Last updated January 23, 2018 by Lisa Richards, CNC

An Effective Treatment For Oral Thrush

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is one of the most commonly experienced symptoms of Candida Related Complex. It’s important to realize that simply treating the oral thrush is often not a long term solution. Unless the underlying problem is addressed, the oral thrush will just come right back.

The best way to deal with oral thrush is to approach it simultaneously in two different ways. First, treat the oral thrush in your mouth. Second, address the imbalances in your gut and elsewhere, along with the environment in your mouth itself, that are leading to the recurring oral infections.

Today I’m going to share with you a traditional method for treating oral thrush. You can do it in your own home, and it costs virtually nothing!

Many sufferers of oral thrush may not even realize what is happening inside their mouth. Mild infections may only cause a persistent white coating on your tongue. More severe infections may appear as white sores on your tongue and inner cheeks. If you suspect that you are suffering from Candida and you see either of these, you should try to treat your oral thrush as part of your overall Candida treatment plan.

Oil Pulling: The Ancient Ayurvedic Remedy

If you haven’t heard of oil pulling, you’re not alone. This is a treatment that is rapidly gaining in popularity but that still remains outside of traditional medicine. Its popularity started to spread only in the late 1990s, when a Russian doctor named Dr Karach presented evidence suggesting that oil pulling could help with, “headaches, bronchitis, tooth pain, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and women’s diseases.”

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The theory goes that oil pulling literally ‘sucks’ toxins out of your system. The evidence to support this is currently mostly anecdotal, provided by the thousands of practitioners who have witnessed the positive effects of oil pulling in their patients. For Candida sufferers, oil pulling is particularly useful for two reasons.

Oil pulling is a great way to provide relief from oral thrush, one of the major symptoms of Candida, because the oils used typically have antifungal properties. You can make it much more effective by using coconut oil instead of the olive oil that is usually recommended. Coconut oil contains three known antifungals that will kill the Candida yeast cells inside your mouth. So oil pulling will not only ‘pull’ Candida toxins out of your body, it will also start to kill the Candida cells themselves.

How Do You Do Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a very simple process. Place one tablespoon of oil into your mouth and swish it gently around for at least 5 minutes. Make sure it goes around your gums, under your tongue and everywhere in your mouth. Once you’re done, spit it out and rinse your mouth with salt water.

You should brush your teeth before oil pulling and do it on an empty stomach if you can. First thing in the morning is usually an excellent time to do it.

I recommend using coconut oil because you will get the added benefit of coconut oil’s antifungal properties. Using olive oil is a great idea, but using a stronger antifungal like coconut oil is even better.

To get the most out of oil pulling, use a good brand of organic, virgin coconut oil. You can find an excellent coconut oil on our updated list of recommended products. Try it and let me know how it works for you!

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  1. Yael says:

    Hello Lisa
    I have a persistent white coating on my tongue. Following your advice, I tried oil pulling, first thing in the morning, even before brushing my teeth. It didn’t work for me. Why do you recommend doing it after brushing the teeth ?
    Best regards

    1. Hi Yael
      You may need to try it a few times before seeing an improvement.
      You asked whether to brush before or after the oil pulling. My advice is to brush beforehand, because that will eliminate many bacteria and fungi from your mouth. If you don’t brush before oil pulling, the swishing of the oil may spread those organisms around your mouth and potentially into your throat too. However, ideally you should brush both before and after!

      1. Yael says:

        Hi Lisa

        Thanks for a quick reply. I want you to know that your website is great and it made a big difference in my health. You have a very big influence on my life. I try to implement almost everything you suggest !
        Thanks a lot !

      2. kathy says:

        From all that I’ve read and it has been considerable (these 1 1/2 to 2 years) oil pulling can loosen crowns on the teeth. I’ve also read that our toothbrushes and water pics or anything else used orally needs to be cleaned to prevent accidental re-establishment of oral thrush. I have used hydrogen peroxide for that (in a spray bottle) but when I suspect I’m at the end of this crazy very persistent malady I’ll make sure I get all new devices or double check to see if the peroxide is enough. Perhaps boiling the water pic attachments would work. Just an FYI. Thanks for your article!

