Thrush is a type of yeast infection caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, which is naturally in the body. Thrush is most likely to appear in the mouth but can affect other areas of the body as well. Infants and people wearing dentures are more likely to get thrush. Over-the-counter and natural treatments may help you clear up thrush, though infants should see a doctor if they develop this condition.
Sugar feeds yeast, so avoid eating much while trying to eliminate thrush. Acidic foods like oranges and yoghurt can help return yeast levels to normal and eliminate thrush.
Over-the-counter medications to treat thrush include gentian violet and anti-fungal creams or mouthwashes. Anti-fungal creams and mouthwashes will have instructions for use on the label. Never use a product intended to treat fungal infections like athlete's foot because the cream could be toxic if ingested.
A study conducted by the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University and the Oral HIV/AIDS Research Alliance of Cleveland, Ohio, concluded that gentian violet worked better than more expensive options for treating HIV patients with oral thrush. Gentian violet is a flower extract available from most pharmacies. Paint the tongue frequently for a few days until the thrush is gone. Gentian violet is dark purple and easily stains fabrics.
Some herbs, including grapefruit seed extract, ginger and garlic, can help clear up oral thrush by reducing the amount of yeast in the body. Take these as capsules, teas or tinctures available from health food stores. Follow dosing guidelines listed on the product.
A strong immune system usually keeps yeast balance in check, so it is important to eat whole foods, restrict sugar intake and consider supplements such as echinacea to boost the immune system.