Here’s How to Get Rid of Oral Thrush

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Oral thrush is by no means anything pleasant to look at. It looks like it would cause the tongue and the mouth intense pain. It is called Oral thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a type of yeast infection (white film on the tongue) that develops inside your mouth and on your tongue. It is a bacterial infection and in some cases it can leave deep lesions that look like holes in the tongue. It also can take out the outer edges of the tongue which makes it look like the tongue is missing parts.

It is noted that the tongue maintains a miniscule amount of Candida albicans fungus on the tongue. Oral thrush develops when the immune system cannot maintain it’s natural defense against the fungus. The fungus then grows out of control and oral thrush will develop. It will also result in creamy-white elevated lesions on the surface of the tongue. If the condition is not treated immediately it will spread to the to the roof of your mouth, gums, tonsils or the back of your throat. Other signs and symptoms in your mouth include redness, soreness, a cottony feeling, difficulty swallowing and loss of taste. It is a common condition in infants and the elderly can develop it too. HIV/AIDS are diseases that ravage and destroy the immune system this puts the person at a greater risk to develop oral thrush.

Here’s how to get rid of it:

Salt

Salt creates an unfriendly environment for the host bacteria and it is the best cure for oral thrush. Salt will relieve the symptoms quickly. Perhaps quicker than any other treatment.

Instructions:

  • Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Use it to gargle thoroughly, then spit it out. Repeat a few times daily until you are satisfied with the results.
  • You can also sprinkle some salt on your tongue and the inside of your mouth, then rub it gently with your fingers for a few seconds. Rinse it out thoroughly with warm water. Use this remedy twice daily for a few days.

Yogurt

Probiotic yogurt contains live or active cultures of the lactobacilli that can help treat thrush. It may also help your indigestion. If you want to treat a yeast infection, only use plain, unsweetened yogurt.

Instructions:

  • Eat 2 to 3 cups of yogurt daily for a few weeks.
  • Also, rub some yogurt on your tongue and inside your mouth with your finger. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water. Do this once or twice a day for a few days.

Coconut Oil

coconut oil pulling can help prevent oral thrush

Coconut oil is a good remedy to fight an oral infection; It helps to eliminate yeast and the discomforts related to oral thrush. Coconut oil is a very versatile oil that provides many health benefits. Furthermore, in a 2007 study published in the “Journal of Medicinal Food”, it was found that coconut oil active against various forms of Candida.

Instructions:

  • Directly apply extra-virgin coconut oil on the inner mouth area and tongue using a cotton swab. Do this a few times a day for a week.
  • Every morning, do oil pulling with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil on an empty stomach. Swish the oil around your mouth for 10 minutes, then spit it out. Rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as usual. Do this daily to maintain good oral health.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains enzymes that control candida infection. Additionally, it restores the pH to fight the overgrowth of the infection-growing yeast. A 2014 study published in the “Journal of Prosthodontics” concluded that apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal properties that will fight candida albicans.

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Use this solution to rinse your mouth several times a day until you notice improvement.
  • Also, add 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a little raw honey to a cup of warm water and drink it twice daily.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil may work effectively against oral thrush it could be an awesome treatment for this condition. It has potent antifungal properties help control the growth of yeast against the candida species. A  2004 study published in the “ the journal Antimicrobial Chemotherapy”, researchers found that tea tree oil has antifungal properties and other components that were highly effective in fighting candida albicans. (Normally kept in check by the body’s own helpful bacteria, C. albicans can increase in numbers when this balance is disturbed to cause candidiasis of the intestinal tract, or yeast infections of other parts of the body. C. albicans causes thrush. Also called Monilia .)

Instructions:   

  1. Add 4 or 5 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of warm water.
  2. Use this solution to gargle for a couple of minutes.
  3. Use this remedy twice daily until the infection has improved.

Note: Remember not to ingest tea tree oil as it can cause side effects.

Baking Soda

baking soda is an effective but cost-effective way to kill oral thrush

Infamous Baking Soda

It is said that baking soda is an effective but cost-effective way to kill oral thrush. It may kill the bacteria that causes the infection. It is probably a very sour tasting treatment to consume.