    2. di says:

      Been on anti fungals and deep keto (low carbs) for 6 weeks. Treating toothbrush with peroxide every 2-4 days. Feeling very good. Systemic fungus seems to have receded from many areas however tongue remains infected. Oil pulled for first time yesterday (12 mins) and result was amazing. I guess 6 weeks of very low sugar sent the fungus into a feeding frenzy in the presence of the coconut. By this morning growth noticeable again but to a lesser extent. Oil pulled today for 20 mins. Feeling fine but am abstaining from adding MCT oil to my diet during this time to minimise negative impact to stomach. Although will add both to my fungal tool box along with bi carb of soda and activated charcoal. The last two are cards I still have to play…getting excited about controlling this after 30 yrs. In summary am prepared to make this part of a life long protocol!

  2. Yael says:

    Hi Lisa
    I just wanted to add that following your valuable advice many of my candida related problems have gone away but I cannot get rid of the white coating on my tongue, the cloudy saliva and my IBS. I now started making Kefir, so maybe this will help me. I suspect that all the probiotics I used to take were quite worthless.
    Best regards

    1. Cydny Rangel says:

      This also is my situation and would like to know cause and will it go away – I am currently in phase 2 of the diet. Thank you CR

  3. Raya says:

    What about swishing with hydrogen peroxide? One dr online recommends bathing in it, and it can be used orally as well…

    1. Mary Rodino says:

      It’s a different kind of peroxide not like u buy in pharmacy

  4. Sue says:

    I’m assuming you’d have to melt the coconut oil first, right? Will it harden again in your mouth?

    1. Hi Sue! If you live in a warm climate, coconut oil is actually liquid at room temperature. But don’t worry if it starts off as a solid – it will melt really fast once you put it in your mouth and it warms up.

    2. Katie says:

      It melts when u put it in your mouth

      1. Beckie says:

        Or use fractionated coconut oil. I add pure Clove or peppermint oil to my pull.

  5. Susan says:

    I had a nasty case of thrush which felt like razorblades in my mouth and left a thick coating on my tongue. I used Nystatin that was compounded sugar free which helped a little but didn’t entirely eliminate the problem. I started taking a spoonful of coconut oil with 4 drops of oregano oil, swishing it in my mouth for 10 minutes or longer. This immediately had good results. I used this 4 times a day before using the Nystatin. Also, I took a tablet of Larix 1000 by Jarrow formulas and let it dissolve in my mouth 2 times a day. This was soothing and I used the tablet to scrape my tongue in the places where the white patches were persistent. I am not finished with therapy but the pain is gone. My diet is very strict also. Vegetables, meats, and eggs. The typical candida diet. I’m grateful to be able to eat anything after experiencing that extremely painful infection.

    1. Erin Hughey says:

      I knw your feeling right now…. -.-

  6. Karin says:

    How about swallowing the coconut oil after the “soak”? Would that do any good? And how many times a day (2x/3x/4x)? And for how long (days/weeks/months)? How do you know if it’s under control? What about the chances of it coming back? Will a body ever be able to keep it “in check” again? What about resistance? How do you (I) know it’s working? For that matter, how do you (I) know its not working? I know, I’m just a question hound, right? 😉

    1. Hi Karin! Definitely don’t swallow the coconut oil after oil pulling – the idea is to get the toxins out, not ingest them! A couple of times a day should help, but it is likely to come back unless you address the underlying Candida overgrowth. This means following a low-sugar diet and taking probiotics and antifungals.

      1. Karin says:

        For how long? The rest of my life?? I’m already on a no sugar, no dairy, no wheat diet, a cleanse, probiotics, immune boosting vitamins, a greens only protein shake and I gotta tell you, going grocery shopping is getting pretty darn depressing. Is this the way it’s going to be forever? How long till someone typically sees/feels results? Will a body ever recover enough to take over and give a person a chance to eat 1 cupcake a year? One cup of coffee a year? Eat mashed potatoes ever? How about about a hard candy, is that ever going to happen? I’ve been doing this for not long, like a month, and other than my, uhhh…. other end being cleaned out I am not noticing any change to the oral thrush. We already cook w coconut oil, so holding a spoonful in my mouth for a bit won’t be a big deal, I’m just wanting to see results! Not getting discouraged, just really want to know how long it typically takes. ::::sigh:::: 🙂

        1. Hi Karin, this might help – It depends on a lot of factors, but once you’ve beaten your Candida you should be able to return to a relatively normal diet (just without the sugar and junk food!).

