Oral Thrush: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

by John Staughton last updated -

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Oral thrush is a fungal infection that attacks the tissues of the mouth, and given that it affects millions of people every year, it is important to understand all the facts related to this relatively common condition.

Treatments for Oral Thrush

It is possible to treat oral thrush in a number of ways through formal medication and procedures, including the use of anti-fungal mouthwashes, tablets, lozenges or liquid drops. Some of the most common varieties of these medications are nystatin, clotrimazole and miconazole. There are many different medications that use these active ingredients, depending on the strength and intended recipient of the medication.

If you represent any of the risk factors for this disease, such as smoking or poor diabetic control, changing your lifestyle may also help to eliminate this infection, particularly if it becomes a chronic problem. In many older people, ill-fitting dentures can make for a perfect breeding ground for this fungal infection, so be sure to check with your dentist if you have recurring bouts of oral thrush.

Home Remedies for Oral Thrush

Many people choose to avoid formal medication whenever possible, and fortunately, there are a number of home remedies for oral thrush, such as yogurt, coconut oil, baking soda, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar and garlic.

Yogurt

 When your mouth’s bacterial balance is compromised, you need to replace those beneficial bacteria to get the fungal infection back in check. Eating yogurt is an excellent way of delivering those probiotics directly where they are needed, and this will also protect the esophagus if the infection begins to spread.

Tea Tree Oil

 Known as one of the most powerful antifungal substances ever discovered, only a few drops of diluted tea tree oil are required to have a notable impact on the appearance of your symptoms. Simply apply a few drops with a cotton ball to the inflamed patches of white in your mouth. Repeat this 1-2 times per day until the symptoms disappear.

Apple Cider Vinegar

 When it comes to mouth cleansers, few things are better than swishing out your mouth with apple cider vinegar. This potent antiseptic and antifungal liquid is used for countless natural health remedies, and is particularly effective for treating oral thrush when repeated 2-3 times per day.

Garlic

This common ingredient also happens to have a high concentration of antioxidants and antifungal compounds, which makes it ideal for eliminating the infection. If you drink a small amount of garlic juice and gargle with it, you can rapidly kill or neutralize the infection before it spreads.

Coconut Oil

As with countless other medical conditions, coconut oil’s unique properties can be extremely useful. The antifungal and antioxidant nature of coconut oil helps to dispel the overgrowth of Candida fungus, while also stimulating regrowth and repair of healthy cells. Mixing a bit of coconut oil with warm water and swishing around in your mouth for 30 seconds is a fast and easy remedy for this infection.

Oral Thrush in Babies

This infection often presents in infants for a number of reasons. First and foremost, due to their passage through the vagina, which contains Candida fungi, they are exposed to this pathogen at a very early stage in their development. The immune system hasn’t fully formed, which means that it may not be able to stop an overgrowth of this fungus in the mouth.

Furthermore, if your baby has had any other illness, antibiotics may have been used, which could also have compromised the immune balance and allowed the fungal infection to take hold. In babies, this fungal infection manifests in a similar way as in adults – small white patches on the tongue and other parts of the mouth, as well as discomfort, which your infant will certainly let you know about.

Infants with this infection are often unwilling to feed, or detach from the nipple. Your child can also pass the infection back to their mother while breastfeeding, resulting in dry, cracked or painful nipples. This infection typically isn’t dangerous for your baby, but you should seek medical attention for an antifungal cream or drops, including miconazole and nystatin.

About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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