Natural Remedies for Oral Thrush

Natural Remedies for Oral Thrush

When you’re staring at white spots on your tongue and cheeks
and dealing with cottonmouth, you want it to go away—now.

These symptoms likely indicate oral thrush (also
called oral candidiasis), and while it’s typically nothing to be concerned
about, it can be uncomfortable.

What you’re seeing is an overgrowth of candida yeast.

Candida albicans—the same fungus that causes vaginal yeast
infections—naturally grow in the mouth.

But when something throws off the natural balance of the
oral microbiome and you get an overgrowth of the candida fungus, you develop oral

The most common oral thrush treatment is a prescription antifungal

However, natural remedies may help some people fight a
thrush infection.

To help you determine your best course of action, in this
article, I’ll explain the science behind 10 home remedies for oral thrush as
well as the symptoms of oral thrush and when you should see a doctor for
medical advice.

Home Remedies for Oral Thrush 

Things you likely have at home or can easily buy may help
treat a case of oral thrush or at least help you feel more comfortable until
you can see a doctor.

Keep in mind that while they are “natural”, at-home
therapies for yeast infections can still cause side effects.

So it’s best to talk to a healthcare provider before trying
any of these home remedies, especially if you have any underlying health
conditions that may be contributing to your candida infection.


Probiotics are
the “good” bacteria that provide a health benefit when you consume them.

In the case of oral thrush, this good bacteria may help
restore the balance of flora in your mouth so that candida albicans doesn’t

Somestudies show that taking probiotic supplements appears to protect
against oral thrush, particularly for people who wear dentures.

Supplements containing lactobacillus may have the most

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar, which is essentially fermented apple
juice, has natural antifungal properties.

And cell studies show
that the vinegar may fight the growth of candida.

However, it’s unclear if drinking apple cider vinegar can
prevent or treat oral thrush. 

If you choose to try this home remedy, be sure to dilute the
apple cider vinegar, as it is acidic and can damage tooth enamel.

Advocates of this method recommend using 1 teaspoon to 1
tablespoon apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water and using it like mouthwash


Salt (a.k.a. sodium chloride) is an antifungal,
hence, some believe an at-home saltwater rinse can be soothing for oral thrush
symptoms and other oral problems.

While there is no harm in trying this, there’s also no
research on this remedy.  

If you decide to try it, use 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1 cup warm
water, and be sure not to swallow after rinsing—spit the salt water out.

Oral hygiene 

Although it’s unknown if
good oral hygiene can prevent or heal oral thrush
, it’s never a bad idea to
take care of your teeth and gums.

Follow these steps:

  • Keep
    up with dental appointments for regular cleanings and checkups.

  • Brush
    and floss daily. 

  • Choose
    a soft-bristled toothbrush that won’t irritate your mouth further.

  • Change
    your toothbrush about every three months and use a soft toothbrush.

  • Drink
    enough water daily to prevent a dry mouth.

Baking soda

Baking soda is a common home remedy for oral thrush, but
this pantry staple isn’t well studied to prove its effectiveness.

In one trial, people who had oral reconstructive surgery and
used a baking soda saline rinse prevented oral thrush.

So while swishing baking soda and water probably won’t harm
you, it may not do anything to help treat oral thrush.

Gentian violet

Also known as crystal violet or methyl violet 10b, Gentian
violet is a type of antiseptic dye used in the 19th century to fight bacteria,
fungi, and parasites.

It’s been shown in studies to
be effective against candida albicans. 

You can find Gentian violet, an over-the-counter remedy, at
most drug stores.

Look for a 1% solution.

To use it, apply a bit to a cotton swab or cotton ball, then
gently dab it on the white spots in your mouth.

Keep in mind Gentian violet is a dye, so it can easily stain
your mouth or clothes. Also be careful not to swallow the solution.

Essential oils

Some essential oils may be a potential remedy for oral

The ones that seem to have at least some benefit include:

  • Clove
    : Due to its natural analgesic (pain-relieving) and
    antifungal properties, clove oil is commonly used as a home remedy for
    oral health and dental problems. Plus cell studies suggest it may prevent or treat oral
    thrush. You can make a clove mouth salve by adding a few drops of pure
    clove oil to an edible carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Apply it as
    needed to the white patches in your mouth, but keep in mind the oil may
    cause tingling or burning.

  • Lemongrass
    : This natural antimicrobial fights bacteria and fungi,
    and, according to cell studies, inhibits the growth of candida and
    therefore may help treat oral thrush. Dilute a few drops of the
    oil in a cup of water and use it as a mouth rinse as needed.

  • Rosemary
    : Another essential oil with antifungal properties,
    rosemary oil also appears to fight candida albicans. If you wish to try
    this, add a few drops to a cup of water, swish some in your mouth, then
    spit it out.

  • Tea
    tree oil
    : Also known as melaleuca oil, tea tree oil is
    antiseptic that may fight candida and therefore possibly treat oral
    thrush. One small study of people living with AIDS found
    that using mouthwash with tea tree oil helped treat oral thrush.
    Researchers credit a compound called terpinen-4-ol. As with other
    essential oils for oral thrush, use tea tree oil to make a mouthwash:
    Dilute a couple drops in water, rinse your mouth with some of this
    solution, and then spit out. 

Coconut oil

Coconut oil contains caprylic and lauric acid, both of which
have been shown to inhibit the growth of candida.

One study also suggests that coconut oil may be just as
powerful as the medication fluconazole in resolving oral thrush symptoms.

A practice called oil pulling may be helpful in fighting
oral fungus.

Simply place a tablespoon of raw, virgin coconut oil in your
mouth, swish it around as it melts, and spit it out.

If you can, aim to swish for about 20 minutes to get the
most benefit.

However, 5-10
minutes may also help


Because yogurt contains probiotics—”healthy” bacteria that
can prevent fungi overgrowth—it may be a helpful at-home remedy for oral

In one small study,
elderly adults consumed probiotic yogurt or regular cheese.

Those who ate the yogurt had a 32 percent reduction in oral
thrush incidence. 

If you try yogurt for oral thrush, choose plain yogurt
that’s low in sugar or has no added sugar.

Too much sugar in your diet may contribute to fungal
overgrowth and make your symptoms worse. 

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is considered a natural antifungal.

However, only one small
 has examined its effects on candida: People living with HIV who
also had oral thrush took gentian violet, lemon juice, or lemongrass for 11

The lemon juice appeared to help treat the infection. 

While more research is necessary, if you wish to try this,
squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water, and drink it.

You can also use a mixture of lemon juice and a cup of water
as a mouth rinse.

It may not be helpful to apply lemon juice directly to your
oral thrush lesions since the juice’s acidity can increase irritation.


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