’re breastfeeding. On the other hand, yeast on your nipples (which you may not even be aware of) might cause thrush in your baby’s mouth.

Thrush’s telltale indications and symptoms

Thrush isn’t the only reason of a white tongue. So here’s a decent rule of thumb: If you can wipe or brush away a white coating, it’s not thrush. Yeast is clinging to life.

Also, if your infant has thrush, the white is unlikely to show exclusively on their mouth. When you open their lips, you’ll notice a cottage-cheese covering on other parts of their body, such as the insides of their cheeks.

Don’t be alarmed if you encounter these signs. Even if it’s mild and doesn’t appear to be causing any difficulties, thrush should not be overlooked. There’s always the possibility that the infection could worsen, and if it does, your baby may experience pain or discomfort, making it difficult for them to feed or latch onto your breast – and no one is pleased if baby isn’t happy.

Thrush can be caused by a variety of factors.

You might be wondering why so many newborns acquire oral thrush when adults seldom get it. The reason is straightforward: a baby’s immature immune system isn’t always capable of fighting off viruses and illnesses. It’s also more simpler for yeast to grow on particular sections of their young bodies due to their weakened immune system.

However, a weakened immune system isn’t the only factor to consider. If your infant is given an antibiotic to treat another illness, such as one of those annoying ear infections, the medication may kill healthy bacteria while also increasing yeast development.

Thrush treatment

When you learn that your kid has an illness of any kind, you may experience a wide range of emotions. However, there’s no need to be concerned about this one; thrush is quite prevalent and readily cured.

A liquid antifungal will most likely be prescribed by your baby’s doctor, which you will administer directly to the white areas. You’ll want the medicine to stay on their tongue or inside their mouth for as long as possible for it to work. So, at least 30 minutes before feedings, give your infant treatments.

You should anticipate the illness to clear up in a few days after the treatment is in their system.

If you’re breastfeeding, there are a few more factors to consider.

To be clear, thrush may affect both bottle-fed and breastfed babies. However, if you breastfeed, be aware that you and your infant may transfer yeast to one another.

Nipple thrush is a less well-known issue, although it does occur. Among the warning signs are:

  • Following pain-free breastfeeding, uncomfortable, painful nipples
  • nipples that are cracked, itching, or blistering
  • Following feedings, achy breasts

It isn’t enough to treat your infant if you also have thrush. Medicine will, without a doubt, cure their infection. However, if you don’t treat your own illness, thrush will continue to spread. There are many things you and your infant will share throughout your lives; this should not be one of them.

After each feeding, apply a topical antifungal treatment on and around your nipples — available over the market in the form of yeast infection creams and others — to destroy the fungus.

It’s conceivable that a very obstinate illness will necessitate the use of a prescription antifungal. Because yeast thrives in warm, damp environments, air dry your breasts as much as possible before re-wearing your bra.

Before nursing, make sure any residual cream residue is washed away. In a few days, your symptoms will also go.

It might be a case of milk residue.

It’s very natural to be concerned about your child. And, to be honest, you should never listen to someone who tells you that your concerns are silly. If you notice a white coating on your baby’s tongue, you might assume it’s thrush and call the pediatrician – which is perfectly OK.

However, it’s possible that what you think is yeast is actually milk residue.

Because they have similar looks, distinguishing between the two can be difficult. Using a warm, wet cloth to wipe away the residue is one of the easiest methods to determine the difference.

You’re dealing with milk residue, not thrush, if the residue falls off or gets less visible. Keep in mind that milk residue forms exclusively on the tongue and is more evident after feedings.

What is the source of this milk buildup? Simply simply, there isn’t enough saliva.

The mouth of a baby differs from that of an adult in that newborns do not generate much saliva during the first few months after birth. (At least till they’re around 4 months old.) Then it’s time for a month of droolville vacation.) The less saliva they have, the more difficult it is for them to wash the milk out of their mouths.

If your infant has tongue tie, a disease that limits their ability to move their tongue, milk residue may be more common. Your baby’s tongue may be unable to make contact with the roof of their mouth, resulting in an accumulation of milk residue.

If your infant has a high palate, their tongue will be unable to reach the roof of their mouth.

Regardless of the origin, milk residue isn’t permanent and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. When your baby’s mouth generates more saliva or when they begin to consume solid meals, a white tongue will disappear.

In the meanwhile, you can wipe away the residue with a soft, wet cloth after each feeding, but this isn’t always required.

When should you consult a doctor if you have a white tongue?

Thrush is common in newborns, but it doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you let thrush go untreated, it can cause pain and discomfort, and you’ll have an unhappy infant on your hands.

If your child gets any creamy, white sores in their mouth, see a doctor very once, especially if the whiteness won’t come off with a moist towel. It’s most likely thrush, but if a doctor suspects something else, testing can be ordered.

If your nipples or breasts become painful as a result of your baby’s thrush, visit your own doctor. It’s critical that you get treatment at the same time to prevent the illness from spreading.

How can you avoid having a white tongue?

How do you get rid of fungus on a baby’s tongue?

After each feeding, gently wipe or brush your baby’s mouth to prevent a white tongue produced by milk.

When it comes to thrush, the greatest defense is to sanitize all feeding equipment. Bottles, nipples, and your breast pump all fall under this category. You may go even farther and sanitize pacifiers and any other objects your child puts in his or her mouth.

If you have thrush on your nipples, change your breast pads often and wash your nursing bras in hot water to avoid repeated infections.

If you have thrush and express or freeze your breast milk, try feeding it to your baby while you are both being treated. If you feed this milk to your infant after the infection has cleared, there’s a possibility the thrush could come back.

The takeaway

If you notice a white coating on your baby’s tongue, don’t worry; it’s not a sign that you’re doing something wrong. It might be thrush or anything as simple as leftover milk.

These yeast infections are fairly curable if you have thrush, so consult your physician. Before you know it, your precious baby will be poking their lovely pink tongue out at you!

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