Oral thrush is the most common oral infection of the mouth, yet there are many misconceptions about the correct treatment in order to get rid of thrush and which home remedies for thrush can be safely used.
Before trying home remedies for thrush, thrush medications or any treatment for thrush it is very important to understand what is causing the oral thrush infection; in many cases, the thrush is only a symptom of a much bigger problem. In fact, the needed treatment or remedy for oral thrush can be completely different. In many cases, once the root cause of the thrush is identified and addressed, no specific treatment for thrush is needed in the mouth.
This is exactly what this expert guide is all about. Inside you will find the most common oral thrush causes, the top home remedies for oral thrush that are proven to be both safe and effective as well as the risky remedies you should avoid.
Table of Content
The 4 Thrush Facts You Should Know
- 1 – What is oral thrush
- 2 – Oral thrush causes
- 3 – The 2 most common mistakes
- 4 – Oral thrush symptoms
Top Home remedies for oral thrush
- 3 – Top Home remedies for oral thrush
Risky home remedies for thrush
- 4 – Risky home remedies for thrush
Oral Thrush & Pregnancy
Our Protocol for Oral Thrush
Our approach to oral thrush and candida infections is holistic. This means that we look at the body as a whole. Rather than trying to “fix” individual oral thrush and other candida symptoms, we work with the entire body so it can naturally heal itself. We do it by addressing the root cause of the thrush using natural proven remedies that remove “obstacles” that prevent your body from healing itself.
How to get rid of oral thrush naturally – the 3-step protocol
- Find out what is causing your thrush issues
Is your thrush caused by a systemic candida overgrowth problem in your body, or is it a result of an isolated problem in your mouth? Learn more on the 2 most common causes of thrush
- Treat the cause of your thrush issues
If your thrush is caused by a systemic candida overgrowth: candida overgrowth treatment protocol
If you are unsure what is causing your oral thrush, you may want to try the following natural home remedy for oral thrush many have found very effective:
- Home remedies for thrush
If your thrush is caused by an isolated problem in your mouth, or for cases where fast relief is needed, these top proven home remedies for oral thrush have shown to be both safe and effective.
What is Thrush
Thrush is the most common oral fungal infection of the mouth caused by the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungi called candida albicans. It often affects the tongue, the roof of the mouth (palate), the insides of the cheeks, throat, gums or tonsils.
The most common symptom of thrush is the thrush on tongue – a yellow or white coated tongue that can spread to other areas of the mouth and cause pain, redness, soreness, bumps, bleeding, difficulty swallowing and many other discomforts.
Thrush infection is also known as oral thrush, oral candidiasis and oropharyngeal candidiasis.
Candida can be found in small amounts in the digestive system, mouth, vagina, skin and mucous membranes.
Normally the growth of candida in the body is controlled by the good bacteria. When this balance is being disturbed, candida changes into a more aggressive fungal form that can multiply and grow out of control causing many issues and symptoms all over the body. Learn more about Candidiasis, Candida and Yeast Infections.
Oral Thrush Causes
The most important part of any oral thrush treatment is to identify the root cause of the thrush infection correctly.
In many cases, oral thrush is only a symptom of a much bigger problem. This means that treating the mouth thrush with thrush creams, ointments, or topical oral thrush medication may provide some temporary relief, but unless the cause of it is properly addressed, you will keep experience reoccurring thrush infections and even further complications as the yeast infection continues to spread to other parts of the mouth and body.
What Causes Thrush
The 2 most common causes of Thrush
1 – Systemic candida overgrowth
The most common cause of oral thrush is a systemic candida overgrowth in the body. In this case, there are usually multiple yeast infections symptoms present in the body.
Oral thrush treatment that is caused by a systemic candida overgrowth focuses on helping the body to naturally balance the infection by:
- Transitioning to a candida diet that limits foods that can feed candida or weaken the immune system, while consuming anti-candida foods that help your body to heal and recover from the candida overgrowth
(for candida recipes ideas, see our candida recipes page)
- Taking anti-candida supplements that support and help the body in balancing the candida overgrowth, as well as managing the discomforts of the infection including potential candida die off symptoms
Many people are surprised to see that their oral thrush is cured without treating the mouth area at all.
