What is Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush, also known as ‘thrush’ or oral candidiasis (kan-dih-DIE-uh-sis) is a yeast infection caused when a naturally occurring fungus called Candida Albicans accumulates in and on the lining of your mouth. [1]

The fungus turns into thrush when the natural bacteria in the mouth becomes out of balance.

While low levels of Candida are normal in the mouth and elsewhere in the body, the fungus can quickly transform into a state of ‘overgrowth’ and cause unpleasant symptoms. 

Background level Candida does not usually cause issues, so it is very important to ‘listen’ to your body and keep it under control.

What are the Symptoms of Oral Thrush?

Thrush causes creamy white lesions, usually on your tongue or inner cheeks. Sometimes oral thrush can spread to the roof of the mouth, gums or tonsils, or the back of the throat.

  • White patches inside the mouth, primarily on the tongue and cheeks
  • Redness in and around the mouth
  • Pain inside your mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Cotton-like feelings inside the mouth
  • Burning sensations in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Metallic taste on the tongue
  • New sores that look like cottage cheese
  • Decreased sense of taste, especially when eating and drinking
  • Cracking in the corners of the mouth

Thrush Rash

Thrush also commonly appears as a rash in infants, children, and adults.

In babies and infants, what may appear to be a diaper rash can actually be a rash from thrush.

Topical thrush consists of a red, and sometimes shiny rash on the skin, in babies it is typically in the diaper/nappy area and in the folds of skin, around joints and on neck.

In adults it can appear around the groin, armpits, neck, and areas that get very warm (small of the back). It is particularly a problem for people who are military, first-responders, or athletes - people who wear heavy equipment or restrictive gear (shin guards, cups, pads, etc.) and sweat a lot.

It may appear during acne breakouts making acne more inflamed.
Those who are overweight, obese, or bedridden can also suffer with yeast growing in folds of skin, which may be noticeable due to a musty odor.

In babies and infants, it often results in restlessness and irritability, especially when in the diaper area when they are wet or dirty. Using wipes can make the area painful, moist areas make a perfect environment for yeast to grow so frequent but cleaning and air drying is important.

Causes of Oral Thrush Include:

  • Antibiotic use
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Dentures and partials
  • Diabetes
  • Dry mouth
  • Immune system deficiencies including HIV
  • Inhaled corticosteroid use (Inhalers)
  • Smoking
  • Use of steroid medications
  • High sugar diet
  • Chlorine
  • IUDs

    Are There Any Other Contributing Factors to Developing Thrush?

    Although thrush can affect anyone, it is more likely to occur in babies and older adults and others with suppressed immune systems or certain health conditions, including people who take certain medications. [2]

    Oral thrush is usually a minor problem when you are healthy, but if you have a weakened immune system, symptoms may become more severe and difficult to control.


    Without treatment, thrush can eventually spread to the esophagus. Severe infections can spread and worsen.

    It is important to call your doctor if you don’t see any improvement in your symptoms within a couple of weeks.

    People with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to severe infections from thrush.

    Spread of Thrush and Candida Albicans

    Most people respond well to treatment. However, oral thrush tends to reappear, especially if the causal factor (smoking, for instance) is not removed.  

    While uncomfortable, a thrush infection is not necessarily contagious. The Yeast itself can spread from person to person, but someone exposed to thrush will not automatically develop thrush or a Candida overgrowth at that time.  Thrush and Candida are opportunistic and can sit in the body becoming a problem only when the conditions are right (or more appropriately, wrong).

    Thrush in Newborns and Infants

    Thrush is also common in newborns and infants younger than 6 months. Infants may develop the infection from exposure to yeast in the birth canal.

    Symptoms of Oral Thrush in Newborn Babies and Infants

    Babies with thrush will exhibit irritation in the inside of their mouths and around the outside. They may be irritable and show loss of appetite. Babies who have thrush might also have a diaper rash from Candida.

    Thrush and Breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding can also spread oral thrush to babies. Candida can occur anywhere on the body, including the breasts and nipples. As Candida is naturally occurring you will not know it is there unless there is an infection on your skin. An infection can cause more soreness and redness than usual.

