If you’ve experienced thrush, you’ll understand how infuriating and uncomfortable it can be. But you don’t have to suffer in silence because there are natural ways to get rid of thrush. You can choose home treatments for thrush to treat Candida fungi responsible for thrush without depending on drugs. Instead, you can consult your GP, who will most likely prescribe oral thrush remedies, such as antifungal medication. Either way, it’s crucial to treat thrush because ignoring it can be catastrophic. Thrush does not necessarily go away on its own.
You will learn the following from this post:
Table of Contents
- Meaning of thrush
- Causes of thrush
- Risk Factors Associated with Thrush
- Symptoms of thrush
- Diagnosing thrush
- Conventional treatment for thrust
- Home remedies for thrush
What is Thrush?
Thrush, also called oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a condition in which a yeast-shaped fungus known as Candida albicans overgrows in the mouth and through. Candida albicans is often present in the mouth, skin, and digestive tracts of many healthy people. The immune system and the body’s usual bacteria are often responsible for keeping Candida balanced. When the balance is interrupted, an overgrowth of the Candida fungus can occur, resulting in thrush.
A thrush infection is not the same as a vaginal yeast infection. However, the Candida fungus also triggers diaper rash, but diaper rash often occurs on a child’s inner thighs, genitals, and rear end, while oral thrush occurs in the throat and mouth. Adults may get candidal infections around overlapping skin, such as in skin folds or underneath breasts.
What Usually Causes Thrush?
An extreme overgrowth of the Candida species of fungus in the throat or mouth is what results in oral yeast infection. This overgrowth may be able to occur when the person experiences change like:
- changes in the immune system
- new medications
- pregnancy, or
Thrush in newborns and infants is relatively common. It only becomes a concern if it leads to poor feeding or is associated with weight loss or other symptoms of systemic illness. Consult your pediatrician if thrush in an infant lasts beyond a few weeks.
What are the Risk Factors for Thrush?
Healthy adults generally do not develop thrush without having some risk factors. Patients with weakened immune systems are significantly at risk for getting fungal infections like thrush. The following are the risk factors associated with thrush:
- poorly fitted dentures
- having an organ transplant
- taking medications like birth control pills, chemotherapy or other cancer drugs, corticosteroids, and radiation
- illnesses, dry mouth, HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, and poorly controlled diabetes
Is Oral Thrush Contagious?
Generally, thrush is not communicable. However, a breast-feeding infant suffering from thrush may transmit the fungi to the mother’s breast by contact.
Technically, oral thrush could be transmitted through oral sex or kissing, but it is not common. Thrush is an opportunistic condition, and its development relies on how strong your immune system is.
Signs and Symptoms of Thrush
Thrush is characterized by white patches or a white coating on the back of the throat, inner cheeks, mouth, and tongue. The tissue beneath the white patches is often sore, raw, and red. The lesions can be painful and can even bleed when scraped. Oral thrush often resembles milk curds or cottage cheese. Some common signs and symptoms of thrush include the following:
- bad breath
- unpleasant or strange taste in the mouth
- soreness in teeth
- sore throat or feeling food stuck in the throat
- dry mouth
- cracking at the outer edges of the lips
- white tongue
- redness under the white patches
- characteristic of white patches
Oral thrush can also result in a condition known as burning mouth syndrome, which can exhibit symptoms of painful burning sensation, soreness, dryness, numbness or tingling throughout the tongue and mouth, and sometimes an abnormal metallic or bitter taste in the mouth.
In more serious cases of thrush, the esophagus, which leads down to the stomach, may also be involved. This will result in pain with swallowing. In addition, if the immune system of a person is weakened, the Candida fungus can spread to other areas of the body and cause a systemic infection. Therefore, you should consult your doctor immediately if a person has symptoms or signs of thrush and has difficulty swallowing, chills or fever, or shaking.
Candidiasis is clinically diagnosed by a dentist or physician when characteristic-looking white patches are found in the throat or mouth. Scraping may be required to confirm the diagnosis, or perhaps there is a concern about whether the Candida fungus triggers the white patches. Instead, the dentist or doctor can scrape off a small amount of white matter from the throat or mouth, observe it under a microscope, and view the characteristic yeast-shaped fungi.
Thrush located farther down the throat is usually found by carrying out a procedure known as an endoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor introduces a small camera through the back of the throat into the esophagus and into the stomach to check the sample and take samples. The white lesions may be scraped or biopsied to confirm the thrush diagnosis if the white lesions are discovered. A gastroenterologist usually performs this procedure.
Convention Thrush Treatment
Treatment of thrush largely depends on the severity and cause of the infection. If thrush results from something reversible, such as poorly controlled diabetes, ill-fitting dentures, smoking, or taking antibiotics, these factors will have to be corrected.
Children, toddlers, and infants with thrush often do not require treatment. A pediatrician may prescribe antifungal nystatin drops in children suffering from thrush for more than a couple of weeks.
Antifungal medications can treat thrush. If an adult patient has a mild case of thrush, the doctor may prescribe:
- Miconazole buccal (Oravig) is an antifungal drug consisting of a tablet placed in the upper gum area and dissolved in the mouth to eliminate thrush.
- An antifungal mouthwash (nystatin) or lozenges for short-term use.