          1. Karin says:

            Thanks, I’ll check that out

        2. J. Haji says:

          I feel your frustration and have been struggling with fungus and mouth sore for the last 5 months. I will be praying for you for relief.

        3. Ang says:

          Hello read your article I’ve been suffering with Candida for over 10 years thought I could get rid of it on my my own so went to doctors treat it with Clotrimazole it really helped out good but I went through three treatments on my fourth just got to stay on a good diet which is very hard I want to drink a latte so bad I’m screaming my symptoms cleared up but got back off diet started coming back my infection was bad. It was in lungs brain bowels. Body ached tired all the time different world after treatmeantSo I’m going to stay on diet. One more round of clotrimazole. And good probiotic have to balance the two. Good luck to everyone

          1. LC says:

            Ang, how did you know it was in your lungs, brain & bowels? I’ve been fighting off oral thrush for a few months, every time I think I have gotten it under control – things are bad again. Nystatin seems to make my mouth hurt twice as bad. But now I’m getting constant aches on the right side, flank area, sometimes it’s in my right side back. Is it in my liver or maybe that’s my kidney. I’m not sure – i just picture my insides having a white coating & sores. Will this ever end….

    2. Mary Rodino says:

      No do not swallow the oil spit it out into garbage not sink it will plug it up
      The oil becomes full of bacteria as u pull so spot and then rinse mouth or with salt water, brush after with baking soda.

  7. Sharon says:

    Organic Coconut Oil is what I have been using for oil pulling. I have been experimenting with this for a few weeks to see if it would help decrease dental pain. The first time I did this it was before I went to bed. I would not suggest this to anyone; I would suggest starting oil pulling in the morning and then adding an evening session later.
    The things I wish I would have known when I started were:
    Oil pull the first time in the morning. (You can add more sessions later in the day once you are accustomed to how it makes you feel.) Brush your teeth first. I had never heard that idea but it makes sense. If possible, take time to oil pull and then take a shower. I spit the oil in the toilet just before I get in the shower or I use a container in the shower to spit it out. Then, I rinse my mouth out really well and brush my teeth. Dr. Mercola recommends rinsing with about 1 TBSP baking soda in a cup of water but that gave me indigestion. Salt water worked better for me.
    Here are the mistakes I made:
    Not thinking this would detoxify my body, it has.
    Oil pulling too soon after eating gives me indigestion.
    I just found out I have a candida infection in my mouth (and I have symptoms throughout my body).
    QUESTION: Do I continue oil pulling when I start the detox with the broth? I started the Nystatin already and think I need to back up and start over again because my body is itching. I’m craving sugar like a crazy woman. What do you suggest to help get past the sugar cravings? I don’t normally crave sugar. I appreciate your cite. When I was first diagnosed with yeast infections, the internet didn’t even exist.

    1. Hi Sharon. Coconut flour bread is a great way to satisfy your hunger and sugar cravings. Add a little stevia and lemon juice to the recipe and you can make it really tasty.

      1. RLW says:

        I am one of those people to whom Stevia tastes bitter, not sweet.

  8. Diana says:

    Hi Lisa
    Your oil pulling technique is working wonders however it is not doing so well on the back of my tongue! What do you suggest please?

    1. Hi Diana, it may just take a little longer to totally clear it up. And following a good Candida treatment plan (a low sugar diet with probiotics and antifungals) will help too

  9. Chelsea Paurus says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I am allergic to coconut. Is there anything that is equivalent that I could use? I know you mentioned olive oil but that it is not as effective. I have the oral thrush in my throat and it is driving me crazy. I have started the diet and have started to experience die off symptoms. What can I do to have my throat back to normal? Thank you and thank God for your website!