    When Candida is present on your nipples during breastfeeding, the fungi can transfer to your baby.  While they may not get the infection, the extra yeast does increase their risk of developing thrush. 

    Conversely, if baby has contracted thrush during the birth process, Candida from your baby’s mouth can transfer to your breasts and nipples when you breastfeed but this does not mean you will automatically develop an infection.

    Oral Thrush in Babies


    If you are currently breastfeeding, you may also be able to prevent the spread of Candida from your body to your baby’s mouth. Yeast likes warm, moist environments, so it is important to try to allow the area around your nipples to air dry after breastfeeding.

    Preventing Thrush

    The risk for thrush may be reduced through maintaining good gut bacteria and taking a probiotic[3]

    Oral hygiene is also important in preventing thrush. This not only includes brushing and flossing your teeth, but may require a mouthwash to get rid of excessive microorganisms. Rinse your mouth after taking medications, too. Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine may be helpful if you have a weakened immune system.

    See your doctor if you think you have the fungus on your breasts. It can be present without a rash or can cause redness and soreness - like raw skin. You may also experience deep pains within the breast area. If Candida is found on your breasts, you may be able to clear it through frequent washing and air drying or need to apply antifungal ointment to the area until the yeast infection clears up (the latter often curtails or preclude your ability to breastfeed).

    Candida also causes other types of yeast infections, such as those that occur vaginally (VVC - vulvovaginal candidiasis or vaginitis), genitally (monilinia), or systemically, or as a thrush rash around joints and in skin folds. 

    Can Thrush be Transmitted by Kissing?

    As the Candida fungus exists in everyone’s body, catching it from kissing is possible but unlikely. It depends on whether your partner has a compromised immune system or other risk set. 

    Treatment of Oral Thrush

    Doctors will usually prescribe anti-thrush drugs, such as nystatin or miconazole (aka Monistat or Daktarin Oral Gel) in the form of drops, gel, or lozenges, or a topical oral suspension which is washed around the mouth and then swallowed. Oral or intravenously administered antifungals may be the choice for patients with weakened immune systems.

    According to Cigna, it usually takes about 14 days of treatment with an oral antifungal medicine to cure more severe thrush infections. In some cases, thrush may last several weeks even with treatment.  They also tell you to swirl it in your mouth but you cannot swallow Nystatin!  

    Listed side effects even without ingesting it include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, allergy, rash, itching and swelling, and complications for those already dealing with AIDS/HIV, kidney disease, or diabetes.

    Of course, any woman who has used Monistat for a yeast infection is likely to say ”no thank you” to an oral version.

    If these treatments don’t work, amphotericin B may be used; however, this is more aggressive and is only used as a last resort due to a higher level of negative side effects.

    For many years, managing Oral thrush meant the use of anti-fungal drugs.  After you paid for the prescription and the visit to the doctor, you have to take them for two weeks or more to be sure it is gone (and it is never truly gone, just kept at a base level).

    • These medications can take a toll on your health and mental state and these agents have limited efficacy, and frequently have side effects.
    • In addition, even the mildest of these drugs can overtax the liver due their own nature and to the toxins released by the die off (see below).
    • Antifungals cause what is known as a “die off” reaction (aka herxheimer reaction), as the drug fights the fungus the fungus releases toxins which and many people cannot tolerate the symptoms.
    • Candida Albicans, the causative fungi is a live agent and can develop a resistance to medication, so it is possible that may take them to no effect!

    Is there a natural alternative to synthetic drugs?

    What is Candex™?

    Candex bottle - effective digestive enzyme candida solution

    Candex™ was designed by America’s foremost enzymologists over 20 years ago to provide enzymes that digest the substances of which yeast and fungal cell walls are made.* These enzymes include cellulase, hemicellulase, and beta-glucanase.

