Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The goal of any oral thrush treatment is to stop the rapid spread of the fungus, but the best approach may depend on your age, your overall health and the cause of the infection.

For infants and nursing mothers

If you're breast-feeding an infant who has oral thrush, you and your baby will do best if you're both treated. Otherwise, you're likely to pass the infection back and forth.

  • Your doctor may prescribe a mild antifungal medication for your baby and an antifungal cream for your breasts.
  • If your baby uses a pacifier or feeds from a bottle, rinse nipples and pacifiers in a solution of equal parts water and vinegar daily and allow them to air dry to prevent fungus growth.
  • If you use a breast pump, rinse any of the detachable parts that come in contact with your milk in a vinegar and water solution.

For healthy adults and children

Adults or children who have oral thrush but are otherwise healthy can try one of these:

  • Eating unsweetened yogurt
  • Taking acidophilus capsules or liquid

Yogurt and acidophilus don't destroy the fungus, but they can help restore the normal bacterial flora in your body. If your infection persists, your doctor will prescribe an antifungal medication.

For adults with weakened immune systems

Most often, your doctor will recommend the following:

  • Antifungal medication. This comes in several forms, including lozenges, tablets or a liquid that you swish in your mouth and then swallow.
  • Amphotericin B. Candida albicans can become resistant to antifungal medications, especially in people with late-stage HIV infection. This drug may be used when other medications aren't effective.

Some antifungal medications may cause liver damage. For this reason, your doctor will likely perform blood tests to monitor your liver function, especially if you require prolonged treatment or have a history of liver disease.

Aug. 20, 2011