Oral thrush, says the Mayo Clinic, is a fungal disease of the tongue and mouth. The yeast responsible for oral thrush, Candida albicans, is always present in your mouth, but your immune system normally keeps it from spreading. If your immune system is compromised, however, your mouth and tongue may develop the white lesions of oral thrush. Thrush also occurs in infants, denture users and people who use corticosteroid inhalers for respiratory problems.
Treating Infant Oral Thrush
Simply waiting out your baby's oral thrush may be enough because the condition often subsides on its own in one or two weeks. But if your baby is uncomfortable, says the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, treat her thrush by painting the inside of her mouth with the antifungal gentian violet.
Breastfeeding your baby while she has oral thrust may infect your nipples, so ask your doctor if you should treat them as well. If you bottle-feed your baby, always rinse the bottles' nipples in a 1:1 solution of water and vinegar after each feeding. Allow them to air dry. If you bottle-feed your baby breast milk, rinse any pieces of your breast pump that your milk has touched. Rinse and air dry pacifiers as well.
Treating Adult Oral Thrush
Adult oral thrush treatment is a two-pronged approach, addressing both the symptoms of the disease and the underlying health issues that allow the Candida albicans yeast to spread. HIV, diabetes and cancer are all immune-compromising conditions that may cause secondary oral thrush.
Although it happens rarely, oral thrush does affect healthy adults. If you've been cleared of any underlying diseases, start eating unsweetened yoghurt each day to treat oral thrush. It contains millions of friendly bacteria that will reduce your lesions by normalising the conditions in your mouth.
As a yoghurt alternative, take a daily acidophilus supplement, available at your local health food store.
Thrush that proves resistant to these efforts may require a prescription antifungal drug. These medications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include liquid suspensions like Nystatin.
Divide your prescribed dose of the liquid in half, putting one portion on each side of your mouth. Either swish it around or let it sit as long as possible before swallowing it. If you have dentures, ask your doctor about soaking them overnight to kill fungus.
You doctor may prescribe an antifungal lozenge like clotrimazole, sold as Mycelox. Place the lozenge in your mouth and let it dissolve completely. Even if it lasts for 30 minutes, don't chew it.
Finish any medication your doctor prescribes even if your symptoms have subsided.