    Cell walls are like the “skin” of yeast and fungi, providing the structure within which their biological functions occur. Degrading the cell wall undermines the biological functions. Because of this, enzymes can undermine the functional ability of yeasts and fungi. The enzymes in Candex™ do not tax the liver, and yeasts and fungi cannot become immune to them.*

    Many people who use Candex™ say they begin to feel better within 10 days. Even better, they report very few “die-off” (Herxheimer) reactions. In other words, they don’t have to feel worse before they feel better. Best of all, Candex™ requires no major dietary changes.*

    The same enzymes that break down the cells walls of Candida and other yeasts can also degrade the BioFilm under which they “hide.” This gives your immune system better access allowing it to work more effectively when needed.*

    The Benefits of Candex™

    • Supports a healthy gut microbiome.*
    • Supports a healthy balance of probiotics, yeasts, fungi, etc.*
    • Supports healthy energy levels.*
    • Minimal or no ‘die-off’ (Herxheimer) reactions.
    • May reduce food cravings.*
    • Safe, gentle, effective, even for children and pets (one capsule per 40 pounds of body weight).*
    • 100% Risk-Free, 90-Day Money-Back Guarantee
    • Non-GMO, Sugar-Free, Soy Free, Yeast Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Shellfish Free, Vegan
    • Made in the USA in a cGMP Certified Facility

    Are There Side Effects from Taking Candex™?

    Candex™ does not cause a die-off reaction. However, about one person out of a hundred (1%) experience some nausea, “burning” in the stomach, or abdominal cramping.

    To avoid or minimize any issues, we suggest starting with one capsule on day one and increasing by one capsule per day on days two, three, and four to reach the suggested usage of four capsules per day. If you experience any significant discomfort, you may have sensitivities to the enzymes and should discontinue using Candex™.

    Always use Candex™ on an empty stomach with at least eight ounces of water.

    Candex™ Results In Clinical Studies

    Laboratory studies show that the types of enzymes used in Candex™ inhibit the growth of Candida in vitro. A clinical study of 52 patients showed that Candex™ is safe, effective, well-tolerated, and causes no significant side effects. The physicians who conducted this study concluded that Candex™ should be the first choice for supporting a healthy Candida balance in their patient population who opt for natural solutions.*

    Recommended by physicians, nurses, natural health practitioners, health clinics, and health food retailers throughout the country, Candex™ remains the world’s finest yeast management system.*

    A Word About Protease

    Protease is an enzyme that digests proteins. The success of Candex™ has brought a number of imitations to the market. To differentiate themselves, many add protease. The thinking is that protease is required to break down the protein parts of the structures of yeast cells. However, there are only very small amounts of protein.

    Many people with health issues in the gut microbiome have ulcers or other lesions in the intestinal tract. Protease can attack and digest the living tissues exposed by these lesions. If it were necessary to help manage yeast, it might be a worthwhile trade-off, but it’s not. We tried several different enzyme combinations, many of which contained protease, before arriving at the final Candex™ formulation. During our testing, we learned that it is not at all necessary and may cause significant side effects. We believe it is best avoided.

    Can Children Use Candex™?

    Candex™ is safe for children and pets.* One capsule may be used daily for every 40 pounds of body weight. As with adults, it is best to work up to the full capsule over a period of four days, with ¼ capsule on day one, ½ capsule on day two, ¾ capsule on day three, and a full capsule beginning on day four.


    Further Reading

    Several studies link IUDs with recurrent yeast infections.

    18 Things Every Woman Should Know About Getting an IUD

    Can intrauterine contraceptive devices be a Candida albicans reservoir?




    [1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/symptoms-causes/syc-20353533

    [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK367586/

    [3] Archambault, Linda S, and Anna Dongari-Bagtzoglou. “Probiotics for Oral Candidiasis: Critical Appraisal of the Evidence and a Path Forward.” Frontiers in oral health vol. 3 880746. 14 Apr. 2022, doi:10.3389/froh.2022.880746

    July 27, 2018


    Pure Essence said:

    A 2018 study did show that specifically apple cider vinegar (ACV) may help PREVENT the growth of candida (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788933/), however more research is needed to discover whether ACV works to COMBAT yeast in the human body.

    Victoria said:

    I was told swishing with vinegar water helps get rid of thrush to.

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