How is yeast in the mouth and throat treated?

Nicole McHugh
Neonatal Nursing

Thrush is an infection in the mouth caused by the fungus Candida. This fungus is present in small amounts most of the time in our mouths. However, when someone's immune system is weakened, this fungus can grow in large amounts. It appears as white patches on the tongue and in the mouth and throat. Underneath these white patches are reddened lesions. It can be painful and can interfere with eating. It can be diagnosed by your dentist or health care provider.

People who are taking high doses of antibiotics or are on long-term antibiotics can be at risk for getting thrush. Other people at risk are those with weakened immune system, such as people taking steroids, those with HIV or AIDS, people on chemotherapy, and people who have received an organ transplant. Diabetics with high blood sugar levels are also at risk for thrush, since sugar can cause the fungus to grow.

Thrush is very common in infants. Infants who have thrush do not usually require treatment, and normally symptoms resolve within two weeks. If symptoms are present for longer than this, you should contact your pediatric health care provider. 

In adults, thrush can be treated with antifungal mouthwashes or lozenges prescribed by your health care provider. In some cases, you may need an oral antifungal pill called fluconazole. You can also use a soft toothbrush and use a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash.

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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.