It is however, not surprising; when the source of the oral thrush is a systemic candida overgrowth in the body, the mouth thrush infection is only one of the symptoms. Once the systemic candida problem is addressed, the body can naturally get rid of thrush along with other issues,
To learn more, see our expert guide for candida overgrowth treatment protocol.
Candida Overgrowth Causes & Risk Factors
Common causes of a systemic candida overgrowth and risk factors may include:
2 – Isolated Issue In the Mouth
In these cases, there is an isolated issue in the mouth area that caused an imbalance in the environment of the mouth which enabled candida to overgrow. No other yeast infection symptoms are present in other areas of the body.
Common causes of and risk factors may include:
Important : if any of these causes apply to you (besides smoking), we highly recommend to consult with your dentist or a health provider before starting any mouth thrush treatment.
Home remedies for oral thrush – The 2 Most Common Mistakes
1 – Ignoring a systemic candida overgrowth problem in the body
Home remedies for oral thrush that are used inside the mouth can provide temporary relief, but if your oral thrush is caused by a systemic candida overgrowth problem in your body, you are treating the symptom and not the cause.
We get many questions from people who keep experiencing reoccurring thrush infections and further complications, as the thrush develops and continues to spread to other parts of the mouth and body.
In order to avoid getting the wrong treatment and to make sure you address the root cause of your thrush issues, it is very important to also recognize the signs and symptoms of candida overgrowth in your body.
For more information, see our expert guide on this topic: The complete list of candida overgrowth symptoms
(broken down by each body part)
2- Using harsh or aggressive home remedies
Many home remedies for oral thrush work by placing ingredients with anti-fungal properties in the mouth for an extended time in order to directly reduce the thrush and yeast in the mouth.
While this makes sense in theory, many home remedies for thrush use ingredients that are way too aggressive or strong for the delicate mouth tissues, gums or teeth. The fact that these are 100% natural remedies for thrush doesn’t mean they are safe.
Furthermore, many natural anti-fungal ingredients can be toxic if swallowed and should only be used topically after a specific dilution process was done. A good example is tea tree oil which is a potent anti-fungal when used topically (diluted) with other oils, but can cause extreme irritation in the mouth if used undiluted, and can be toxic if swallowed.
Top Home Remedies for Thrush
Ozonated olive oil paste
Pros: very safe & effective for oral thrush, gum issues and fungal skin infections, easy to use
Cons: some don’t like the ozone scent
Ozonated olive oil (also known as oxygen-olive oil) is olive oil that had ozone added into it.
The many health benefits of Ozone have been extensively studied over the last 150 years and are the core of the widely practiced ozone therapy; The effectiveness of Ozone for oral thrush are due to 3 unique properties of Ozone:
- Ozone is very effective against yeast, candida and fungal infections
- Ozone was shown to be very beneficial for oral infections
- Ozone has the ability to quickly ease skin irritation and promote fast wounds healing.
This means that Ozone can safely reduce the candida infection inside your mouth or skin, while helping the damaged tissues to heal faster.
Using olive oil to hold Ozone in a stable Ozonated olive oil paste, make Ozone available as a home remedy that can be easily applied to the mouth and skin; Based on our experience, Ozonated olive oil is one of the most effective and safe natural home remedies for oral thrush and other fungal infections, especially in cases of oral thrush, gum infections (study) or other skin infections.
To use Ozonated olive oil for oral thrush:
- apply a thin layer on the affected areas after your brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with warm water, right before bedtime.
Oil pulling and Oral Thrush
Pros: safe, great for overall oral health
Cons: may take up to 20 minutes each morning
Oil pulling comes from Ayurvedic medicine (Ayurveda), one of the world’s oldest medical systems that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago.
Oil Pulling (also known Oil Pull) is an oral therapy that uses oil to promote oral health and oral detoxification:
- Swish 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes (do not swallow), spit out and rinse the mouth with clean water.
The idea behind oil pulling is that oil has the ability to draw and pull toxins, bacteria and other pathogens from the mouth and saliva, so by swishing it in your mouth for as long as 10-20 minutes, these toxins are attracted and mixed with the oil. When you spit that oil mixture, you are actually cleansing and detoxifying your entire mouth by removing these toxins.
