Also known as oral candidiasis, oral thrush is characterized by the formation of creamy white lesions in the oral cavity, such as on the inner cheeks, tongue, and even the tonsils and roof of the mouth. The problem is caused by a fungus known as candida albicans. Actually, there is candida albicans present in your mouth at any given time. However, it can cause oral thrush when it multiplies uncontrollably, leading to an infection.
Just about anyone can develop oral thrush. However, it is more common in babies and the elderly due to the fact that their immune systems sometimes are incapable of keeping the population of candida albicans in check. Needless to say, individuals with weakened or compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV or AIDS, are at higher risk of oral thrush. The same is true for those who have certain diseases like diabetes. The intake of antibiotics or corticosteroids may also cause the number of candida albicans to increase. Someone with cancer and is undergoing radiation treatment or radiation treatment is at risk, too. There is no need for a person to have a certain health condition just to develop oral thrush because something as simple as the use of ill-fitting dentures may cause it as well.
Oral thrush rarely produces serious complications in babies and adults. However, those with suppressed immune systems may suffer from systemic infection brought about by candida albicans. It’s not unlikely for the said fungus to infect the likes of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, lungs and heart valves.
In order to have the problem treated, the fungus behind it needs to be killed to prevent the further spreading of oral thrush. A doctor may prescribe antifungal drugs that come in the form of mouth rinse, lozenge or tablet. Mild antifungal medications may be administered to babies with oral thrush in order to put an end to the infection as well as to keep their breastfeeding mothers from being infected. Adults with weakened or suppressed immune systems may be given stronger antibiotics, but it’s not unlikely for them to cause some serious side effects.
There are a number of home remedies for oral thrush that are deemed effective for adults with the infection but do not have health issues that cause the suppression of their immune systems. Some of these home remedies are:
- Cranberry juice – Drinking 2 to 3 glasses of cranberry juice is said to be superb at controlling oral thrush. Make sure that you opt for unsweetened cranberry juice. Similarly, you may take cranberry tablets 2 to 3 times a day.
- Oregano oil – Place 3 drops of oregano oil in a glass of water and consume. This should be done up to 3 times a day. Oregano oil contains a certain compound (carvacrol) that is known as an effective all-natural antifungal.
- Tea tree oil – This powerful oil from nature is known to effectively zap candida albicans. In a cup of water, place 5 to 7 drops of tea tree oil. Gargle with it for 2 minutes. Do it 2 times a day. Remember not to swallow!
- Coconut oil – Just like tea tree oil, coconut oil is scientifically-proven to be an excellent antifungal. Gargle with coconut oil up to 2 times a day. Similarly, you may include it in your diet by adding it to salads or smoothies.
- Green tea – Something as simple as enjoying a cup of green tea several times a day can put an end to oral thrush. Green tea is known to help control fungal infections and strengthen the immune system too.
- Apple cider vinegar – This sour condiment is proven to be effective against all sorts of infections, including oral thrush. Just add a tablespoon of it in 1/2 cup of warm water and gargle with it. Do this up to 4 times per day.
- Saltwater rinse – In a cup of warm water, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Gargle with this for a couple of minutes then spit out. Rinse with saltwater up to 4 times a day to attain immediate relief from oral thrush.
- Yogurt – Snacking on yogurt is an effective remedy for oral thrush because the good bacteria in it can kill off candida albicans. Just make sure that you opt for plain/unsweetened yogurt. Also, consume the treat very slowly.