Oral thrush occurs when Candida Albicans is present and in most cases it will result in creamy white lesions on the inner cheeks or tongue. Anyone can develop oral thrush but certain groups are at a greater risk including people with compromised immune systems, dentures wearers, inhaled corticosteroids users and babies. In many cases doctors will prescribe adults anti-fungal medications but many natural home remedies can be just as effective.
Home Remedies for Oral Thrush in Adults
If you want to avoid taking medication, there are multiple home remedies that work to reduce the effects of oral thrush for adults. Please note that unless specifically noted, these are all remedies for adults, not babies.
1. Plain Yogurt
Yogurt is another excellent home remedy because of the fact that it contains lactobacillus bacteria, a probiotic and “good” bacteria that not only helps with digestion but also prevents Candida Albicans fungi from growing. Remember to only use yogurt that has live cultures as heat pasteurized yogurt might not have the right quantities of lactobacillus bacteria. You can either eat the yogurt or swish it in your mouth as a paste.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Take half a cup of water and add in a tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This mixture contains vitamins and minerals which can boost the immune system, helping defend it against yeast fungi. You may also try making dietary changes. Ideally you should try to eat more fruits and vegetables and at the same time reduce the amount of foods you eat which are rich in yeast and sugar as this will help prevent the recurrence of thrush.
3. Natural Mouthwash
You can make your own saltwater rinse and use it a few times a day. To make the rinse take a teaspoon (5 grams) of salt and mix it with 8 fluid ounces (240 milliliters) of warm water. One study showed that having a lemon grass drink or using lemon juice can help kill oral thrush if you use it for 11 days. To do this, simply place the lemon juice right in your mouth a few times each day.
4. Essential Oils
Certain essential oils also contain anti-infection elements which can help reduce thrush for adults. These include lavender, clove, oregano and tea tree (malaleuca). One option is to add a drop of oil to your favorite toothpaste before you brush. You should then be sure to brush your tongue and then swish your oil and toothpaste mixture in your mouth before rinsing. You can also make your own mouthwash by taking a few drops of one of the oils and mixing it in a cup of warm water. Gargle the homemade mouthwash two or three times each day.
5. Good Oral Hygiene
To effectively fight thrush you need to have good oral hygiene. This means that you should be sure to always floss one or more times a day and brush two or more times daily. While your infection is still present, you should also be careful to frequently replace your toothbrush. An electric toothbrush is a great option if your hands are not as strong or dexterous as necessary. You should never share a toothbrush when you have thrush and should also avoid using sprays or mouthwash as they will change the normal flora found in your mouth.
6. Clean the Dentures
If you have dentures and thrush, you must always be sure to clean not only your mouth but your dentures as well each night. Always take your dentures out before you go to sleep and use a clean toothbrush to scrub them using water. Then soak your dentures overnight in some chlorhexidine (a substance you can get from any pharmacist) or denture cleaner (from grocery or drug stores). In the morning, rinse your dentures carefully and put them on. Be sure to avoid using fluoride toothpaste for a half hour if you soaked them in chlorhexidine overnight.
7. Medical Suggestions
If you have tried homeopathic approaches and want to try medical suggestions then that is another option. Most of the time thrush treatments will be applied topically (such as 1% gentian violet or nystatin) or be a liquid that is ingested (such as fluconazole). Nystatin should usually be used four times each day for between 5 and 7 days. If you are treating toddlers or infants you can use a Q-tip to apply the solution. Experts also believe that applying the medicine to pacifiers or baby bottle nipples increases the success of the treatment.
Special Tips for Infants and Nursing Mothers
If you have an infant with thrush and are breast-feeding you should both be treated to avoid passing the infection between you two repeatedly.
- Your doctor may give you an antifungal cream to use on your breasts and a mild antifungal medicine for your baby.
- If your baby feeds with a bottle or uses a pacifier you should rinse the pacifier or nipples in a solution of vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) each day then let them air dry.
- When using a breast pump, be sure to rinse any detachable pieces which come in contact with your breast milk using the same water and vinegar solution.
- If you have a fungal infection while breastfeeding use pads to help stop the fungus from going to your clothing. Opt for ones that don’t contain a plastic barrier and if you do not use disposable pads always wash your bras and nursing pads in a mixture of hot water and bleach.