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Oral Thrush Facts

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.


What Is Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush (candidiasis) is a miserable condition caused by yeast, a type of fungus infection of the mouth. Candida albicans is a normal mouth organism, but it can overgrow and accumulate on the lining of the mouth. This overgrowth causes uncomfortable symptoms. This disease causes creamy white lesions that are typically on the tongue, but it can spread to the roof of the mouth, the gums or to the back of the throat.

This disease occurs most frequently in babies and older adults because they have reduced immunity. Anyone with a suppressed immune system and with some other medical problems can get this disease. Those with a very weakened immune system tend to get the most severe case, and it can be hard to control.

Oral Thrush Symptoms

While you may not notice symptoms of oral thrush initially there are several symptoms that may occur, including:

  • White patches on the inner cheeks, tongue, roof of the mouth, and throat
  • Slightly raised lesions with a cottage cheese-like appearance
  • Loss of taste
  • Cotton-like feeling in the mouth
  • Soreness and redness
  • Pain or difficulty while swallowing
  • Cracking and redness at the corners of the mouth
  • Slight bleeding if the lesions are scraped or rubbed

Severe cases are typically related to cancer or a weakened immune system, maybe due to HIV/AIDS and the lesions may spread into the esophagus.

Babies with this disease may have a problem feeding, and they tend to be fussy and irritable. They can even lead this disease to their mothers while breast-feeding. There are some specific symptom for mothers nursing babies with thrush, and they include:

  • The nipples become more sensitive, cracked, itchy and unusually red
  • Skin becomes flaky or shiny in the darker area around the nipple (areola)
  • Nipples are painful all the time and especially during nursing
  • A stabbing type of pain deeper within the breast

Who Is At An Increased Risk?

Some people have an increased risk of getting oral thrush, including:

  • Those with a weakened immune system - infants and those with medical conditions that require corticosteroids or chemotherapy (any drug suppressing the immune system)
  • Those with untreated or poorly controlled diabetes as sugar encourages candida growth
  • Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the same fungus and can be passed to your baby
  • Several medications, such as prednisone, inhaled corticosteroids and antibiotics
  • Wearing dentures, especially the upper dentures that don’t fit well
  • Condition that causes a dry mouth, such as Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Smokers

Oral Thrush Remedies


If oral thrush is left untreated it can spread into the body. A physician can diagnose thrush by simply looking in the mouth, but they may do a throat culture. They may elect to recommend blood tests, especially for a diabetic patient.

Your physician will choose a specific treatment based on your age and the cause of your infection. They will typically prescribe an antifungal medication (like nystatin). This medication is available in lozenges, tablets or liquid that is swished in the mouth and slowly swallowed. Babies are also treated with a gel or drops of an antifungal medication.

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Anyone with a lowered immunity may have a more serious candida infection. If this disease is left untreated it may spread into your esophagus and into other parts of the body. This is especially true for those receiving cancer treatment or those with HIV/AIDS.

Home Remedies

There are some things you can do to help prevent getting oral thrush. Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth, flossing and changing your toothbrush regularly. If you have dentures, talk to your dentist if they do not fit well, and find out the best way to disinfect them.

Other possible ways to prevent oral thrush include:

  • Use 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a cup of water, and swish it in your mouth for 15 seconds before spitting it out.
  • Vitamin C may also be helpful.
  • Use clove oil or add 1 teaspoon of whole ground cloves in a cup of boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Strain the solution and when it cools, swish the liquid in your mouth before spitting it out.
  • Make golden milk by combining ¼ to ½ teaspoon of turmeric paste, a dash of pepper and 1 cup of water or milk. Swish it in your mouth as you drink it.
  • Rinse your mouth with diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
  • Rinse your mouth using ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.
  • Rinse your mouth using ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water.
  • Eat unsweetened yogurt while on antibiotics.
  • Do not use mouthwash as it can change the flora in your mouth.
  • Apply gentian violet to the affected area with a cotton swab two or three times daily, or as directed by your doctor.
  • Use the juice of 1/2 a lemon to 1 cup of warm or cool water, then you may drink it or use it as a mouth rinse.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus can be used to help re-establish your normal gut or intestinal flora.

Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar were found to be effective in medical research studies.

How to Treat Candida at Home: Doctors Advice


If you are at a higher risk there are some things you can do to help prevent oral thrush, and they include:

  • Rinse you mouth carefully if you use a corticosteroid inhaler, and rinse your mouth after using any inhaler
  • Floss your teeth regularly, and brush your teeth twice daily
  • See your dentist regularly to check the fit of your dentures
  • Clean your dentures daily
  • Limit sugar-containing foods to reduce the sugar in your saliva
  • Diabetic patients should maintain a healthy blood sugar level
  • Treat a vaginal yeast infection promptly

Discuss your dry mouth with your physician as it may be due to a mediation that can be changed.

