- Oral Candidiasis is not a dangerous condition, but it can have severe systemic symptoms.
- Oral Candidiasis is a known complication among people who take steroid medications, especially steroid inhalers for asthma.
- Studies have shown that regular intake of garlic, oregano oil, cinnamon and certain vegetables has been quite effective in preventing and treating candidiasis infections.
Oral thrush or oral candidiasis is an infection of the mouth caused by the fungus, candida. This fungus is also known as yeast. It is normal for candida organisms to live in our bodies, and they are perfectly harmless. However, when they overgrow, they can cause infections. Such infections can spread to your tongue, gums, roof of the mouth and even your esophagus.
Candidiasis, in general, can affect anyone who has a weak immune system, including infants and the elderly. This is because in this group of people, it is hard to keep the candida organisms under control in harmless levels. Although the condition may sound a bit scary, it is a very common and easily treatable disease. While you can treat this condition with medications, you can get some relief with certain home remedies as well.
So it is important that you get this looked into right away, otherwise left untreated, the candida infection can spread throughout your mouth and even lead to severe health issues.
Symptoms of Oral Thrush
There are a number of symptoms that could suggest and indicate that you have oral thrush. If you think you might have the condition, it is recommended that you see a doctor for a definite diagnosis. It is vital that you get an early diagnosis so that you can get the condition treated right away.
Just review the common symptoms listed below and see if they seem familiar to something that you may have experienced recently.
- A white and creamy film coating will appear on your tongue. It may look really unpleasant! So when brushing your teeth, pay close attention to your tongue and see if there is a film coating and if it is, then you need to check in with your doctor right away.
- There will be lesions on your tongue that may become painful at times and sometimes may even bleed on contact with a toothbrush, teeth or food. So if you find that you have several lesions on your gums and that brushing your teeth has turned into a painful affair, then you need to seek medical attention and confirm whether you have a case of oral candida infection or not.
- The lesions on your tongue are raised lesions and may have a resemblance to cottage cheese. Make a careful examination of your tongue and if there are lesions on it, resembling cottage cheese, then it is time that you sought out medical attention for both a speedy diagnosis and treatment.
- Your tongue may feel sore, and this soreness may lead to difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) or painful swallowing (odynophagia). This is why it is important that you consult with your doctor right away on coming across candida symptoms. Otherwise, if left untreated, it will spread all through your mouth and even make it excruciatingly painful for you to swallow anything.
Home Remedies for Treating Oral Candidiasis
So, what can you do to treat oral thrush? Oral candidiasis is a benign condition, but can have severe systemic symptoms as well. Therefore, it is important that you treat the condition before it gets any worse. If you hate taking medications, then you are lucky because there are a number of home remedies for treating oral candidiasis.
So, here are a few home remedies that you can try for oral thrush. Just remember, that these home remedies are not a cure in themselves and are more of a preventive measure. You still need to consult your doctor for effective medical treatment.
Eat Garlic: Garlic contains a substance known as allicin and an enzyme called allinase. Both together form a compound known as ajoene. Ajoene is proven to have excellent antifungal properties known to be highly effective against many fungal strains. Allicin in garlic is a known natural antibiotic. It not only has an antibiotic effect, but also has antiviral as well as antifungal properties. Although it has been proven that allicin has excellent antifungal properties, its exact mechanism is not known.
There is much research information that backs up the fact that garlic is effective in fighting candida infections. One study carried out in 1988 proved that Aqueous Garlic Extract (AGE) significantly inhibited the growth of candida albican fungus. As an antifungal, garlic is indeed quite effective. The best part is that garlic can be used in many dishes, so eating food with extra garlic can go a long way to keeping down any yeast infection.
Increase your intake of oregano oil: Oregano oil is also known to have antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic properties. The oil is very effective in killing bacteria and fungi in our body, and therefore is a perfect remedy for those of you who are suffering with oral thrush. A study carried out by Georgetown University Medical Center in 2011 found out that 0.25 milligrams or milliliters of oregano oil has an ability to completely stop the growth of candida albican organisms. The study also said that a daily dose of oregano oil may be sufficient enough to prevent and treat candidiasis infections.
Carvacrol and thymol are two naturally occurring antimicrobial agents in oregano oil. Researchers have found that these agents have the ability to dehydrate and kill the candida cells. Since oregano oil is a completely natural product, it has fewer side effects than the other antifungal medications that you may find at pharmacies. Oregano oil is effective in helping you combat candida and there are various studies that showcase this very ability. You can use oregano oil to flavor your food when cooking or just add a few drops of the oil after the food has been cooked. And with a regular intake of oregano oil, you should be able to treat your candida effectively.