Oil Pulling for Oral Thrush Guidelines:
- Perform first thing in the morning (before drinking, rinsing your mouth, brushing your teeth, etc)
- Use organic cold-pressed coconut oil, which has a strong natural anti-fungal properties. Coconut oil is also one of the better tasting oils to swish in your mouth
- Start with 5 minutes and gradually increase the swishing time, up to 20 minutes
- Do not eat or drink within an hour after the oil pulling
- For additional anti-fungal support, a very popular remedy that was found by many to ease and reduce the oral thrush severity, is to add a few drops of colloidal silver to the coconut oil before you swish it in your mouth. Silver has been used as a natural antibiotic for many centuries and is considered by many health experts as one of the most potent natural remedies for immune system support against yeast, fungal, bacterial and viral infections. Learn more about colloidal silver.
We get many questions on the best oils for oral thrush when doing oil pulling. The reason we highly recommend coconut oil for oral thrush is due to its strong anti fungal properties as well as its aroma and flavor. As we mentioned, coconut oil is one of the better tasting oils to swish in your mouth.
Probiotics for Oral Thrush
Pros: can address the root cause of thrush
Cons: several weeks of treatment may be needed
When you have oral thrush, it is usually a sign that you have an imbalance between the candida-yeast to the friendly organisms that normally control candida from over growing. Probiotics supplements work by populating your gut and intestines with beneficial organisms that can help your body to naturally restore these imbalances.
Using probiotics supplements for oral thrush is a very popular home remedy, although most probiotic products on the market are not specifically designed to treat candida. These products can still be very good for the overall health and provide many potential health benefits, just not the best type of probiotic for thrush infection and candida issues.
For this reason, we highly recommend to focus on probiotic strains that their main characteristic is yeast and candida elimination. A good example is the Bacillus laterosporus BOD probiotic strain that was shown in research to be very effective in eliminating candida, and has been a part of our protocol for candida and thrush for a very long time.
Learn more about choosing probiotics for thrush.
Probiotics for oral thrush caused by antibiotics
Many people that had to take antibiotics find themselves dealing with thrush, yeast infections and other candida overgrowth issues. This is a very common problem with antibiotics that is a direct result of the way antibiotics work: they do kill the good bacteria but can also kill the good bacteria as well. With less good bacteria in your body that limit the growth of candida, your chances of developing candida issues after using antibiotics are higher. This can also impair your immune system function.
For this reason, probiotics are considered the best home remedies for oral thrush caused by antibiotics, as they can help to cure the root cause of the oral thrush. If you consider taking antibiotics, it is advised to consult with your health provider prior to in order to confirm they are indeed necessary. If they are required, talk to your doctor about taking probiotics during or after the treatment.
How to use probiotics for oral thrush
We have been getting many questions on this topic, whether to place the probiotic supplement inside the mouth for a long time, or to swallow them.
In our practice, we have not seen any benefits of placing probiotics in the mouth; the benefits are achieved when you swallow the probiotic supplements which promotes good bacteria growth that can help the body to balance the excess candida issues in your body.
Baking Soda and Oral Thrush
Pros: quick application (2 minutes), may also help removing stains from your teeth
Cons: long term usage may damage your tooth enamel
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has a long history of being used as a natural home remedy for oral care. Many find the following simple baking soda paste to be a very effective natural home remedy for oral thrush:
- Mix 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda with enough water so you get consistency of a paste
- Add a few drops of coconut oil
- Apply the paste on the tongue or other areas where you see you have oral thrush issues
- Do not swallow
- Leave the paste for up to 2 minutes, spit it out and rinse your mouth with warm water
Note about the safety of baking soda: you can find baking soda in many toothpastes and mouthwashes. Baking soda has a mild abrasive property that makes it effective for removing stains from the teeth. This can help the teeth appear whiter, but long term usage may damage your tooth enamel.
Saltwater Rinse for Oral Thrush
Pros: may promote oral health and wound healing in the mouth
Cons: long term usage may damage your tooth enamel
Using saltwater rinse is a very popular home remedy for oral thrush and oral health in general, especially due to salt ability to disinfect, reduce swelling and promote wound healing in the mouth. This make saltwater rinse a good natural solution that may ease the thrush infection discomforts.