In Summary

Oral thrush is a very uncomfortable disease. If you are prone to getting this infection it is a good idea to take all of the preventative measures. If you begin to get the symptoms and the homeopathic methods do not work, then contact your physician as there are several medications to treat oral thrush.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Pamela Oglesby


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 01, 2021:

Hi Flourish,

You are right about the solutions easier than having the disease. I appreciate your comments.

Happy New Year!

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 31, 2020:

Yikes is this something to look out for! I had heard of the condition but had no idea. Those solutions seem a little unpleasant too but I’m sure nowhere near as unpleasant as the disease itself.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Linda,

I am glad to hear you are being careful, and rinsing your mouth is true for any inhaler. I have been on steroids for decades for lupus and lung disease, so I have had this disease. I have had it treated quickly however, so it never got as bad as those pictures.

I appreciate your comments, Happy New Year!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 31, 2020:

Thank you for creating this article, Pamela. You've shared some excellent information. I use an inhaled corticosteroid for my asthma and am always careful to rinse my mouth out afterwards. I don't want any symptoms of oral thrush!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

I appreciate your nice comments.

Happy New Year to you too!

manatita44 from london on December 31, 2020:

Quite scary indeed!! Really bad! You have presented your article in an excellent manner. Happy New Year!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Sp,

Since I have lupus and have been treated with prednisone I am immunsuppressed, therefore I have had this disease a couple of times. I have always gotten it treated very quickly, so I never had it look as bad as it does in those pictures.

I read you excellent article about ear buds but I am unable to comment. The directions were very good.

Have a wonderful new year.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

Yes, there are many things to treat this disease, but it i miserable at first. I appreciate your comments.

Happy New Year Peggy!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Devika, That is a very thoughtful thing to say, and I very much appreciate your comments. I am glad I have provided new information to you.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on December 31, 2020:

I hope I never get this. I don't know anyone who has had it either but it looks like it is a painful condition to have.

You have provided a lot of goodinformation here for anyone who is suffering from it or looking for ways to treat it.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 31, 2020:

That sounds terrible to have oral thrush. I am glad that I have never been bothered by it. It is good to know that there are natural-sounding remedies as well as prescribed ones to treat this condition.

Happy New Year, Pamela!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Devika,

Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you have a healthy and safe new year.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

I appreciate your comments. I hope you have a very wonderful new year.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Ankita,

I think learning about anything new is always a plus.

Thank you for your very nice comments. I hope you have a very happy new year.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Linda,

I have experienced this disease but never as bad as those photos. I am immune suppressed due to lupus, so it can happen but I get it treated immediately.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments, my friend, as always. I hope 2021 will be a wonderful year for you and your family.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 31, 2020:

You write with a passion and share in detail. I enjoy learning about new information and look forward to what you have to share on Hubpages.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 31, 2020:

Happy New Year to you Pamela99. Thank you for another informative hub.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 31, 2020:

Thrush in the mouth must be painful. It looks terrible. Another interesting article, well presented. Thank you Pamela

Ankita B on December 31, 2020:

It was interesting to read about this disease. I didn't know about this condition before. Excellent article and very well-explained.

Happy New Year!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on December 31, 2020:

Oh my goodness, that looks and sounds absolutely awful. Thank goodness I've never had any experience with this, nor has anyone that I know. A well-researched and well-written article, but I've come to expect that of you. You're good. Have a safe and wonderful New Year, my friend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Ann,

Any type of thrush is uncomfortable to say the least. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. They are always appreciated.

Happy New Year!

Ann Carr from SW England on December 31, 2020:

Good information and good advice for this unpleasant condition. Only had thrush once, after the birth of my first daughter - not in the mouth though and very uncomfortable!!

Your medical articles are always well-balanced and well presented.

Happy New Year!


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Linda,

Those pictures are showing rather severe cases, and yes it looks horrible. I appreciate your nice comments.

Have a good New Year!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on December 31, 2020:

I didn't know about the thrush oral. The images look in some the icky mouth. Pamela, your article is great!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi MG,

Thank you so much for your very nice comments. I think you are healthy and won't have to deal with this disease, but knowledge is good.

Happy New Year!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 31, 2020:

Wow ! what a wealth of information. I must thank you for your knowledge and the way you disseminate it.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Bill,

I think most peope would get thrush treated before it looks as bad as that picture. I appreciate your comments, and I am glad you are healthy.

Happy New Year to you too.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

This disase is not one you hear much about, but I think it is good to know tha facts too. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

Happy New Year!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 31, 2020:

Well that sounds and looks disgusting. Thank God I have a good immune far. LOL Happy New Year, my friend!

Rosina S Khan on December 31, 2020:

I don't think I have oral thrush but it was good to know about it and be aware of it through your helpful article. Thanks for the splendid share, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 31, 2020:

Hi Eric,

It is good to see you. You were missed. Of course, I appreciate your nice comments.

Happy new Year!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 31, 2020:

Pamela this is really well done as usual. It is good to know what to look for and how to treat it early. Thank you.

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