What is Oral Thrush and 13 Remedies


Hi everyone

In today's episode, I’m going over the question.....

What is oral thrush and 13 remedies to help treat it 

I'm Dr. Anna

and In the next few minutes you are going to learn…

What is oral thrush, why does it happen, how do you know if you have it and what can be done to help?

Head over to www.mysmilegenius.com to get the Free Dry Mouth eBook and other resources to help you with dry mouth.

With that being said

👉👉 Do you think you have thrush or have you had it before? Let me know in the comments about your experience.  

If you notice that there is a white coating or redness (which can be painful or not) on your tongue, roof of your mouth, or the inside of your cheeks it is possible you have oral thrush. It is important to be evaluated by a medical professional to test for the condition and be treated.

What is oral thrush?

Oral thrush is a yeast/fungal infection in the mouth. You might had heard of it being called candidiasis (because of the type of yeast that causes it which is named Candida albicans).

About 35-50% of humans possess C. albicansas part of their normal oral flora or oral environment (5) Some studies suggest this figure reaches even 90%. It usually lives in balance with the naturally-occurring bacteria in the mouth, only to cause problems where a disturbance in this balance occurs.

What are some possible signs of thrush?

It depends on the type of thrush you may have. Most happen with some sort of lesions (white and or red) and can be painless or cause a burning sensation (sometimes can appear as Burning Mouth Syndrome). (8). Some can be occur with metallic, acidic, salty or bitter taste in the mouth. If thrush extends to the throat, one can have difficulty breathing and or swallowing.

Types of Thrush:

  • Acute pseudomembranous candidiasis also called “thrush” and is considered the “classic form” It is characterized by a white slough which can be wiped away. It usually appears on the tongue, roof of the mouth and the inside of the cheek. (2)
  • Erythematous (atrophic) candidiasisis when the oral mucosa appears as a red, raw-looking lesion. (3) It is often associated with inhalation steroids (used for treatment of asthma). Acute (or fast acting) erythematous candidiasis usually occurs on the top the tongue in individuals taking long term corticosteroids or antibiotics. Chronic erythematous (long-acting) candidiasis occurs in patients wearing dentures.
  • Hyperplastic or “plaque-like” candidiasis, “nodular candidiasis” usually occurs on the inside of the cheeks and looks like thrush except it cannot be rubbed off with tissue. It is the least common form of candidiasis (3)


What are some possible causes of thrush?

-      Endoctine disorders (diabetes).

-      Some antibiotics (as they can disturb the balance of bacteria in the oral                 cavity).

-      Nutritional deficiencies.

-      Dentures – especially if they are not well cleansed or if they are not fitting              well.

-      Corticoid inhalers (such as those used for asthma).

-      Dry Mouth.

-      Immunosuppression (HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy).

-      High sugar diet.


How do you find out for sure if you have thrush?

You do this be seeing your doctor where he/she will interview you about your medical history and then do an examination. Sometimes that is enough to diagnose thrush. Other times the doctor will need to take a sample by gently scraping the affected area and examining it under a microscope and by sending it out to a lab. If your doctor suspects you may have an undiagnosed medical illness which could be causing thrush, further medical testing will need to be performed.

Why Does Dry Mouth Cause Thrush?

The oral cavity is very similar to the stomach in that it contains naturally-existing “good” and “bad” bacteria all of which are kept under control when there is a healthy environment. Whenever there is a disruption to this balance, that is when problems can begin. 

Saliva in the mouth serves as both, a mechanical-cleansing function and as defense against bad bacteria because it includes antibodies (Immunoglobulin A) and enzyme components (such as lysozyme and lactoperoxidase) (1). When there is less saliva, the defense system of the body goes down and disease has a better opportunity to become established.


What are the treatment options? How can I get rid of oral thrush?

  • Full medical examination and treatment: It is important to identify and treat underlying medical conditions which will help prevent recurrent thrush infections. 
  • Medications: Thrush can be treated in most cases with topical anti-fungal drugs such as Nystatin, Miconazole, Amphotericin B. Possible stronger dosages of medications may be needed. For patients what are immunocompromised, such as those with HIV/AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy, oral or intravenous administration of anti-fungal medication may be needed.
  • Procedures: Lesions (the patches which show up in the mouth) may need to be surgically removed especially if they return multiple times. (6)
  • Patients who experience thrush due to steroid inhalation (inhalers) or antibiotic use should talk to their doctor about alternative types of medications. With inhaled corticosteroids it is helpful to rinse mouth with water after the administration of the medication. (7)
  • Use antibiotics only when doctor directs.
  • For denture users: It is important to take dentures off at night to allow the tissues to recover and re-oxygenate. There are various denture-cleaning techniques which should be discussed with your dentist as each one is appropriate for the specific materials which are used in the denture, as some can be damaging. These solutions include sodium hypochlorite, chlorohexidine and vinegar (acetic acid).
  • In terms of oral hygiene 2x per day brushing is recommended as well as 1x per day flossing. Re-place your toothbrush regularly to prevent re-infection.
  • If you’re a diabetic, control your sugar levels.
  • And follow a healthy lifestyle which includes a low sugar, anti-inflammatory diet.


