Oral thrush (oral candidiasis) is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans. This microorganism is generally present in the oral cavity. In cases like lowered immunity or diabetes, the body gets incompetent in fighting this fungus. As a result, it becomes pathogenic and starts invading the mucosal tissues. It usually inhabits the tongue and buccal cavity. However, in severe cases, it can penetrate the throat, gums, and tonsils.
It produces a white layer on the affected areas, which can also bleed profusely. If left untreated, it can further weaken the immune system, thereby welcoming other diseases to develop. Oral thrush is usually not contagious and can be effectively treated using antifungal medications.
Antifungal medications can be prescribed or purchased over-the-counter. However, most species of Candida are resistant to medications. Thus, sometimes, fungal infections are difficult to treat.
Alternatives are always there. The treatment of fungal infections such as the oral thrush can be naturally done at home. The use of essential oils, herbs, or spices in daily life does not only treat fungal infections but can also prevent such infections for a long time. They help in eradicating the underlying causes of infection. The following are several home remedies you can do to treat as well as prevent oral candidiasis:
It is a natural antibiotic and possesses powerful antifungal and antiviral properties. It has been proven that garlic can kill fungi along with boosting the immune system. Chewing 2-3 cloves of garlic once daily can produce effective results.
2) Coconut oil
Coconut oil has been proven to have antimicrobial properties. The key elements present in this oil are lauric acid and caprylic acid. These fatty acids help kill Candida albicans, which is the causative organism responsible for oral thrush.
Coconut oil also helps in detoxifying the oral cavity, thereby making it less prone to infections and diseases. Rinsing your mouth using coconut oil for 10-20 minutes can produce effective results. However, be very careful not to ingest the oil while swishing, as it possesses bacteria and toxins. Rinse your mouth using warm water after the procedure.
3) Table salt
Salt diluted with water can be used as a mouthwash to get rid of harmful microorganisms in the mouth. Simply mix one cup of warm water with around half to one teaspoon of salt. Use this mixture for rinsing purposes. Repeat this procedure a few times a day on a regular basis.
You can also rub salt on your tongue as well as beneath your tongue. After applying salt, wait for a few seconds and then rinse your mouth with warm water. It is advisable that you follow this procedure two times a day.
Probiotic yogurt consists of Lactobacillus, which can help treat oral thrush. Use unsweetened yogurt for better results.
- Eat yogurt on a daily basis for a few weeks or a month.
- Apply some of it on your tongue and buccal cavity. Leave it on for a while and then thoroughly rinse your mouth with warm water. Continue this procedure for a few weeks.
5) Baking soda
It can be used as an effective and cheap alternative for treating oral thrush. Baking soda neutralizes acids, thereby maintaining an appropriate pH level in the oral cavity.
- Make a paste of good consistency by mixing baking soda with enough amount of water. Apply this paste on your tongue as well as on the floor of your mouth using a cotton swab. Leave it on for a few minutes then rinse it off using warm water. Repeat this procedure for 2-3 times on a daily basis.
- One can also make a mouthwash using baking soda by mixing it well with water in a ratio of 1:3. Using this mouthwash on a regular basis can also help relieve the symptoms.
6) Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar possesses ample of enzymes that can intercept the overgrowth of Candida. It boosts the immune system, making it competent in limiting Candida overgrowth. In addition, ACV also possesses some antifungal properties.
- Make a solution containing apple cider vinegar, salt, and warm water in a ratio of 2:1/2:4. Rinse your mouth regularly and thoroughly with this solution to treat oral thrush.
- You can also use it along with honey. Prepare a mixture of 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a little amount of honey, and a cup of lukewarm water. Drink this mixture two times a day.
This spice can also help control the growth of Candida in people with oral thrush.
- Drink cinnamon tea on a daily basis. You can make it by adding cinnamon (powder or stick form) to boiling water.
- The application of a mixture of cinnamon oil and extra virgin olive oil on the affected areas can provide beneficial results. Leave the mixture on for a few minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat the procedure every day for a few days.
- Its consumption is not advisable for pregnant women.
8) Oregano oil
This herbal oil can prove to be quite beneficial for inhibiting the overgrowth of Candida in the oral cavity. It also possesses antifungal properties and helps in enhancing the function of the immune system.
- Oregano oil can be used along with olive oil. Take 1-2 drops of oregano oil and mix it well with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Apply the mixture on the affected areas and repeat the procedure two or three times daily until you see some improvements.
- You can also use oregano oil with warm water. Add 2-3 drops of oregano oil in a glass of water. Drink the solution for 2-3 times a day on a regular basis for a few weeks.