According to a 2009 study published in the “ the Brazilian Oral Research” journal it was concluded that 5 percent baking soda (sodium bicarbonate-a soluble white powder used in fire extinguishers and effervescent drinks and as a leavening agent in baking.) is effective against candida albicans.  

Instructions:

  • Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Use a cotton ball to apply this paste on the tongue and inner cheek area. Wait for a few minutes, then rinse your mouth with warm water. Follow this remedy 2 or 3 times a day for a few days.
  • Also, dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Use this solution to rinse your mouth twice daily until you get rid of the problem.

Sweet Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another effective home remedy treatment that will kill this oral yeast infection. Its powerful antiparasitic and antifungal properties can control the growth of candida albicans. Candida albicans are the root cause of oral thrush. A 2012 published in “ Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine” it was found that the curative effects and antifungal activities of cinnamon oil have a positive impact against candida albicans.

Instructions:   

  • Drink 1 to 2 cups of cinnamon tea daily. To make the tea, boil ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder or a small piece of cinnamon stick in 1½ cups of water for 5 minutes. Strain and drink it. You can also add a little lemon juice in it.
  • Dilute a few drops of cinnamon oil in 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil or any carrier. Apply this oil on the white patches caused by oral thrush. Leave it on 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse it off. Do this once daily for a few days.

Note: Pregnant women should avoid cinnamon.

Grand Garlic

Garlic is a smelly but effective home remedy treatment to reduce/ cure the oral thrush infection. The onion’s antifungal properties kill the yeast in the mouth and may even give the immune system a boost. A 2005 study published in the “Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy journal” found that fresh garlic has promising antifungal properties that may kill candida albicans.

Instructions:

  • Chew 2 or 3 raw garlic cloves on a regular basis to fight the infection. Alternatively, take garlic capsules or tablets, after consulting your doctor.
  • Also, apply garlic oil on the affected area a few times daily.

Oregano Oil

Oregano may be another effective remedy for inhibiting the growth of the oral thrush infection. A 2001 study published in the “Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry” found that oregano oil has antifungal properties are effective in the fight against the candida albican infection.

Instructions:   

The oil also boosts your immune system.

  • Mix 2 or 3 drops of oregano oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Apply it on your tongue and inside your mouth. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse it out with warm water. Repeat twice daily until you see improvement.
  • Also, add 3 drops of oregano oil to a glass of water. Drink it twice daily for a few days to a week. Another option is to take oregano oil capsules, after consulting your doctor.

Oh Olive Leaf

Olive leaf may help destroy the microorganisms

Olive leaf may help destroy the microorganisms that cause oral thrush because of its powerful antifungal properties. Plus, it contains an active ingredient called oleuropein that helps to boost the immunity. No studies published on the effectiveness of olive leaf to stop oral thrush.

Instructions:

  • Take olive leaf extract (250 to 500 mg) 3 times daily. Consult your doctor for the proper dosage suitable for your condition.
  • Drink a few cups of olive leaf tea daily. To make the tea, steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive leaf in a cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain it.

More Tips

  • Practice very good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Don’t ever share your toothbrush with anyone not even family members.
  • Clean the tongue with a soft piece of cotton or tongue dispenser on a daily basis
  • Replace your toothbrush frequently to prevent oral thrush
  • If you are a denture user soak them overnight in denture cleaner and water;You can buy denture cleaner in any store or pharmacy. Clean your dentures with water and a toothbrush daily
  • If you are diabetic you should check your blood sugar levels regularly this will help prevent infections.
  • Limit your intake of sugary foods this will limit the growth of yeast    
  • If you smoke stop smoking this will increase the severity of the oral thrush symptoms
  • Sip cool water or ice cubes to reduce the discomfort. The discomfort can be severe
  • Eat foods that are easy to swallow such as gelatin, ice cream, or custard
  • Visit the dentist on a regular basis. Especially if you have diabetes or wear dentures.

