If you’ve ever woken up with a white tongue or maybe your mouth felt rough to the point it reminded you of cotton or even sandpaper, you might have been dealing with a case of oral thrush. It’s most often seen either in children with still-developing immune systems or older adults whose immune systems are starting to fail. The white film in your mouth due to thrush will typically go away on its own but keep reading to learn some home remedies to help speed up recovery or alleviate pain from your dentist in Rochester.
How Do I Identify Thrush?
Thrush is a fungal infection that can grow in your mouth, throat, and other parts of your body. It is caused by the overgrowth of the fungus Candida. The white film in your mouth can look like cottage cheese since it creates raised lesions on your tongue and cheeks.
It is easily irritated to where it can cause mouth pain and redness. Thrush can also lead to cracking of your tongue or the corners of your lips. It can even affect your ability to taste.
Home Remedies for Thrush
Fortunately, there are a number of actions you can take at home to combat thrush. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene for 3-4 weeks, here are some things to try:
Salt Water Rinse
Try dissolving half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Swish the rinse around for 1-2 minutes then spit. The salt can help soothe and cleanse your mouth.
Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of warm water. Swish for 1-2 minutes and then spit. Baking soda is a good at-home disinfectant.
When you have thrush, the yeast in your mouth is out of balance. Eating yogurt is a viable method to restore that balance. Look for unsweetened yogurt that has probiotics or live cultures. Yogurt won’t kill thrush, but it will stop its growth.
Don’t apply lemon juice directly to lesions since it can cause burning and irritation. Instead, mix the juice of half a lemon into a cup of water. Then, you can either drink the mixture or use it as a mouth rinse.
Curcumin, the compound found in turmeric, may help treat thrush due to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. You can make a drink using half a teaspoon of turmeric paste, a cup of water or milk, and a pinch of black pepper. Heat on the stove until warm. Then, as you drink the mixture, switch it around your mouth.
The antimicrobial and antifungal properties of oregano oil are effective against Candida. Use a mixture made with a few drops of oregano oil and water to swish around your mouth. Spit out the mixture after a few minutes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The antifungal properties of apple cider vinegar can help treat thrush. Combine one teaspoon of vinegar with a cup of water. Swish around your mouth for one minute and then spit.
Clove oil can be used as an antiseptic and pain reliever. You can either take a supplement or make a clove oil rinse. Steep ground clove in hot water for five minutes, then strain. Swish the mixture in your mouth, then spit.
How Do I Prevent Thrush?
Try these steps to avoid getting thrush:
- See your dentist twice per year
- Rinse your mouth after using a steroid inhaler
- Stay hydrated
- Limit your sugar intake
- Quit smoking
Thrush can go away on its own once you stop whatever is causing it. If these home remedies haven’t done the trick after a few weeks, it’s time to call your primary care provider. If they can’t eliminate the white film in your mouth, a visit to an ear, nose, and throat specialist may be your next step.
About the Author
Dr. Nicholas Brong earned his dental doctorate from the University of California at San Francisco. He loves having the opportunity to help patients achieve and maintain their healthiest smiles by offering them optimal care. Dr. Brong is a member of the American Dental Association. Part of your efforts to avoid thrush should be visiting him twice per year for a dental checkup and cleaning which you can schedule on his website or by calling (507) 288-1066.