A yeast fungus, Candida albicans, can cause an infection on your tongue called thrush. Symptoms of oral thrush include white lesions or sores that might bleed, and can spread to other areas of your mouth, such as the roof. For people with comprised immune systems, like HIV patients or the elderly, thrush is a common problem. If you’re healthy and think you might have thrush, there are some home remedies that might work to relieve it.
Warm Salt Water
One treatment that is successful for thrush is the salt water rinse. Dissolve 1/2 tsp. of salt into one cup of warm water. Swish the liquid around your mouth and then spit it out. Do not swallow it.
Tea Tree Oil
Another promising remedy consists of tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia). The best application is as a mouthwash made with one cap of the oil mixed into 12 ounces of water. Swish in your mouth for several seconds then spit out. Tea tree oil can be irritating in its natural form, so be sure to dilute it with water before using.
Yogurt contains live cultures that are known to fight yeast infections. Apply the yogurt to your tongue like a paste and let it sit until it dissolves naturally. This type of application applied several times a day will have no side effects. Adding yogurt to your diet on a regular basis is also a preventative way to fight future infections.
Acidophilus is a name for a group of friendly bacteria called probiotics. When purchased in capsule form, it can be crushed and applied to the tongue as a paste until it dissolves. It’s not a good idea to do this more than once a day. Exposure to probiotics can sometimes cause adverse affects on your digestive tract, such as diarrhea. Some people, however, take some form of probiotics every day as a dietary supplement.
The best treatment for any illness is prevention. Ways to avoid developing thrush are to limit yeasty foods like bread, and practice good oral hygiene including frequent brushing of the teeth. If you use a corticosteroid inhaler for asthma, rinse your mouth out often. If you suspect you have thrush, especially if you have diabetes or HIV, you should see your doctor immediately. Yeast infections can be dangerous to individuals with compromised immune systems.
Writing since 1999, Darla Ferrara is an award-winning author who specializes in health, diet, fitness and computer technology. She has been published in "Mezzo Magazine" and Diet Spotlight, as well as various online magazines. Ferrara studied biology and emergency medical technology at the University of Nebraska and Southeast Community College.