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Oral health centre

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What treatments work for oral thrush?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Oral thrush is an infection some people get in their mouth and throat. It's caused by a fungus called Candida. Thrush can make your mouth sore, but it can be easily treated with drugs.

Most people who get oral thrush get it because they have another disease or are taking drug treatment that makes their immune system weak. Babies and young children are also at risk because their immune system is not yet properly developed.

  • Antifungal drugs are the main treatments used for oral thrush.

  • You can get antifungal drugs as gels that you put on the affected patches in your mouth, lozenges that you suck, mouthwashes, and tablets.

  • Antifungal drugs can help prevent oral thrush if you're having treatment for cancer or you have HIV infection or AIDS.

  • They also help to get rid of oral thrush in babies, children, and people with HIV infection.

Antifungal drugs probably work for other people too. But there hasn't been very much good research in people who have oral thrush because they have diabetes, wear dentures, or have had a transplant.

If you smoke or take medicines that increase your risk of getting mouth thrush, you can take steps to prevent this happening. To read more, see How to reduce your risk of oral thrush.

Which treatments work best? We've looked at the best research and given a rating for each treatment according to how well it works.

Treatments for oral thrush

Treatments that workTreatments that are likely to workTreatments that need further study

Glossary

AIDS

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. People who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) get AIDS when the virus has destroyed most of their immune system. When people have AIDS, their body isn't able to fight infections. So even common infections, such as colds, can cause serious problems.

diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that causes too much sugar (glucose) to circulate in the blood. It happens when the body stops making a hormone called insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when insulin stops working (type 2 diabetes).

HIV

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It's the virus that causes AIDS. It makes you ill by damaging cells called CD4 cells. Your body needs these cells to fight infections. You can get HIV by sharing needles for injecting drugs, or by having sex without a condom with someone who has the virus.

immune system

Your immune system is made up of the parts of your body that fight infection. When bacteria or viruses get into your body, it's your immune system that kills them. Antibodies and white blood cells are part of your immune system. They travel in your blood and attack bacteria, viruses and other things that could damage your body.

For more terms related to Thrush, mouth

Citations

For references related to Thrush, mouth click here.
Last Updated: August 15, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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