- Stay away from sugar: Sugary food helps the growth of yeast inside your body. Therefore, limit your intake of carbohydrates to a minimum of 60 grams per day. You can have natural foods with sugar in moderation like fruits and honey as a substitute. Or you can always opt to use honey instead of sugar. Apart from the fact that honey occurs naturally, it should also help keep down the production of yeast in your body and is loaded with various health benefits. So try to limit your sugar intake to lower the level of candida in your mouth to more manageable levels.
- Caprylic acid fights candida organisms: Caprylic acid is a saturated fatty acid that has several benefits including antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiinflammatory properties. It is found in foods like coconut, coconut oil, cow’s milk and human breast milk. This acid not only helps to kill the candida organisms, but also detoxifies the digestive tract and hastens the healing process. A research study published in 2011 confirmed that caprylic acid has the ability to reduce symptoms of fungal infections like candida and oral thrush. So try to use coconut or coconut oil regularly, you can add coconut oil to any food and it should help prevent an oral candida outbreak.
- Switch to a new toothbrush every two to three weeks: Using a new toothbrush prevents you from continuing to contract the same germs. This is a really important action that you should take as it is very likely for candida to build up on the toothbrush and the toothbrush might change color as an indication that there is fungus on it. So before you brush your teeth with the same toothbrush, take a closer look at it, and chances are that you will find that the bristles have indeed changed color. This means that your current toothbrush is affected by candida and that’s why you need to change your toothbrush every few weeks.
- Add cinnamon to your diet: A Brazilian study published in 2011 has shown that cinnamon has properties that combat candida organisms. So adding more cinnamon to your diet can control the growth of candida organisms in your mouth. Another study carried out in China in 2012 saw dramatic results when cinnamon oil was used for those suffering with candida infections. They found out that once cinnamon oil was given to these patients, the candida cells actually burst thus proving the effectiveness of cinnamon in killing candida organisms. Cinnamon is great for dental health, as it not only helps alleviate pain and swelling in your gums,but also helps prevent candida outbreaks. So make sure that you add cinnamon to your regular diet.
- Include more vegetables in your diet: Vegetables like carrots, lentils, beans, mung beans and zucchini contain good anti-candida characteristics that will help you to control any candida infections of the mouth. Consult your doctor about the sort of diet you can follow to help you fight off your candida infection, and if required, consult a dietician as well. Some of the vegetables rich in antioxidants can help you limit the spread of candida germs and keep it within manageable levels.
- Wash your mouth regularly: This may seem like an obvious remedy, but not everyone practices proper oral hygiene. Maintaining oral hygiene will help prevent and decrease oral thrush as well as any other infections of the mouth. It goes without saying that you need to practice good dental hygiene and that means having to brush your teeth twice a day, using a mouthwash and gargling your mouth after every heavy meal. Maintaining good dental hygiene can go a long way to preventing a candida outbreak.
- Take extra special care of your mouth after taking steroid inhalers: Oral candidiasis is a known complication among people who take steroid medications, especially steroid inhalers for asthma. Steroids are known to be immunosuppressive drugs. Unlike typical oral medications that you take, inhaled medication is usually delivered directly to the airways. When this happens, some of the inhaled steroids are deposited on the back of your throat on their way to the lungs. The local activity of the steroids begins there and makes it a favorable site for the growth of candida organisms, thus resulting in oral candidiasis. So, keep in mind to wash your throat carefully after taking inhaled steroids.
- Try eating healthy: A good diet is always the key to good health and never more so than today. Try to eat organic food, lots of greens and vegetables rich in antioxidants. This should help you to prevent any candida outbreak in your mouth and limit the spread of candida organisms. So make sure that you are eating healthy and the right type of foods.
- Consult a doctor: It is important that you consult a doctor right away so that he can confirm the candida outbreak and help to get the same treated effectively. If left untreated, the candida organisms can spread to other areas of your mouth and this in turn will cause you to develop severe health complications including being unable to swallow. So make an appointment with your doctor and in the meantime, follow some of the home remedies listed here for some immediate relief. Just remember that home remedies, although effective are not a cure on their own, you would still need to maintain good dental hygiene since the candida organism only thrives in unsanitary conditions.
These are some of the ways by which you can tackle oral thrush. There are a few medications you can take to help you fight off candida, but these OTC medications may not be that effective on their own, unless you practice good dental hygiene. So make it a point to brush your teeth and gargle your mouth regularly and in time, you should be able to bring down the level of candida organisms. Go in for regular checkups, and make sure that you consult your doctor regarding your oral candida infection.