    1. Olive oil is a great substitute, you should try that!

  10. Larisa says:

    Hello Lisa. I don’t want to impede my progress with my Candida. I have heard conflicting info on the effectivenes of Manuka Honey with Candida. Is it OK to take to treat Candida?

    1. Hi Larisa, you should definitely stay away from honey of all kinds!

      1. Larisa says:

        OK thanks.

  11. Larisa says:

    Is water kefir OK to drink?

  12. Chelsea Paurus says:

    Is it normal to wake up with something on your tongue in the morning? I have noticed after I eat brown rice cakes or I made some brown rice muffins I get a white coating on my tongue. Is that just from eating these things?

    1. Nicole says:

      Every time the doctor puts me on anabiotic‘s I end up with thrush or the other yeast infection. When I was looking up symptoms I open my mouth and looked at my tongue—it had white and yellow stuff all over it. I read somewhere you should scrape it off. All I had at the time a pocket knife (i don’t recommend it!) and was amazed at how much yucky stuff came off. Since then I bought a tongue cleaner/scraper and it really sped up the time it took to get rid of it. I also use a soft toothbrush on the inside of my cheeks and roof of my mouth while rinsing with peroxide mixture. This helps too with the awful dry mouth that is never satiated. After, I clean all with alcohol. I continue to use the tongue scraper daily and dentist recommends it as well. Helps with bad breath too. Hope this helps! It will definitely get rid of the nasty goo and plaque on your tongue as it regrows

  13. Anne says:

    My husband and I are doing your liquid cleanse for 3 days, followed by the cleanse diet for 10 days, before starting the regular anti-candida diet indefinitely. We both suffer from long-term candida overgrowth and we were delighted to discover your website.
    I have two questions. First, with the liver flush, is that intended to be taken on an ’empty’ (liquid-only) stomach, during the days of liquid cleanse? The first two days I took it, it made me nauseous within minutes, and today when I took it (3rd day w/ no food), I vomited. Is this common? Would you recommend only doing the garlic/ginger liver flush when taking food?
    Secondly, is lime an alright food for the cleanse diet? We are following your food recommendations very strictly for the 10 days of the vegetable-only cleanse. My husband says lime is just the same as lemon, which is included on the list (and he really wants to use it to make guacamole!). But since you didn’t include lime on the list, I’m concerned it may have more fructose than lemon. I’d be eager to hear if you’d allow lime for the cleanse period, understanding that we want to be as strict as possible with anti-candida foods.
    Many thanks,

  14. Larisa says:

    Is Water kefir OK to drink with Candida? It’s way less expensive than buying Kombucha. Have heard from lots of others that it is OK and just wanted to ask your opinion.

    Thanks for all of your help…my life is changing in a positive way because of your website!


    1. Yes water kefir is OK!

  15. Carrie says:

    Hi Lisa,
    This site has been a life saver, fits me to a tee. My question is I wear a upper denture, is there anything more I should do other than the oil pulling? I have not been able to find much in the area of dentures and candida. I also will say my dr was very discouraging when I approached her about this concept and just do not get why they do not see it as a true medical problem when it clearly affects many people.
    Thank you very much,

    1. Hi Carrie, I’m glad the program helped! Dentures can certainly lead to oral thrush, and oil pulling with coconut oil is an excellent way to prevent the Candida from taking hold.

  16. Phil says:

    I have just come off antibiotics for Diverticulitis and I have a slight case of thrush on the very back of my tongue. Will coconut oil pulling work for me?

    1. Hi Phil, yes it will definitely help. Coconut oil is a very useful antifungal and if you only have a mild case of thrush then it could clear it up very quickly. If it comes back, you’ll know that you likely have an underlying problem with Candida overgrowth.

  17. Mari says:

    I have thrush down in my throat after being on antibiotics. Diflucan isn’t helping and the pain is so extreme. should I try swallowing coconut oil?

  18. Karlee says:

    Hi, Ive had white spots on my tongue and inner cheeks now for 6 weeks, 2 doses of Nystatin and still no better, I tried the oil pulling this morning for the 1st time with coconut oil…..I really hope this works because Im a worrier and I stressed to the max!!!

