Thrush is a yeast overgrowth that can cause sores on the tongue and inside of the mouth. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal oil distilled from the plant Melaleuca alternifolia. Although tea tree oil has been shown to be an effective remedy against yeast overgrowth in other parts of the body, it has not been scientifically tested as an oral thrush remedy.
According to a 2004 study at the University of Western Australia, tea tree oil works against the type of yeast that causes oral thrush by compromising the membrane functions of the yeast.
If using tea tree oil as a treatment for oral thrush, add three drops of tea tree oil to a cup of warm water, gargle for 30 seconds and then spit. You may also add one drop of tea tree oil to toothpaste before brushing.
Desert Essence makes a tea tree oil mouthwash, but the company makes no claims about its effectiveness as an oral thrush remedy. The tea tree oil mouthwash also contains witch hazel, glycerine, aloe vera and spearmint.
Oral thrush in infants often clears up within two weeks, and medical advice should be sought if it lasts longer. Because of potential toxicity, it is not recommended to give infants tea tree oil as a treatment for oral thrush.
Never swallow tea tree oil when using it as a treatment for oral thrush. In some individuals, tea tree oil may cause minor skin irritation, so do a patch test before using it as an oral thrush remedy.