10 Home Remedies for Thrush

Medically Reviewed By Stacy Sampson, D.O.
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Oral thrush is an infection due to an overgrowth of yeast fungus. It causes white patches on your tongue or inner cheeks. There are some remedies you can try at home to manage oral thrush. One of the main ways you can manage and prevent oral thrush is by practicing proper oral hygiene. This includes:

  • brush your teeth twice a day
  • keep your dentures clean
  • go for regular dental check-ups
  • use a soft toothbrush to brush your tongue and gums
  • rinse your mouth after eating or taking medications

Discuss any treatments with your doctor before trying them.

This article will discuss 10 more home remedies for oral thrush.

1. Salt water

Person brushing their teeth in front of a mirror
Boris Jovanovic/Stocksy United

Rinsing your mouth with salt water can help to prevent infection. It can also reduce pain from oral thrush and mouth sores. To make and use a salt water rinse:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon salt and and 1 cup warm water together.
  • Take a mouthful of the mixture.
  • Hold the salt water in your mouth for 2 minutes, covering the affected area.
  • Spit the mixture out. Do not swallow it.
  • Repeat the process 4 times a day.

Learn more about oral thrush.

2. Baking soda

Rinsing your mouth with a baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, solution may help to manage oral thrush.

Candida is a type of fungus that causes oral thrush. A 2009 study looked at the effect of sodium bicarbonate on candida albicans. This study’s focus was meant to simulate disinfecting dentures daily.

The study concluded that while baking soda may not have been the most effective disinfectant, it can be an effective alternative.

To make and use a baking soda rinse:

  • Mix 1 quart of water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Swish the rinse in your mouth for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Spit the rinse out. Do not swallow it.

3. Probiotics

A 2019 study showed that probiotics may help to treat certain types of infection due to candida. This includes oral thrush. According to this study, cases of oral thrush have been on the rise. This may be the due to the introduction of new medications, aging, and an increased prevalence of chronic illnesses.

In the past, probiotics have been shown to have antifungal properties. They may help as a treatment for oral thrush because they do not have the same side effects and antifungal resistance issues that many prescription medications do.

This study stated that probiotics may be a good alternative treatment for oral thrush.

Learn more about probiotics.

4. Apple cider vinegar

Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar has some antifungal properties. This means it may be an effective alternative for treating oral thrush.

To treat oral thrush with an apple cider vinegar rinse, try the following:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of warm water.
  • Swish it in your mouth for 15 seconds.
  • Spit it out.
  • Repeat 2 or 3 times daily.

5. Lemon juice

A study from 2009 showed that lemon juice may be effective in treating oral thrush. This study was conducted on people with HIV or AIDS, as oral thrush is a common occurrence with those conditions. While the study was small, it did show that lemon juice or lemon grass was effective in treating oral thrush.

You can simply apply lemon juice directly into your mouth. Or you can try a lemon drink:

  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a cup of water.
  • Add a bit of honey to taste.
  • Drink the lemon water.

6. Tea tree oil

A 2012 study conducted on people with cancer who experienced oral thrush showed that tea tree oil may be an effective treatment. This study, as well as others, showed that tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties. This means it may be an effective alternative to other prescription treatments for oral thrush.

To use tea tree oil to treat oral thrush, try the following:

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil in 2 teaspoons of water.
  • Swish in your mouth for at least 30 seconds.
  • Spit it out.

7. Oil pulling

Oil pulling is a long-standing home remedy for many oral health-related issues, including oral thrush. It involves swishing oil vigorously in your mouth, similar to when using mouthwash. This is meant to pull bacteria and fungi from your mouth and help to cure or control many oral issues.

Oil pulling is typically done with edible oils like sunflower, coconut, or sesame oils.

To practice oil pulling, follow these steps:

  • Take 1 tablespoon of your chosen oil, like sesame.
  • Swish it between your teeth for 15 to 20 min.
  • Spit it out, trying not to swallow the oil.
  • Rinse your mouth out, then brush and floss like usual.
  • Repeat this up to 3 times daily.

It is recommended that you do oil pulling first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

8. Yogurt

The probiotics found in many yogurts may help to treat oral thrush. They will not cure the issue. However, they may help to limit its growth.

A small 2014 study showed promising results in helping to reduce fungus in the study participants’ mouths.

When eating yogurt to help manage oral thrush:

  • Choose unsweetened yogurts.
  • Eat yogurt a couple of times a day at the first sign of oral thrush.
  • Try probiotic supplements if you do not like yogurt.

9. Garlic

A small 2005 study found that applying garlic paste to your mouth had the same effectiveness as an antifungal medication.

Other studies have also shown that the antifungal properties found in garlic may be effective in treating oral thrush.

To use garlic to help manage oral thrush, you can apply garlic paste to your mouth or chew on a raw piece of garlic once or twice a day. Garlic can burn your mouth, so begin with a small piece first.

10. Turmeric

Turmeric has long been used in herbal medicines, and is known to have antifungal properties. Turmeric has been shown to inhibit fungal growth.

To use turmeric to manage oral thrush, try the following drink:

  • Take 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric paste.
  • Add a dash of black pepper, if desired.
  • Add 1 cup of water or milk.
  • Heat it all together in a saucepan.
  • Swish the mixture around your mouth as you drink it.

Summary

There has been an increase in cases of oral thrush. This may be due to the use of antifungal medications and the resistance they may cause.

There are many home remedies that may help manage and treat oral thrush. These include probiotics, garlic, and turmeric.

Speak with your doctor before trying any alternative treatments for oral thrush.

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Medical Reviewer: Stacy Sampson, D.O.
Last Review Date: 2022 Sep 29
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