    1. Bobbie says:

      I can relate with you. I’m going to try the oil pulling in the morning. It is also on my lips. Will oil pulling help my lips too?I’m on my second round of nystatin and I’ve taken difulcan. I’m desperate. Doctors didn’t tell me about changing toothbrushes.

  19. Felecia Dickson says:

    Can you do oil pulling when you are breastfeeding? Or are the toxins released in to the breast milk. I have a slight case of thrush in my mouth after taking antibiotics for mastitis? Thank you.

  20. Amber says:

    Hello my name is amber. I have been suffering from oral thrush for about two months. I went to the doctors and received an antibiotic and an anti fungal after and it did nothing. after starting the diet I cheated a couple of times eating sweet potato chips, coleslaw, and some sushi. And now I am in so much pain because it spread to the sides of my tongue!

    1. Brad says:

      Antibiotics will not cure thrush and can actually make it worse. Not sure why your doctor would prescribe that.

  21. Jessica says:

    How I can rapidly get rid of the thrush on my Nipples. I am exclusively nursing and the baby had thrush and I am getting those all too familiar stabbing sensations in my breasts. Clearly my 4 month old can’t oil pull.

  22. Leah Anderson says:

    I had thrush a month ago from very strong antibiotcs, the thrush cleared up with 14 days of clotrimazole lozenges. I ate nearly sugar free for 3 weeks but started adding back small amounts of chocolate and now have a white coated tongue again? What can I do? I’m not getting to the root problem? I did have gastritis but that is healing? I’m on Zantac too? Thank you

  23. Melissa says:

    Hi, helping I can comment and help somebody.
    I clean my teeth and mouth well after I wake then coconut oil pull 1 tablespoon of melted oil for five mins only. So far I do this once daily. Then I brush my teeth gently afterwards without toothpaste, and gargle with warm water.
    My daily headaches and migraines are no-more starting from one minute after I first did this routine five days ago, and my first case of oral thrush is dying. I can see the spots of fungus getting smaller on my gums and my tummy has stopped bloating and cramping. I also feel rather light and bright, and I have had regular movements for a week, when I normally require 4 Movical sachets and 2 stool softeners daily and a weekly enema at least. So obviously I’m very happy.
    I try to brush teeth only twice daily, dentist orders….
    Tomorrow I will rinse with salt after reading all the comments here.

  24. Lisa says:

    I have just finished treatment for Cancer of the throat, Radiation around my head and neck as well as Chemotherapy. The treatment has left me with thrush on my tongue and down my throat.. I have been on antibiotics, proscribed lozenges, Nystatine and now eating probiotic yogurts and yukult. I will be giving this oil a try… fingers crossed.

    1. Andrew says:

      Try baking soda mouth wash (gargle) and i find it helps to oil pull, push teeth, mouthwash and then oil pull again. Ginger and turmeric supplemental 3 times daily may help you, also try consuming 1 tablespoon of coconut oil 3 times daily you can melt it in some ginger tea with lemon, of course no sugar.

  25. Sira says:

    I donto have white coating on my mouth but instead it’s on my lips. Is this a form of oral thrush? It would peel off leaving red raw skin. But since the candida diet it it’s more of a thick coat layered skin on my lips that would turn white if wet

    1. Leo says:

      Hi Sira,

      I have that same problem too. Its so wierd my doctor said its not candida and that its because im breathing from my mouth instead of my nose. And that was also the explanation he gave for the white coating on my tongue. That was 2013-2014. Then i went on a sugar free, carb free diet for a year – it was really strict because i wanted to see for myself if it was fungus causing all those symptoms – white tongue, lips, inflammation in the face, bloating, tiredness fatigue etc… Up until now the white coating on the lips has gone completely. I used to have to wipe it off 3 times during the day at work, and it was so embarassing. But in the past year ive been cheating and eating cakes and sugary foods every now and then. The white lips hasnt come back, but the tongue still gets coated. I’m here now looking for a proper diet and treatment because i’ve never really been on one, but definitely will go back to eating sugar free and carb free. Here in Sydney there is a quite well known naturopath. I’ve been taking his parasite tonics since 2013, check out pinnacle health. I have a feeling it had a tremendous effect on the the candida, because i wasnt even on any antifungal remedies and already my face shrunk and fatigue was gone just on their parasite tonic, but still eating without sugar and carbs. I’ve also been taking probiotics by healthy origins. Its very powerful.

