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Kids Health: Home Remedies For Thrush

Updated on June 2, 2012
Thrush | Source

Kids Health: Home Remedies For Thrush

Ugh! As hard as we try – sometimes it is inevitable. Our precious bundle of joy has thrush. Now what? Well, while I always recommend a trip to the pediatrician for any suspected ailment your infant may be suffering, there is nothing wrong with having a natural remedy all lined up to run by the doc. But are there safe home remedies for thrush? And do they work?

Natural Remedies For Thrush

#1 Leave it Be

In infants, thrush often resolves itself in a couple of weeks. Mothers who breastfeed, however, may find this one a little difficult as thrush often infects the nipples, making them painfully sore. This can also create a cycle of re-infection, as resolving thrush reoccurs from infected nipples and vise versa.

Why does it work? Well, thrush is a yeast infection and, in healthy individuals, it will run its course if left alone. In infants this should take no more than two weeks. Be aware, however, that thrush can be irritating or even painful for babies, particularly while feeding.

#2 Acidophilus/Bifidus

Acidophilus and Bifidus are friendly bacterium that live in our intestines. Yeast also lives in our intestines. Acidophilus and Bifidus generally keep yeast in check. Introducing these bacteria flora into an environment overgrown with yeast should, therefore ,help to correct the overgrowth. Acidophilus or Bifidus capsules can be broken open and the powder then rubbed onto the pockets of thrush in your infant’s mouth. Other methods of application include creating a paste by using water or breastmilk and rubbing this once a day in the baby’s mouth. You can also put 1 teaspoon of the powder in baby's milk if bottle feeding. For children less than a year, Bifidus is recommended over Acidophalis, as it easier on an infant’s sensitive digestive system.


#3 Baking Soda

A solution of eight ounces of water to one-teaspoon baking soda can also be helpful. Use a cotton swab to wipe the inside of baby’s mouth, including cheeks, gums, and tongue. This should be done after each feeding and a fresh swab should be used with each application. Also, prepare a new mixture daily and nursing mothers should swab their nipples.

Why does it work? This Home remedy for thrush makes use of baking soda which quickly kills the bacteria that causes oral thrush. Baking sodas works by changing the acidity of the baby’s mouth, making it less appealing for yeast to grow there.

#4 Vinegar

One-tablespoon vinegar in a cup of water is a good home remedy for thrush, particularly, for the nipples of breastfeeding mothers. Use a cotton swab to apply the solution to the baby’s mouth following each feeding. Be careful though because, in cases of severe thrush, vinegar can sting the inside of baby’s mouth.

Why does it work? Just like baking soda, vinegar works by changing the acidity of baby's mouth so that thrush just can't survive there.


Thrush Prevention

Prevention of thrush is essential, particularly in cases where an outbreak has already occurred. Nursing mothers should air dry their nipples following feedings and use a mixture of vinegar and water on all breast pump parts to prevent yeast from growing. It has been suggested that giving a baby sterilized water immediately following a milk feeding will rinse leftover milk and reduce the population of yeast.

Some other helpful tips for controling the overgrowth of yeast are:

  • Hot water over 122º F will kill yeast. This is TOO HOT for infants but can be just right for the laundry, dishwasher, or sink. Washing bras, breastpads, bottles, and bottle nipples at this degree or above will help get rid of hidden yeast.
  • Undergarments (excluding those with underwires or other metal parts, of course) can also be microwaved on high for 5 minutes to kill yeast.
  • Hanging clothing outside to dry can be a help as sunlight kills yeast as well.
  • Breastmilk pumped during a yeast infection should be discarded.
  • Pacifiers, teethers, bottle nipples, bottles, etc. can be washed in a solution of water and 10% bleach. Remember to thoroughly rinse and don’t forget the rubber gloves when washing these by hand.
  • Adding white vinegar to the washing machine can also help kill yeast hidden on undergarments and clothing.

Home Remedies For Thrush You Should Avoid

There are many, many home remedies out there. Many of these I intentionally chose not to include in this article. Why? Well, everything that works isn’t safe. Some of these remedies, such as various essential oils, can be highly irritating. Using these in a diluted form decreases the likelihood of problems but when it comes to a baby’s delicate mouth and skin… why take the chance? Other remedies you may find elsewhere on the web can cause problems much bigger than the thrush itself. Some have even been linked to cancer. Please do your research before trying any home remedy and as always consult with your doctor regarding all symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.


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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      thrush is it called geographical tongue too? My son has it and had to use the oral paste to cure it

    • LQWILLIams profile image

      LQWILLIams 4 years ago

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Livingtwentyfirst. I am glad you found the information useful.

    • Livingtwentyfirst profile image

      Betty Tobiko 4 years ago from Mombasa.

      Thanks.This one has been so useful

    • iheartkafka profile image

      iheartkafka 5 years ago

      A very useful hub. Unfortunately both of my twins had reoccuring bouts of thrush when they were infants and it was terrible. We were told to use gentian violet which was such a mess! Which I would have known about some of these other treatments!