Thrush is an infection caused by the overgrowth of a fungus. Oral thrush is common in infants and toddlers because of their immature immune systems. Nursing infants and toddlers are especially at risk, as are their mothers, who can develop thrush on their nipples from breastfeeding. Thrush also may occur in toddlers who have recently taken antibiotics or in those who used inhaled steroids to treat conditions such as asthma. Thrush may clear up on its own, but doctors are likely to prescribe an anti-fungal medicine for infants or toddlers with thrush.
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Lesions with a creamy white appearance are one of the most common signs of oral thrush in toddlers. These patches, which resemble cottage cheese, may appear on the tongue, inner cheeks, gums or the roof of the mouth. The lesions can't be wiped away or scraped off and may bleed a small amount when rubbed or scraped.
The skin in the corners of the mouth may be sore and look dry and cracked in toddlers and babies with thrush.
Thrush in toddlers may be accompanied by pain, but this isn't always the case. Toddlers who are still breastfeeding may find nursing to be painful or uncomfortable and pull off the breast frequently.
If thrush is left untreated, it can become severe and the lesions may spread into the oesophagus. Swallowing may be painful and difficult when this occurs.
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