      1. Kumar says:

        mix small amount of baking soda with water make a paste rub it in your tongue with a new tooth brush. do no more than once a day for a week.

  26. Craig says:

    Take a toothbrush and pin pick a oil of oregano gel pill, squirt the oil of oregano on the toothbrush and brush your tongue with oil of oregano. Be prepared for a nasty hot taste, but doesn’t last long. Works great !

  27. Bobbie says:

    I’m on my 2nd round of nystatin and I have taken difulcan. It is also on my lips. Will oil pulling help my lips ? Should I rub the oil on my lips? The doctors did not tell me to change my toothbrush, but I’m going to do that and try the coconut oil also.

  28. Mia says:

    Anyone get thrush without being on antibiotics or wearing dentures or any other risk factor? I’m wondering at my immune system. I developed angular cheilitis then few days later noticed the back of my tongue was coated white. It makes ,e wonder if I have an underlying health problem as this doesn’t seem to be something healthy adults get without first being on antibiotics or something.

    1. Tom says:

      Mia, I can confirm that you can get oral thrush from bad prolonged acid reflux which is my present situation. I had been feeling unwell for several months and had gained weight. Since being on the diet and getting rid of most of the thrust I have lost 13 pounds and feel great and less bloated.

      I am towards the end of my 4th week of nystatin (with a gap wk btw the 2nd and 3rd rounds where my prescription ran out). I started the diet during the second week. This is after having a bad reaction to Diflucan that I was on for four days – I am very lactose intolerant. My thrush was mostly gone after the first two wks of Nystatin. It’s been difficult to eradicate the small amount of remaining thrust at the back of my tongue. The papillae in the middle and back of my tongue are raised, but no longer inflamed or sensitive in any way. Food is still getting caught in there and I am unsure if this is thrush or just debris, but it does turn white and is also present when I wake up in the morning. I really do not know if I should continue to a 5th wk of Nystatin or not…

    2. Heather says:

      Hi Mia
      You can get Oral Thrush from using Inhalers…that’s how I got mine…I did not know that you should swish your mouth with water afterwards…

  29. Chris Davies says:

    Yes. Think it’s the mental health medications I’m on that dry my mouth out. Or maybe overusing commercial mouthwashes.

    Started developing bad cracks all over my tongue and burns like crazy. Not sure what I can do.

  30. Kara says:

    Do you have another way to do so instead of coconut oil?

    1. Lisa Richards says:

      You can try olive oil instead 🙂

  31. Melanie says:

    Honey is the cure for me ! I swear j tried some honey from Africa on the Combe , you chew the Combe till the honey comes out (like chewing gum ) then you spit the waxy comb away , I have had so many courses of anti biotics and too many nystatins to count , to no avail but mine is caused because of. My inhalers and steroid use , this honey is the only this bf that has gave me a cute and am able to live pain free! Totally natural remedy , store bought honey works really good too

  32. leea says:

    why dont you folks just go to a dentist, at least, or a doctor? White tongues arent always thrush, it can be a sign of cancer, serious stomach and immune disease, preforated colon and all kinds of things. i totally respect natural cures and in fact i was on a doctor supervised diet for a year that not only meant NO sugar even aas added to foods, but oral nystatin and exhaustive, slow monitoring my blood. but when im reading that some of youhave been doing whats suggested and it apparently isnt working..go to a doctor or dentist!!!!! why wait and let it go on and on. everything cant be fixed by hopeful natural cures.

  33. Christie says:

    I just ordered ozonated olive oil to assist with the thrush inside my mouth (and on the lips…). Also started a regime of salt water rinses and changing tooth brushes out often. Fingers crossed 🤞🏼

    1. Sarah says:

      Did the ozonated water help? I am on my second round of Nystatin with Fluconazole, started the diet 2 weeks ago, and have been dealing with Thrush 6 weeks. I was reading about ozonated oil and am hoping this can help me.

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