It may sound gross, but it's true that the Candida albicans fungus is a regular inhabitant of the human mouth. Most of the time the fungus is not a threat, but it is quick to cause disease if the environment in the mouth is right. In particular, you can develop a condition called oral thrush if you are immunocompromised, have dry mouth, take antibiotics, or smoke cigarettes. Although this disease can be treated using prescription medication, there are some natural methods you can use to reduce the symptoms of or completely eliminate this disease if you prefer not to go that route. Here are two options.

Mouthwash Made with Essential Oils

Essential oils are concentrated liquids extracted from plants. They typically have a variety of medicinal properties that have been shown to help in disease management. For example, evidence indicates using lavender essential oil during massage may help improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.

When it comes to treating oral thrush, there are two essential oils that have proven to be effective against the disease: eucalyptus and peppermint. One study tested 30 plant oils and found these two to be most effective at concentrations of 0.12% (eucalyptus) and 0.15% (peppermint). Another study found eucalyptus and the peppermint oils have antifungal and antibacterial properties that fight against these problematic organisms.

The best way to use these oils is to mix a few drops with a little bit of water and swish around your mouth for a minute or two to coat the affected areas. Avoid eating or drinking for at least 15 to 30 minutes to give the solutions a chance to work. Try not to swallow the solution, as ingestion of eucalyptus in high doses (.05mL to .5mL/per kg of body weight) can be fatal and taking too much peppermint can cause heartburn and nausea.

Take Probiotics

The Candida albicans fungus is typically kept in check by the friendly bacteria and other organisms in the body. If the good organisms in your mouth, gut, and other parts of your being become depleted because of diet or antibiotic use, the fungus can grow out of control and cause oral thrush, among other things.

Another way to combat the disease, then, is to replenish your supply of beneficial organisms by taking probiotics. These are essentially capsules full of microorganisms that are beneficial to the body. For instance, many people take probiotics to alleviate digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

A study into the effects of probiotics on women with vulvovaginal candidiasis found it was very effective at reducing Candida yeast symptoms in the treated women and prevented recurring episodes. In fact, taking probiotics the same time you use antibiotics will probably stop the fungus from multiplying out of control and causing your oral health problem in the first place.

You can find probiotics in pretty much any retail store, and you should take them according to the directions or your doctor's recommendations. In recent years, probiotics have been added to a variety of food products such as yogurt, so this may be a good way to increase the beneficial flora. Probiotics can cause gastrointestinal distress such as gas and bloating, though, but these symptoms typically pass as your body adjusts.

Be Careful with Natural Remedies

When you're struggling with an oral disease like thrush, using an at-home remedy may seem like the best way to go, especially if you are wary of pharmaceutical drugs. But it's essential that you take care when trying natural remedies, as they can end up worsening the problem.

For example, some people recommend rinsing with apple cider vinegar to help eliminate thrush. However, apple cider vinegar is highly acidic and can damage tooth enamel and gum tissue. Run any natural remedy you're considering trying by your dentist before taking the plunge to ensure it is safe.

To learn more about curing oral thrush, contact your family dentist.