Treatment for Oral Thrush in Adults and Children

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Treatment for oral thrush in adults, as well as children, often begins with simple home remedies to treat mild cases of this type of yeast infection. They can ease the symptoms of itching and burning, which also may be improved by keeping your mouth clean.

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, may go away with simple steps such as consuming beverages, eating active-culture yogurt, or taking probiotic pills, If it persists, you can treat oral thrush with prescription antifungal lozenges and mouthwashes. Your healthcare provider also may prescribe other antifungal drugs, if necessary.

This article explains how home remedies can help, and lists a number of remedies to try. It also discusses why you may need to see a provider for more serious cases, and both over-the-counter and prescription medications they may present as treatment options.

Home remedies for thrush
Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee

Oral Thrush Home Remedies

The classic signs of thrush—a white coating on the inside of the mouth, pain while eating, and loss of taste—usually disappear on their own. Even thrush in babies will often go away after a week or two.

Some home remedies that provide relief from itching and burning can be soothing to adults as well as children: popsicles, ice cream, chilled soups, smoothies, and crushed-ice beverages.  

Remedies to treat oral thrush at home include:

  • Warm salt water rinses for relief. You can make one by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Be sure kids spit the rinse out when they're done.
  • Keeping your mouth clean is a crucial part of treating thrush. Rinse your mouth with water after you eat and after taking medications—unless the medications are meant to coat your mouth to battle the yeast.
  • Using a soft toothbrush, brush your teeth, gums, and tongue twice a day. Keep your dentures clean and disinfect them daily. Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes; they may make a burning sensation worse.

Yogurt with active cultures contains Lactobacillus acidophilus (probiotic bacteria) that can edge out yeast in your mouth. Consult your pediatrician to discuss whether you should give it to a baby or small child.

Oral Thrush and Dentures

People who wear dentures are at an increased risk of developing oral thrush. It's a common cause of oral thrush in adults, made worse by poor denture cleanliness and oral hygiene practices. If you use dentures, be sure to wear and clean them as directed.

Over-the-Counter Therapies

Over-the-counter probiotic pills and drinks with Lactobacillus acidophilus can help restore friendly bacteria to the mouth and digestive tract.

These options can be appropriate in mild cases of thrush that develop after you've used antibiotics. As a bonus, they help restore the bacteria in your intestinal tract, which is often necessary after antibiotic treatment.


In determining how to treat your thrush or your child's thrush, your healthcare provider will consider age, health conditions, the severity of the infection, and whether the infection is likely to spread rapidly. 

The most common medications for treating oral thrush include the following.

Mycelex (clotrimazole)

Clotrimazole is a topical drug that is prescribed as a lozenge. The medicine is delivered as the lozenge slowly dissolves in the mouth over 20 to 30 minutes. It usually is taken five times a day. It is not recommended for children under age 3.

Mycostatin (nystatin)

Nystatin is also commonly prescribed in a lozenge or liquid mouthwash form. For newborns and infants, it is applied with a cotton swab or finger. The medication needs to be applied directly to the yeast. It is given up to four times per day for people in all age groups.

With liquid nystatin, you swish and swallow the medication. For infants, you can use a sterile gauze pad to rub the medication onto the white patches that have active yeast. Some people report that nystatin tastes bitter or acidic, so ask your pharmacist to add a flavoring like peppermint to make it more palatable.


While nystatin is preferred for younger infants, Miconazole gel (applied to the affected areas) may be used for babies older than 4 months.

Miconazole also appears to be more effective than nystatin as a treatment for oral thrush in adults although results were about the same for miconazole and other antifungals used in people living with HIV.

Oravig, a miconazole tablet, is available for those ages 16 and up. It is placed on the gum above the canine tooth in the morning and slowly dissolves throughout the day.

Diflucan (fluconazole)

Fluconazole is a stronger treatment for oral thrush and is usually used as a second-line treatment when nystatin is not effective. For people who are undergoing chemotherapy, it is most often prescribed in a tablet form that is taken once daily.

Common side effects of fluconazole include headaches, nausea, and dizziness, but they are generally mild. In some cases, fluconazole may be prescribed to prevent thrush during cancer treatment.

Other Options

If these prescription drugs are not effective, or there is a risk of a systemic fungal infection, your healthcare provider may use other antifungal medications, including azoles and echinocandins. These drugs are given intravenously (IV, meaning in a vein) and include:

  • Itraconazole
  • Posaconazole
  • Voriconazole
  • Amphotericin B

For symptom relief, a healthcare provider may prescribe a mouthwash that is a combination of several medications. It is referred to as magic mouthwash and is often prescribed for thrush that develops during chemotherapy.

Several different formulas are available, and it's up to the healthcare provider to decide which drugs to include and at what dosage.

Never attempt to mix medications yourself at home. Leave this work to a pharmacist.

Thrush Medication and Drug Resistance

At times, oral thrush in adults can be serious, and stronger antifungal medications may be needed to treat more complicated cases. However, researchers are finding that certain Candida strains that cause these yeast infections, especially in immunocompromised people, are developing resistance to these drugs.


Oral thrush is a yeast infection that leaves a white coating in the mouth. Popsicles and cold beverages can help with symptoms, and probiotics may help fight the yeast.

If thrush doesn't respond to some home remedies, a healthcare provider may prescribe other medications, such as antifungals. In the meantime, it's crucial to keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth, gums, and tongue twice a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will oral thrush go away on its own?

    Yes, mild cases of oral thrush occasionally disappear on their own. However, it's crucial to consult your pediatrician if your infant has thrush. It can be transferred between infants and mothers.

  • How can you get rid of oral thrush quickly?

    Keeping your mouth clean by brushing your teeth twice a day will help clear symptoms of thrush. Using a mouth rinse made of lemon juice, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar has been shown to help resolve it. Prescription medications may be needed for severe cases.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Lisa Fayed
Lisa Fayed is a freelance medical writer, cancer educator and patient advocate.