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Oral thrush can be treated with a homemade mouthwash, or, in more serious cases, a prescription mouthwash or lozenge. Oral thrush is a yeast infection that affects the mucus membrane lining of your mouth and tongue. It is most common in people:
- who have diabetes or HIV/AIDS
- who are taking steroid medications, chemotherapy, cancer-suppressing drugs, or high doses of antibiotics (for a long period of time)
- who are very old or very young, or who are in poor health
- who have poorly fitting dentures
In infants, the best approach is to not treat thrush at all, because it usually goes away in a couple of days. If you have any concerns, call your pediatrician. For people with diabetes, controlling blood sugar more effectively can help control thrush outbreaks. Eating yogurt or over-the-counter acidophilus capsules may help clear up thrush, especially if it is caused by antibiotic use. Home treatment includes using a soft toothbrush and rinsing your mouth with a diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide solution several times a day. If the condition persists or is severe, or if it is a result of a weakened immune system, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal mouthwash (nystatin) or lozenges (clotrimazole) to suck on. If these don't work, stronger medications may be prescribed.
Antifungal medications are the most common treatment for oral thrush. Mild antifungal treatments can even be given to newborns with the condition. For people with compromised immune systems, however, antifungal medications alone may not be strong enough to combat the condition. In this case, other medications, like amphotercin B, may be used.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.