9) Clove oil
In recent studies, it has been established that clove is as effective as the antifungal drug known as nystatin. Clove oil is efficient in fighting against Candida as it contains a wide range of antifungal properties.
Two to three drops of clove oil along with coconut oil can be used for oral thrush. Swishing with this mixture for around 10-20 minutes can produce beneficiary outcomes. After swishing, rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth when necessary.
10) Myrrh oil
Myrrh is a natural gum that originates from a tree known as Commiphora myrrha. Oil is being made from this resin. It has a smoky, sweet, or bitter smell. Myrrh oil has plenty of features including antibacterial and antifungal properties.
A study conducted in 2012 has revealed that myrrh oil in combination with NaF (sodium fluoride present in toothpaste) exhibits antifungal properties. The combination boosted the immune system and decreased the level of inflammation. After using this herbal toothpaste, the growth of Candida seemed to be under control.
11) Tea tree oil
It can also be used in treating oral candidiasis. Tea tree oil has powerful antifungal properties and provides a prompt recovery.
- Gargle with a solution of tea tree oil and warm water. The quantity of tea tree oil should be 4-5 drops in a cup of water. Gargle the solution for a few minutes. Repeat this procedure once or twice daily.
- Do not consume the oil as it can cause some side effects when ingested.
12) Pau d'Arco tea
Drinking pau d'Arco tea can help in controlling the amount of Candida in the mouth.
- To prepare this tea, put its bark into the boiling water. The ratio should be 2:4.
- Let it boil for 20 minutes.
- After boiling, turn off the heat and let it cool down for an hour.
- Use a sieve to strain the tea.
- Drink the tea throughout the day in small portions.
13) Unsweetened cranberry juice
Cranberries are rich in a chemical compound called "arbutin" that helps in fighting Candida. Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice twice or thrice daily can help eradicate oral thrush. Keep drinking this juice for a few weeks to achieve better results.
14) Olive leaf
Oleuropein is a compound present in the olive leaf that acts as a booster of the immune system with antifungal properties. It is considered as the most effective home remedy for oral thrush.
- You can consume up to 500 mg of olive leaf on a daily basis.
- You can also make tea out of it. It can be made by adding the leaves in boiling water. Boil it for 10-20 minutes and then strain the tea. Drink this tea twice or thrice daily.
- To get better results and to avoid a relapse, you should continue drinking this tea even after the thrush has disappeared.
15) Black walnut
Black walnut has high levels of tannic acid, which has strong astringent and antifungal properties. In addition to tannic acid, black walnut also contains the organic compound called "juglone", which is an effective antibiotic and antifungal agent. The consumption of this fruit is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for oral thrush.
16) Aloe vera
The gel present in aloe vera creates a coating on the oral mucosa after application. Therefore, it can damage the movement and expansion of the causative fungus. It can also soothe the discomforts caused by the fungal infection through its cooling effect.
- Get an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel out of it. Mash the aloe vera gel to get a good consistency.
- Apply the gel on your tongue and on the buccal cavity where the patches are in great amount.
- Repeat this procedure daily to get better results.
In order to get the best outcome, you must follow the necessary hygiene measures:
- Change your toothbrush more often to prevent oral thrush.
- If you are a smoker, then you must stop smoking as it can only worsen your condition.
- Oral thrush can sometimes cause discomfort. For relief, you can drink cold water or eat ice chips.
- Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and by cleaning your tongue on a regular basis.
- If you are diabetic, take some imperative measures such as regularly monitoring your blood glucose level to prevent such infections. You can also visit your dentist, especially if you have dentures.
- Limit your intake of foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates as they can promote the growth of Candida.
- Denture wearers must remove their dentures before going to bed. Not wearing dentures at bedtime can help provide enough time for the oral mucosa to recover. The dentures should be placed in a bowl that contains water and denture cleansing powder. You can clean it with denture cleansing tablets as well. At daybreak, before wearing your dentures, you must clean them with a brush and rinse with tap water.
- Try to eat foods that are easy to ingest such as custard or ice cream.
- Alcohol consumption must be avoided as it can further weaken your immune system and increases your chances of relapse.
- Properly choose your diet. You can include vegetables such as peas, sweet potatoes, kidney beans, carrots, and beets in your diet as they can support the spleen in controlling Candida overgrowth in the body. In addition, fermented vegetables such as pickles and kimchi can help strengthen your immune system as they provide probiotics to the body. They also assist in maintaining the balance of bacteria in the oral cavity and body.