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Treating oral thrush

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Oral thrush can be successfully treated with a course of antifungal medicines taken over seven to 14 days.

Antifungal treatments are available in the following forms:

  • gels
  • tablets
  • lozenges
  • powders
  • creams
  • rinses

Rinses are useful for people with a dry mouth who are unable to swallow antifungal tablets.

If you wear dentures, an antifungal cream can be applied to the affected area of the roof of the mouth and to the bottom of the dentures. Antifungal lozenges are also effective. 

Antifungal medicines used to treat oral thrush include:

  • miconazole
  • nystatin
  • fluconazole
  • clotrimazole
  • econazole

If antibiotics or corticosteroids are thought to be causing your oral thrush, the medicine, or the way it is delivered, may need to be changed or the dosage reduced.

Good dental hygiene and not smoking are also recommended.

Some antifungal medications should not be used if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking other medications. Always seek advice from your GP or pharmacist before taking antifungal medicines.

Side effects

Possible side effects of antifungal medicines include:

  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • tummy pain
  • diarrhoea 
  • headache
  • indigestion

See the topic about  Antifungal medicines for more information about this type of treatment.

Medical Review: July 30, 2012

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