Thrush - Prevention
Thrush is a
yeast infection that can develop in the mouth and throat and on the tongue.
Thrush is most common in newborns, infants, and older adults, but it can occur
at any age. In healthy newborns and infants, thrush is usually not a serious
problem and is easily treated and cured.
- Practice good oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth twice a
day and flossing once a day. If you have had a
previous thrush infection, replace your toothbrush to help prevent another
infection. If you wear dentures, soak them each night in a chlorhexidine
solution that you can get from your pharmacist. You can also use a
denture cleaner that is sold in most drug or
grocery stores. Scrub your dentures with water both before and after soaking
- If you are taking a liquid antibiotic, rinse
your mouth with water shortly after taking it.
- Get treatment for
conditions that increase your risk for thrush, such as
diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or cancer.
- Use a
spacer when taking inhaled
corticosteroids, and rinse your mouth after inhaling the dose.
To reduce the risk of spreading thrush to infants:
- Treat vaginal yeast infections, especially
during the last 3 months of pregnancy. This will decrease your baby's risk of
getting thrush during delivery.
- Wash bottle nipples and pacifiers daily. And keep
all prepared bottles and nipples in the refrigerator to decrease the likelihood
of yeast growth.
- Do not reuse a bottle more than an hour after the
baby has drunk from it, because yeast may have had time to grow on the nipple.
- Wash or boil all objects that the baby puts in his or her
mouth, or run them through the dishwasher.
- Change your baby's
diaper soon after it is wet. A wet diaper area provides a good environment for
the yeast that causes thrush to grow.
- Breast-feed your baby if
possible. Breast milk contains
antibodies that will help build your baby's natural
defense system (immune system) so he or she can resist
- Contact your doctor if you are breast-feeding and your
nipples become red and sore or you have breast pain during or after nursing
your baby. This may be a sign of a thrush infection in your baby that has
spread to your nipples.
If your baby is taking antibiotic medicine for a different
infection, such as an ear infection, rinse his or her mouth out with water
after each dose. Antibiotic medicines can disrupt the balance of bacteria in
the mouth and allow growth of the yeast that causes thrush. Rinsing the mouth
with water after taking an antibiotic can prevent disrupting the normal
environment in the mouth.
If your baby needs medicine to treat
thrush, don't put the medicine dropper in the baby's mouth. Drop the medicine
on a cotton swab and swab it on the affected area. Throw away the swab, and
don't put anything back into the medicine bottle that could be contaminated
with the yeast.