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Thrush - Definition of Thrush


Updated April 13, 2009

Thrush - Definition of Thrush
Photo © A.D.A.M.
Definition: Thrush is a treatable fungal infection caused by Candida (yeast). It often appears in babies in the areas of the mouth that may have torn tissue, caused by the constant sucking on a pacifier, bottle, or during breastfeeding. The tiny tears remain moist and, if not removed manually, the yeast may cause the painful condition.

Also known as Candidiasis, thrush is also common in people with weakened immune systems from HIV/AIDS or cancer treatments. People with diabetes may be susceptible to thrush as well. Alternatively, the use of antibiotics and steroids may cause an overproduction of naturally occurring yeast in the mouth, resulting in this condition.

Signs of thrush include:

  • White patches that appear to coat the tongue, inside tissue of the cheek, and gums

  • Irregular-shaped patches that are not able to be wiped away, sticking to the tissue

  • Pain when feeding or using a pacifier for infants and children

If left untreated, a nursing mother may develop thrush on her breast, although is not typically considered contagious.

Thrush is treated with anti-fungal treatments prescribed by a doctor or dentist.

Also Known As:

Oral Yeast Infection


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