Oral thrush, also known under the scientific name of oral candidiasis, is triggered by the overgrowth of fungus Candida albicans in your mouth and tongue. In fact, there is always a certain amount of fungus candida in the mouth and it is kept perfectly harmless by other bacteria in our body. However, from time to time the balance is messed up by many factors such as medication or weakens immune system, leading to the excessive accumulation of yeast. The symptoms of oral thrush vary from white patches, redness and even bleeding on the inside of the mouth including the inner cheeks, throat, and tongue.
Oral thrush can be a serious threat, not only because it is contagious, but also it can weaken our immune system and allow more health problems to grow. When you are diagnosed with oral thrush, you will probably be prescribed with an antifungal medication. This kind of treatment can cure the symptoms, but in the long run, it can cause you serious problems such as liver damage, allergy or the imbalance of estrogen level. The key of treating oral thrush lies in balancing the pH level of the mouth, strengthening our immune system and promoting the development of good bacteria in our body. Luckily, there are many natural ways to cure oral thrush without risking your health in all these above side effects. Below are some home remedies you can practice to combat oral thrush.
- Fermented Vegetables: Packed with lactic acid, fermented vegetables are capable of producing probiotic bacteria. Probiotics is extremely effective to reinforce the immune system and restore the balance of bacteria in the mouth and body. So it is very beneficial to add fermented vegetables like kimchi and pickles to your daily meals.
- Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil deserves to top the list of natural remedies to treat oral thrush. Tea tree oil is a powerhouse of antifungal properties which help control the development of yeast. It is also filled with antioxidants which will be of great help in improving the immune system and preventing yeast infections.
How to use:
• Make a solution of 5 drops of tea oil and glass of warm water, gargle your mouth for 2 minutes.
• Repeat this action 4 to 5 times a day, you will see the difference in no time.
- Baking Soda: It seems that baking soda is one ultimate home remedy for many health problems. And no wonder, it can be used to treat oral thrush too. Sodium bicarbonate found abundantly in baking soda is able to effectively balance the pH level of the mouth and kill harmful bacteria while leaving friendly ones.
How to use:
• The simple way is to rinse your mouth 2 times a day with a solution of ½ teaspoon of baking soda and a glass of warm water until the yeast is gone.
• Another option is to make a paste out of baking soda and water, use a cotton ball to apply it in the infection area and rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water after 2 minutes. To have best result you can choose to do this action 3 times a day
If you are a keen practitioner of garlic, you are probably familiar with allicin compound which is a great source of antibacterial, antifungal and antibiotic properties. Therefore, garlic is one great remedy to combat oral thrush. Garlic can kill harmful bacteria and improve body’s ability to fight infections.
How to use:
• Add 2 to 3 cloves of raw garlic to your daily diet to enhance immune system.
• If you cannot bear the smell and suffer from garlic breath after eating, you can try raw garlic tablets or other supplements under the consultation of doctors
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is another important remedy to consider if you are an oral thrush sufferer. Its power origins from the high concentration of anti-candida and antifungal properties which are prove to be able to control the overgrowth of yeast and relief the symptoms.
How to use:
• You can drink cinnamon tea 2 to 3 times a day.
• Mix a few drop of cinnamon oil in olive oil or any carrier oil then directly apply the mixture to the infected area and rinse off thoroughly with warm water after 5 to 10 minutes.
- Salt: The saline solution from salt holds the power to create an unfavorable environment in your mouth that candida bacteria cannot thrive in. Salt can also relief the pain and reduce the severity of the symptoms. So simply gargle your mouth water warm salt water several times a day until you feel the positive changes.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil gains its popularity to cure oral thrush by its antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial effect it can make to our body. Besides, the combination of lauric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil can also do the magic in blocking the development of yeast and improving the immune system.
How to use:
• Directly apply coconut oil to the infected area. It’s perfectly safe to repeat a few times a day and you don’t even have to rinse off.
• You are advised to use coconut oil in your cooking.
- Good Oral and Denture Hygiene
As obvious as it sounds, good denture hygiene is very essential to control the development of yeast because plaque and sugars building up on dentures can feed candida to overgrow and overpower good bacteria. It is advisory for people who use dentures to take them out before going to bed and soak them in vinegar. Practicing consistent and thorough brushing and mouth washing, consulting dentist periodically are also a must if you want to combat oral thrush.
When to Visit the GP
You need to have the GP advised if you incur any symptoms of oral thrush. In case, it is left untreated, those symptoms will prolong and your mouth will be constantly under discomforts.
If it is getting more severe and still untreated, you are under great risk of having infection spread throughout your body and it can be lethal.
The GP can easily diagnose oral thrush through the examination of your mouth. Occasionally, there might be blood test required in order to check if any specific condition is involved like deficiency of nutrition or diabetes.
How to Prevent Oral Thrush
There are numerous activities which you can practice that can help you significantly lower the risk of developing oral thrush such as:
- Have your mouth rinsed after having meals.
- Have your teeth brushed twice every day using fluoride toothpaste as well as flossed or cleaned interdental regularly.
- Check-up with the dentist regularly even when you have dentures or no natural teeth.
- Have your dentures removed every night, cleaned using soap, paste and water, then have them soaked in the solution of tablets for dental cleaning and water.
- Have your dentist advised in case the dentures are unfit.
- Quit smoking in case you are doing it.
- Have your mouth rinsed using water and then spit the water out later using the corticosteroid inhaler. Also remember to use the spacer which is the plastic cylinder attached to the inhaler when you have the medicine.
- Make sure to have every underlying conditions like diabetes under control.
It is essential to equip yourself with the knowledge and information regarding oral thrush. Even though, it might not be as harmful as other conditions and diseases, there are chances that it can get worse and eventually, negative affect your health. Therefore, it is necessary to remember those natural tips above as well as practice good oral hygiene.
This article is written by Lyndsie Beresford – Senior Editor of Authority Remedies.
Lyndsie is the apprentice at Nutrition Society of Australia after finishing her bachelor degree of Human Nutrition at La Trobe University.
She is also pursuing her master degree of Food Science at University of Melbourne.
With the great passion for nutrition and healthy diet, her future is brighter than ever in becoming one of the finest nutritionists and dietitians.