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Thrush - Treatment Overview

Thrush is a yeast infection that can develop in the mouth and throat and on the tongue. Thrush is most common in newborns, infants, and older adults, but it can occur at any age. In healthy newborns and infants, thrush is usually not a serious problem and is easily treated and cured.

Except for the mildest cases, you should treat thrush to keep the infection from spreading. Prescribed antifungal medicines, which slow down the growth of yeast, are the standard treatment for thrush. Thrush is most commonly treated with medicines that are either applied directly to the affected area (topical) or swallowed (oral).

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Mild thrush

In adults, mild cases of thrush may clear up with simple treatment that can be done at home. This treatment usually involves using an antifungal mouth rinse or lozenges. Treatment usually lasts about 14 days.

Mild thrush in infants is usually treated with topical medicines until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have gone away.

Moderate to severe thrush

More severe thrush infections that have spread to the esophagus are treated with an oral antifungal medicine. A topical antifungal medicine may also be used.

For some severe infections, a treatment period longer than 14 days may be needed.

Persistent or recurrent thrush

Persistent or recurrent cases of thrush may:

  • Need to be treated twice as long as the symptoms last.
  • Require treatment with both oral and topical antifungal medicines.

People with weakened immune systems may need to take an antifungal medicine on a continuous basis to prevent thrush infections.

It is very important to get rid of any sources of infection, or thrush will continue to come back. Boil toys, pacifiers, bottles, and other items a child may put in his or her mouth. Or wash the items in warm, soapy water.

It is important to treat conditions that make you more likely to get thrush, such as diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or cancer. For more information, see Prevention.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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