To prepare the saltwater mouthwash for oral thrush:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of natural sea salt in a glass of warm water
- Swish in your mouth for 1-2 minutes and spit it out
- Do not swallow
To prevent potential damage to your teeth, this remedy is only recommended to be used short term.
Risky Home Remedies for Oral Thrush
The following home remedies for thrush use natural ingredients that are known for their anti-fungal properties.
When used correctly, these can provide many benefits for systemic candida overgrowth and are considered very safe.
The safety concerns are related to placing these ingredients in your mouth for a long time, as these can irritate your mouth, gums or other tissues in your mouth and even damage your tooth enamel.
Remember: despite being 100% natural with many potential health benefits, natural remedies for oral thrush can be risky when placing inside the mouth and not all of them are suitable to treat oral thrush. Here are a few common examples:
Apple cider vinegar and oral thrush
Pros: beneficial in cases of systemic candida overgrowth (when used internally)
Cons: highly acidic, can irritate your mouth and damage your gums and teeth
Tea tree oil and oral thrush
Pros: beneficial for skin yeast infections when used topically (diluted)
Cons: may cause burning & irritation when placed in the mouth, can be toxic when ingested orally
Unsweetened yogurt and oral thrush
Using unsweetened yogurt has been one of the popular home remedies for thrush many people have tried, but not a lot were actually able to see any benefit from it or cure their thrush issues.
The reason yogurt has been widely suggested as a remedy for oral thrush has to do with the good bacteria that is found in yogurt, known as Lactobacillus acidophilus:
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a very beneficial good bacteria that may help the body in balancing excess candida, boosting the immune system and promoting healthy digestion – all very important properties when dealing with systemic candida overgrowth issues.
Therefore, the idea is that eating unsweetened yogurt or using yogurt swabs to apply the yogurt to the areas of concerns in the mouth may be beneficial in order to treat the mouth yeast infection, get rid of thrush issues, or get some relief.
There is a catch however:
Essential oils and Oral thrush
Essential oils are oils that are extracted from plants that have medicinal properties, using a process that separates the oils from the plant. The end result is a concentrated oil that contains high percentage of the plant’s active ingredients, typically with a strong aroma (which is why they are also called aromatherapy oils).
Using essential oils for thrush and candida issues can be very beneficial when done properly, since many of these essential oils have strong anti fungal properties. Common examples include tea tree oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, oregano oil, lemon grass oil, lavender oil, thyme oil and others.
It is very important to remember however, that the fact that you can safely consume the original plant (such as cinnamon bark, lemongrass, clove) does not mean that placing the essential oil inside your mouth for a long time is safe. These oils are typically very strong, much too strong to be placed in the delicate mouth tissues. Many essential oils (such as tea tree oil) can be toxic when swallowed.
For this reason, our recommendation is to not use essential oils as a DIY (do it yourself) home remedy for oral thrush, unless you are using a proven safe formula that was prepared by professionals.
The most common symptom of oral thrush is the tongue thrush – a white coated tongue, often with redness or soreness that can also spread into other parts of the mouth, especially the roof of the mouth (palate), insides of the cheeks, throat, gums and even the tonsils.
What do oral thrush symptoms tell about your health?
The mouth is a part of our digestive system, as digestion starts in the mouth.
It is believed by many health experts that mouth is the mirror of our digestive system; one’s oral health can tell a lot about his internal health.
Oral thrush symptoms are usually very clear signs of a systemic candida overgrowth in the body, although many people and even health practitioners do not always connect the dots, treating each symptom separately and even worse, using antibiotics to treat the sore throat !
Ironically, use of antibiotics is one of the top causes of candida overgrowth and thrush issues.
