10 Natural Remedies for Thrush in Mouth
Thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth, and it’s most common in newborns and toddlers. Here’s a look at some home remedies you could try to treat it.
Thrush is an infection by the candida fungus—otherwise known as yeast—which causes white raised patches in the mouth that can be painful. It can also be a source of foul breath. “We know that thrush develops with an increase in sugar in the mouth or an altered pH,” says Taz Bhatia, MD, an integrative health expert and the author of Super Woman RX. “Both these factors affect the bacterial load in the mouth, encouraging or discouraging yeast growth.” The infection most often occurs in babies, or in children or adults who are using antibiotics or have compromised immune systems.
Probiotics or yogurt
The beneficial bacteria in probiotics and yogurt can help heal thrush in mouth. “Probiotics or yogurt with active cultures may be helpful to restore the balance of good bacteria in the mouth,” says Carrie Brown, MD, a pediatrician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Good oral hygiene
While you’re brushing, make sure that you clean not only your teeth but your tongue as well. Those habits—along with rinsing your mouth thoroughly with antiseptic mouthwash—can help in your fight against mouth thrush, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Salt comes in pretty handy when you’re cooking, but its uses extend way past the kitchen. One popular use is something doctors often recommend: A salt water rinse to help ease the symptoms of the yeast infection and clean out thrush in mouth, according to the Mayo Clinic. Find out more healthy home remedies right in your spice rack.
A diet change
Yeast feeds on sugar, so some doctors recommend reducing the amount of sugar in your diet if you have thrush—and if you’re breastfeeding an infant with thrush. “Sugar feeds yeast and any reductions are helpful,” says Dr. Bhatia.
Luis Echeverri Urrea/Shutterstock
Some natural healers suggest swabbing the inside of the mouth with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda and one cup of water, to help make the mouth more inhospitable to yeast. This is mostly a treatment for adults: Because of concerns about changing a baby’s electrolyte balance, and the possibility of aspirating the solution, Dr. Brown suggests avoiding this remedy for young babies. Find out 18 more home remedies proven to work.
Coconut oilPetrut Romeo Paul/Shutterstock
A 2007 study found that coconut oil could help kill at least some strains of bacteria, so swabbing the mouth with coconut oil could potentially help fight the thrush in mouth.
Tea tree oil
The antiseptic benefits of tea tree oil have led many natural healers to suggest rinsing the mouth with a few drops of tea tree oil diluted in water, according to Dr. Bhatia. Don’t miss these 56 old-time remedies we need to bring back.
Stronger cleaning techniques
For babies, ensuring that anything they put in their mouth—from spoons and pacifiers to mom’s breast—is exceptionally clean can help reduce reinfection and recurrence. “Working to decrease the amount of yeast on things that go into the baby’s mouth by boiling or dish-washing—in hot water—bottle nipples and pacifiers can help,” Dr. Brown says.
While home remedies may help, in some cases, you’ll need to see the doctor for a course of antifungal medications to clear up the thrush in the mouth. “Often an anti-yeast and anti-fungal medication, such as nystatin, is needed if the white patches are large,” Dr. Brown says. “Nystatin works by directly contacting the yeast so be sure to apply it directly onto the white spots as many times a day as you are directed by your doctor.” If you’re breastfeeding an infant who has thrush in the mouth, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream to apply to your breasts to reduce the chance of recurrence. Next, check out these 50 natural remedies that really work.