Root Causes of Oral Thrush

Medications

Be careful of what type of medications you consume. Certain medications, such as birth control pills, corticosteroids and antibiotics, disrupt the balance of microorganisms in the mouth. If this happens it will be a sure bet that the oral thrush infection will develop. Watch out when you take birth control pills because they can adversely affect the body leading to the candida infection. Some women find that birth control pills activate yeast infections leading to the candida infection to take root. A study involving 153 subjects uncovered that oral contraceptives may influence the recurrence of candidiasis. According to the study patients with recurrent candida overgrowth were more likely than the control group to have used birth control pills regularly in the year before evaluation, to have used antibiotics in the last month and most likely had higher number of lifetime sex partners, which increases the risk of candida vaginitis. People who have asthma are more likely to use Corticosteroid inhalants which increases the risk of developing candida in the mouth.

In the last decade, solid evidence has shown with the increased use of antibiotics and the reduced use of healthy probiotics that immune deficiency is increasing.Antibiotics are said to destroy both good and bad bacteria in the body, allowing candida to increase at an alarming rate.

Cancer Treatments             

This is a sensitive issue with people who have cancer. The disease and the treatments to cure the cancer including radiation and chemotherapy will weaken the immune system. This increases the risk of the candida infection developing in cancer patients. A 2005 study supports this hypothesis, it was found that invasive candidiasis is a regular and harmful complication of cancer and cancer treatments. In the study 33 percent or 74 of 224 of the subjects being treated for cancer were found to have active candida pathogens and they were diagnosed with invasive candidiasis. This complication does not help their already weakened immune system which has the burden to fight cancer and the invasive candida.

Diabetes Again   

People with untreated and uncontrolled diabetes will have excessive amounts of sugar in their saliva. This only invites the growth of candida. This is another reason why people with diabetes need to have the diabetes treated and brought under control. The candida could be a harmful side effect to the diabetes. Candida is a type of yeast and naturally sugar feed yeast. This leads to the conclusion that people with diabetes are at greater risk to develop oral thrush. According to a study published in the “Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism”, diabetic patients are more susceptible to infections (oral thrush) because the hyperglycemic environment will cause a weakened immune system.   

More Treatments for Oral Thrush  

Unsweetened Cranberry Juice

Unsweetened cranberry juice creates an acidic environment

Unsweetened cranberry juice creates an acidic environment, when consumed, that makes it very difficult for candida to survive in the mouth region. Drink about one cup of unsweetened cranberry juice daily.

Fermented Vegetables

Fermented vegetables can strengthen the immune system and boost microflora in the body. Kimchi, pickles and sauerkraut will provide the body with probiotics that will restore the balance of bacteria in the mouth and body. Regular consumption of fermented vegetables helps to boost the immune system.

Warm, Starchy, Vegetables  

This is a new treatment that may help fight oral thrush. The vegetables include sweet potatoes, yams, peas, mung beans, lentils, kidney beans, butternut squash, carrots and beets may be able to support the spleen in wiping out candida from the body. Eat these types of vegetables as often as you can to see definite results.

Cultured Dairy

Avoid this tip if you are allergic to dairy products. If you add cultured dairy and probiotic foods to your diet like:like goat milk kefir and probiotic yogurt. These may effectively kill candida in the body by boosting probiotics and assisting to restore the balance of bacteria in the body. This way the immune system is able to keep the levels of oral thrush causing bacteria from running wild in the the mouth. This will reduce the risk of the candida yeast from forming in that area of the body.    

Coconut Oil Pulling

Did you know that coconut oil pulling can help prevent oral thrush? A study published in the “the Indian Journal of Dental Research” suggests that oil pulling removes toxins from the oral cavity and creates a clean, antiseptic environment. The result you will have a reduced risk of developing oral thrush.

Conclusion

Oral thrush is a very real and painful bacterial infection that starts in the mouth. It can spread to the tonsils, gums and other surrounding areas of the mouth. You just do not want to put off treating this oral infection because it can spread to other parts of the body. It is a painful and unsightly yeast infection that can make the tongue look horrible. The symptoms will be obvious you will develop redness, soreness, and elevated creamy, white lesions on the tongue. You will be relegated to eating soft foods because it will be difficult to swallow. So, if you have oral thrush or you know someone who does please pass this article on to them.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.