Home remedies that can help with thrush:

These are meant as support, not as replacement for antifungal medications and there are no concrete studies to show a direct effect of these in curing oral thrush but it is possible that they may help.

  • Saltwater: its an antiseptic and has cleansing properties. However, if you have dry mouth, and or mouth sores it may irritate tissues, so try with caution. Take a cup of lukewarm water and mix in a tablespoon of salt, swish for 20 seconds and spit. DO not swallow.
  • Coconut Oil one study (not done on humans) has demonstrated that coconut oil has antifungal effects. (12) You can take a tablespoon of raw, organic coconut oil swish for 20 seconds and spit. You can also use lukewarm cup of water and mix in a tablespoon of the oil, swish for 20 seconds and spit. Do not swallow.
  • One of the ways which thrush thrives is if the balance of the good bacteria in our oral cavity is disrupted. One way to help re-generate the good bacteria and restore the balance is through probiotics. Though there is not much human research that was done on the effects of oral probiotics at this time(9), the health-promoting effects of probiotic bacteria are well documented and could be explored as a potential benefit to oral health which could also include gum disease, bad breath (halitosis) and or cavities. (10)
  • Vitamin C. It plays an essential role for the production of collagen which is important for our tissues and is also an important antioxidant which helps boost your immune system to help fight off infections better. According to the National Institutes of Health Females above the age of 19 should consume at least 75mg daily and Males above the age of 19, 90 mg daily. (11) You can obtain vitamin C from food sources which include citrus fruits, tomatoes, tomatoes juice, potatoes, broccoli etc. Consuming 5 varied servings of fruits and vegetables a day can provide more that 200 mg of Vitamin C. If Please note that prolonged storage and overcooking of foods can destroy vitamin C at it is water soluble. If you are not getting enough of the vitamin from your diet, you can take supplements.

👉👉 Do you think you have thrush or have you had it before? Let me know in the comments about your experience. 

Dr. Anna

CEO of Smile Genius

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  1. Scully C Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine : the basis of diagnosis and treatment(3rd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. pp. 254–267. (2013). 
  2. Greenberg MS, Glick M, Ship JA. Burket's oral medicine(11th ed.). Hamilton, Ont.: BC Decker. pp. 79–84. (2008)
  3. Rhodus, NL "Treatment of oral candidiasis"(PDF). Northwest Dentistry. 91(2): 32–3. (Mar–Apr 2012). 
  4. Salerno, C; Pascale, M; Contaldo, M; Esposito, V; Busciolano, M; Milillo, L; Guida, A; Petruzzi, M; Serpico, R "Candida-associated denture stomatitis"(PDF). Medicina Oral, Patologia Oral y Cirugia Bucal. 16(2): e139–43. (Mar 1, 2011). 
  5. Bouquot, Brad W. Neville, Douglas D. Damm, Carl M. Allen, Jerry E. Oral & maxillofacial pathology(2. ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. pp. 189–197. (2002). 
  6. Shah, N; Ray, J. G; Kundu, S; Sardana, D "Surgical management of chronic hyperplastic candidiasis refractory to systemic antifungal treatment". Journal of Laboratory Physicians. (2): 136–139. (2017). 
  7. Anne Field, Lesley Longman William R Tyldesley Tyldesley's Oral medicine(5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 35–40. (2003). 
  8. Rhodus, NL (Mar–Apr 2012). "Treatment of oral candidiasis"(PDF). Northwest Dentistry91 (2): 32–3.
  9. Haukioja, Anna. “Probiotics and oral health.” European journal of dentistry 4,3 (2010): 348-55.
  10. Probiotic and other functional microbes: from markets to mechanisms.Saxelin M, Tynkkynen S, Mattila-Sandholm T, de Vos WMCurr Opin Biotechnol. 2005 Apr; 16(2):204-11
  11. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/#h2
  12. JOURNAL OF MEDICINAL FOOD J Med Food 10 (2) 2007, 384–387 © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. and Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition

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