Lets look more closely into the most common signs of thrush infection. Symptoms of thrush may include:
- White tongue, yellow or white coating on the tongue
- White spots inside the mouth and on the tongue
- White lesions or bumps on the tongue, can be painful
- Bleeding may occur when trying to remove coating or bumps
- Cracked tongue
- Sore throat and difficulty swallowing
- Redness, soreness
- Thrush in throat
- Dry lips, chapped lips (especially the lower lip)
- Cracking at the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis)
- Taste changes or bad taste in the mouth
- Metallic taste in mouth (Parageusia)
- Decreased taste sensation
- Yeast infection in mouth
- Thrush on roof of the mouth
- Bleeding gums or gum inflammation
- Burning mouth syndrome
- Dry mouth
- Canker sores (Aphthous ulcer)
- Teeth grinding (long term this leads to teeth that are flattened or fractured)
- Bad breath (Halitosis)
Using certain home remedies for thrush directly on the affected areas can ease many of these discomforts. It is important however, to watch for symptoms in other parts of your body.
To avoid getting the wrong treatment and in order to make sure you address the root cause of your thrush issues, it is very important to also recognize these signs and symptoms.
For more information, see our expert guide on this topic: The complete list of candida overgrowth symptoms
(broken down by each body part)
Thrush in Babies
Thrush in newborns is very common and can occur when the mother has a yeast infection during the delivery or while nursing. A common issue with oral thrush in babies is during breastfeeding, where the mother and baby can pass it back and forth. In these cases you typically see the thrush on the mother’s breast or nipples as well as the thrush inside the baby’s mouth.
Since the immune system of babies is not fully developed, and to avoid damaging their delicate mouth tissues, it is very important to address the baby thrush issue correctly and pay extra attention before using home remedies for baby thrush.
If you are not sure, always consult with your doctor.
Another important topic is the usage of antibiotics which is one of the main causes of thrush in babies and thrush in adults (mothers). It is advised to consult with your health provider prior to taking antibiotics in order to confirm they are indeed necessary.
Symptoms of Thrush in Babies
Thrush in infants is especially common in the first few weeks. Most parents notice the thrush in babies mouth, especially the famous thrush tongue; it is important to know that in many cases there are also other signs of the yeast infection in other areas of the baby’s body. Most of the symptoms of thrush in babies are similar to the adult thrush symptoms which are described above. It is very important to watch for specific symptoms of thrush in babies:
- White tongue, white coating, lesions, spots or bumps on the tongue that can’t be easily washed, this is not milk! Bleeding may occur when trying to remove or wipe these
- Skin rashes, especially in moist areas
- Poor appetite or even refusing to feeding. This may not be due to lack of hunger, but a response of the baby in order to avoid the pain in the mouth of throat caused by the oral thrush infection
- Diaper rash
- Thrush on breast and nipples
- Redness around the nipples and breast
- Sore nipples, often with pain during breastfeeding
- Additional symptoms may include any adult thrush symptoms
Is thrush contagious?
Oral thrush is not considered contagious especially since it is normal to have candida in the mouth. There are certain scenarios however, that may contribute or increase the chances of developing thrush issues after being exposed to someone with oral thrush:
People with a weak or compromised immune system are at higher risk and they may develop thrush issues by kissing or having oral sex with someone who has an oral thrush infection. This may also contribute to thrush in men (yeast infection of the penis) or thrush in women (vaginal yeast infections). These cases where people with oral thrush infect others are not very common, but they do occur.
See our expert guides for thrush in men or vaginal yeast infection for more details.
Newborns and their mothers are also at a higher risk of developing thrush, since the immune system of babies is not fully developed. Using antibiotics by the mother my also weaken her immune system. As a result, it is quite common to see oral thrush in babies during breastfeeding, where the mother and baby can pass it back and forth.
Is thrush curable? What is the best treatment for oral thrush?
Oral thrush is definitely curable. The best treatment for oral thrush must address the root cause of the oral thrush infection, as in many cases, the oral yeast infection is only a symptom of a much bigger problem.
Typically once the cause of the thrush issue is identified and addressed, complete cure for thrush is achieved even without a specific mouth thrush treatment.
In this expert guide we covered how to treat thrush naturally and safely with all the facts you need to know. A good place to start is by using our 3-step protocol for oral thrush at the top of this page.
Is thrush in the mouth painful?
Oral thrush often causes a yellow or white coating on the tongue, typically with white lesions or bumps on the tongue or other areas inside the mouth. These lesions can be painful and might also bleed when trying to remove or wipe them.