Suppose a person has other reasons for a weakened immune system or has a severe case of thrush. In that case, the person may require stronger systemic antifungal medicines, such as itraconazole or fluconazole.
Home Remedies for Thrush
If you have thrush, you’ll require antifungal medication to clear the yeast. However, you may be able to manage stubborn symptoms with natural remedies for thrush. Read on to know how you can treat the symptoms of thrush naturally.
1. Salt Water
Salt possesses soothing, cleansing, and antiseptic properties, making it a common natural remedy for several oral challenges. In addition, rinsing your mouth with salt water may be able to reduce the symptoms of oral thrush.
- Dissolve a half tablespoon of salt in a cup of warm water.
- Swish the solution in your mouth
- Spit it out a few seconds later
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has a myriad of benefits. For example, a certain study published in 2009 indicated that baking soda may act as a disinfectant against Candida. However, this research tested the fungus on dentures and not directly in the mouth. Still, the result indicated that the use of baking soda was effective in clearing up the overgrowth on the dentures affected.
This study was supported by more recent research that tested the efficacy of baking soda against oral thrush in those that had received reconstruction surgery of the free flap, which is a medical procedure that gets rid of tissue and its blood supply from a particular area of the body to be applied in different areas of the body requiring reconstruction. Oral thrush is common in patients undergoing the procedure and using baking soda effectively prevented it in patients in this research.
To use baking soda to treat oral thrush at home, you will need a half teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of warm water. Swish the solution throughout your mouth, just like you would a mouthwash, then spit out the solution.
Probiotics are responsible for giving the body good bacteria that help balance the gut flora. Probiotics may be a viable option for natural treatment and prevention. Although Candida fungus may not die from probiotic cultures, probiotics may help to reduce fungi growth and restore natural mouth balance. The Lactobacillus probiotics, specifically, is essential for the treatment of oral thrush.
Probiotics are available in many foods, including some cheese, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt. If you develop oral thrush, yogurt may help provide the probiotics you need because it is easy to swallow, soft, and not irritating to any present painful lesions. Also, get yogurt low in sugar, because sugar can assist Candida in thriving by aiding their overgrowth.
4. Lemon Juice and Lemongrass
Both lemon juice and lemongrass contain antifungal properties, and lemongrass is a lemony-scented plant that belongs to the grass family. When it comes to the ability of lemon juice and lemongrass to fight off oral thrush, more research is required. However, a study carried out in 2009 discovered that two ingredients could be effective natural remedies against oral thrush. Both lemongrass and lemon juice help treat oral thrush in participants that have HIV. Use lemongrass and lemon juice infusion as a mouth rinse for best result.
Garlic has both antibiotic and antifungal properties. However, recent research has indicated that eating garlic does not affect the level of vaginal yeast. Some women have tried using it internally as an alternative to taking garlic orally. They claim to experience relief from yeast infection by placing a clove of garlic, threaded with a string, into the vagina throughout the night. While no evidence supports the efficacy of this method, it is a low-risk natural remedy for yeast infection.
People with sensitive skin may experience skin damage or burning. Therefore, people with sensitive skin should not use garlic. If the burning sensation worsens, you should stop using it.
In addition, a vaginal cream that contains thyme and garlic has been discovered to be as potent as clotrimazole vaginal cream in the treatment of yeast infection.
6. Gentian Violet
Methyl violet 10B and crystal violet are the other names gentian violet is known for. Gentian violet is a kind of antiseptic dye commonly used throughout the 19tgh century because its properties can kill several pathogens, such as parasites, fungi, and bacteria. When gentian violet was tested during a study against various forms of fungi, it was shown to be pretty effective against Candida. Although scientists are not certain about how it works, they theorize that it can pass through the cell walls of the fungus, allowing it the opportunity to be able to kill it.
Gentian violet is a topical OTC remedy that you can purchase at either pharmacies or online without a prescription. To be able to apply gentian violet, dab a small amount of it on a cotton swab and apply it to the tongue, cheeks, and gym. Gentian violet is considerably effective against thrush.
7. Excellent Oral Hygiene
It is crucial to practice good oral hygiene in all aspects of health, especially when oral thrush is concerned. Good oral hygiene can ensure that oral thrush does not develop at all. When practicing good oral hygiene to heal and prevent oral thrush, choosing the right toothbrush is an essential step. A soft-bristle toothbrush is often the best kind to use. Plaque that develops between the teeth can also drive an infection, so completely getting rid of it by flossing is very critical. In addition, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash and not meeting regular dental appointments can go a long way in preventing oral thrush.
Wearing dentures may put you at a higher risk of developing oral thrush due to poor-fitting dental plaque, trapped leftover food, and rough surfaces on the false teeth. Cleaning the dentures regularly with a toothbrush and a cleaning solution is also essential. If you know that you are prone to developing oral thrush, changing your toothbrush before three months can also prevent the infection from occurring or recurring.
You can certainly try home remedies for thrush to help with oral thrush or any other form of thrush. Still, you should not ignore seeking medical advice from the proper physician to get the right diagnosis before starting any natural treatment. Your doctor can also give you the option to use prescription medications that have proven to battle the fungus. However, using natural remedies alongside a prescription medication increases the speed of the healing process and relieves you from some of the more uncomfortable symptoms of oral thrush.