You don’t always need strong drugs such as fluconazole or nystatin to treat oral thrush – sometimes, gargling with a natural solution might work just as well.
Oral thrush is an ugly, but relatively easy to treat fungal infection of the mouth. The main symptoms are creamy, white patches on your tongue and cheeks.
Oral thrush is relatively rare in healthy adults. It’s more common among young children and the elderly, because it needs a weak immune system in order to develop. As the immune system is weakened – for instance, if you’ve got AIDS or cancer, or if you’ve been taking antibiotics for longer periods – a certain species of fungus in your mouth, known as candida albicans, grows disproportionately, eventually leading to oral thrush.
This disproportionate growth may also be caused by other factors: improper oral hygiene, wearing dentures, smoking or taking steroids can all cause thrush. As you can see, all these factors perturb the natural balance of organisms in your mouth, favoring candida overgrowth.
Among the many types of thrush treatments available, using a natural mouthwash is one of the safest choices. That’s because, most of the times, the compounds in natural mouthwashes won’t interfere with other medication you might be taking. This is a great advantage over synthetic drugs, which sometimes have pretty unpleasant side-effects if combined.
Active compounds in natural ingredients have been shown to cure oral thrush by directly affecting the candida albicans colonies in your mouth. Gargling with these solutions has been shown to be effective after just a few applications. There is no clearly determined period of treatment, as the strength of the solution plays an important role. If your mouthwash of choice seems to be ineffective after a few days of use, you may want to consult a doctor.
Some essential oils have been shown to kill candida albicans and lower the spread of thrush. The most commonly-used is coconut oil. If it’s solid, you should melt the oil first, then use one teaspoon of oil to gargle thoroughly. Do that three times a day, after meals, and your symptoms should improve within two weeks.
Another great home remedy is salt. Add one tablespoon of salt to one cup of water and use the mouthwash to gargle thoroughly. Repeat a few times a day for several days, until the symptoms are gone.
Tea Tree Oil
You can also use tea tree oil. Add 4/5 drops to one cup of warm water and use that to gargle thoroughly twice a day for several days, until the infection improves. Be careful not to swallow, as there may be some unpleasant side effects.
Some natural ingredients can be used to create efficient thrush mouthwashes. Their main advantage over synthetic drugs is that they have low interactions with other medication, thus making them more suitable for patients following additional courses of medication.
As always, remember to consult your doctor as soon as you notice the first thrush symptoms – starting the treatment earlier will result in a quick and less troublesome healing.