Oral thrush develops due to an overproduction of the fungus Candida albicans, a form of yeast. Oral thrush is characterized by creamy white spots that appear on the tongue and cheeks of the mouth. These spots are painful and bleed lightly when scratched. Candida albicans is common in the mouth but controlled from overgrowth by healthy bacteria. A compromised immune system or an overabundance of antibiotics can kill off the healthy bacteria. Physicians may prescribe medications but many people choose to treat the infection at home.
Probiotics are supplements or foods that help restore the healthy bacteria that live in the body. The MayoClinic.com says that probiotics do not kill the Candida fungus but instead allow the body to rebuild its defenses against the yeast, allowing it to naturally kill off the overgrowth. Acidophillus supplements and yogurt contain probiotics. An acidophillus supplement comes in capsule form and is often taken several times a day until the infection clears up. Yogurt naturally contains millions of healthy bacteria that can help treat thrush and even improve digestion. Unsweetened plain yogurt works best for the treatment of thrush as candida feeds off of sugar often found in flavored, sweetened yogurts.
The healthy bacteria in the body give off hydrogen peroxide, killing the yeast. Using a mixture of diluted three percent hydrogen peroxide solution will kill off the thrush just as the healthy bacteria would, according to the National Institute of Health. NaturalNews.com also offers up apple cider vinegar as a way to treat candida albicans. Apple cider vinegar has natural enzymes that can regulate the presence of candida in the body. Apple cider vinegar also restores the body’s pH level to fight the candida overgrowth. For the treatment of oral thrush raw apple cider vinegar is best. One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar should be taken every day until the infection has resolved. Apple cider vinegar has a strong taste and odor. Most people find it easier to take if first diluted in water and sipped over the course of the day. Heating the water and adding honey may make the vinegar into a more palatable tea while others sprinkle it over salads.
Many herbal supplements have antifungal properties. Some herbal supplements can be poisonous if taken incorrectly. People wanting to use herbs should always consult a licensed practitioner before use. Pau d’arco bark may help resolve a thrush infection when taken as a tea, using two tablespoons of the herb to one quart of water. It can even be used as a douche when suffering from a vaginal yeast infection, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Tea tree oil works to effectively treat thrush when used as a mouthwash. However, tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed, and a physician should supervise usage. The University of Maryland Medical Center also says that pomegranate gel was shown to be equally as effective as prescription miconazole gel for treating thrush caused by dentures.
Based in Florida, Martina McAtee has been writing health and fitness articles since 2003. She attended Keiser University, graduating with an Associate of Science in nursing. McAtee is currently working toward a master's degree in nursing from Florida Atlantic University.