The oral thrush infection can spread to the throat area; oral thrush in throat can cause sore throat with pain and difficulty when swallowing.
Why is my oral thrush keep coming back?
Knowing how to get rid of thrush properly comes down to identifying and addressing the root cause of the infection. It is essential in any oral candidiasis treatment in order to completely cure the oral thrush infection. The reason so many people experience reoccurring stubborn oral thrush infections, is because the root cause was never treated; the most common cause of oral thrush is a systemic candida overgrowth in the body, so if only the mouth problem is treated, the oral thrush will most likely come back, as this is one symptom of a systemic candida problem in the body.
To learn more about how to identify what is causing your oral thrush issues, see our 3-step protocol for oral thrush at the top of this page.
Over the counter thrush treatment, does it work?
Oral thrush treatment either over the counter (OTC) non-prescription, or prescription medications typically includes antifungal agents that are available as mouthwashes, lozenges, creams or oral antifungals. There are also many herbal and homeopathic remedies for thrush that fall under the over the counter option as well.
Based on our experience, the effectiveness of these depends on the cause of the oral thrush. If the cause is not in the mouth, local treatment inside the mouth will not cure the oral thrush; If the cause is an underlying medical condition, even a strong oral antifungal will not resolve the problem. You may feel a temporary relief, but the oral thrush is likely to reoccur.
Therefore, before treating oral thrush, it is important to find out what is causing it.
To learn more on what causes thrush, see the 2 most common causes of thrush.
If you are unsure what is causing your oral thrush, you may want to try the following natural home remedy for oral thrush that many have found very effective:
- Take candida targeted probiotics to populate your body with good bacteria that is very effective in limiting the excess candida
- Apply ozonated olive oil locally on the affected areas inside your mouth before bedtime
Can you get thrush from smoking?
According to research, cigarette smoke may promote candida overgrowth, including increasing the persistence of candida in smokers as well as the severity of candidiasis.
Is Cranberry Juice Good for oral thrush?
Unsweetened cranberry juice is an excellent known home remedy for urinary tract infections (UTI).
Based on our experience, unsweetened cranberry juice may not be the best option for oral thrush. Taking into consideration its limited effectiveness against candida with its sugar content, we feel that there are much better oral thrush home remedies that are more potent and have no sugars at all.
For this reason, our recommendation would be to avoid cranberry juice, unless you also suffer from urinary tract infections or know for a fact it has worked for you in the past.
Treating thrush in adults vs. baby thrush treatment
Oral thrush treatment for adults should not be the same as the treatment for babies.
The main reason, is that oral thrush in adults may differ from oral thrush in infants in terms of the causes of the thrush; thrush in babies usually occur when the mother has a yeast infection during the delivery or while nursing. Since the immune system of babies is not fully developed, they can develop oral thrush very quickly.
The causes of oral thrush in adults are more versatile and may be a result of an underlying condition, medication, various dental conditions, lifestyle choices, dietary habits and more.
Another fact to consider is that babies are much more delicate, especially the mouth area. This means that home remedies for oral thrush in adults that are considered safe for adults may not be safe for babies.
For this reason, before trying home remedies for thrush in babies, we highly recommend to consult with your health provider.
Gentian violet for oral thrush in babies
Gentian violet is an antiseptic dye with a long history of being used as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. Gentian violet (1% solution) is also a popular home remedy for oral thrush.
According to research, gentian violet may be effective against candida and yeast infections, although there is not enough data about its safety, especially long term.
Based on our experience with gentian violet, we weren’t impressed:
When it comes to effectiveness, it was not consistent; it was able to help some people, while others did not get any benefits from using it.
Furthermore, gentian violet is quite messy. It is a dye, so it stains anything it touches: skin, mouth, tongue, teeth, clothes, etc. It can also dry the breast, nipples, areola which can cause pain during breastfeeding, and even worse, it may also irritate the delicate tissues inside the baby’s mouth.
Considering the limited effectiveness with these safety concerns, we do not recommend using gentian violet for oral thrush in babies, children, toddlers or even adults. We feel that there are much better remedies for oral thrush available that are safer, more effective, and that can even promote the skin and oral health.
A good example is Ozonated olive oil.