Do you suffer from Oral Thrush; I know I have, I tried different oral rinses prescribed by my doctor but found that because of my oral cancer treatments many solutions were too harsh on my tongue, gums and mouth in general. I also found that after weeks and weeks of rinse treatments combined with tongue brushing/scraping the thrush had not gone away. So I want to share with you what has worked for me. “Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil”
“A little about what the problem is”.
Oral thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth and is a non-contagious fungal infection caused by Candida species. It is also called oral candidosis (or candiasis) because it is caused by a group of yeasts called Candida. Symptoms of oral thrush can include: white patches (plaques) in the mouth that can often be wiped off, leaving behind red areas that may bleed slightly.
It’s normal for a small amount of C. albicans to live in your mouth, without causing harm. When your immune system is working properly, beneficial bacteria in your body help keep C. albicans under control.
But if your immune system is compromised or the balance of microorganisms in your body is disrupted, the fungus can grow out of control.
You may develop an overgrowth of C. albicans that causes oral thrush if you take certain medications that reduce the number of friendly microorganisms in your body, such as antibiotics. Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also damage or kill healthy cells. This makes you more susceptible to oral thrush and other infections.
Other medical conditions, medical treatments, and lifestyle factors can also increase our risk of thrush by weakening your immune system or disrupting the balance of microbes in your body.
To treat oral thrush, your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following common medications:
- fluconazole (Diflucan), an oral antifungal medication
- clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche), an antifungal medication that’s available as a lozenge
- nystatin (Nystop, Nyata), an antifungal mouthwash that you can swish in your mouth or swab in your baby’s mouth
- itraconazole (Sporanox), an oral antifungal medication that’s used to treat people who don’t respond to other treatments for oral thrush and people with HIV
- amphotericin B (AmBisome, Fungizone), a medication that’s used to treat severe cases of oral thrush
Once you begin treatment, oral thrush usually goes away within a couple of weeks to a month. But in some cases, as in mine it would not go away no matter how long or what I tried.
Frustrated with the results, I went to the internet, researched and tried numerous home remedies in an attempt to relieve my symptoms of thrush.
What worked for me was a technique called “Oil Pulling” (Specifically in my case using coconut oil).
Oil pulling is an ancient practice that involves swishing oil in your mouth to remove bacteria and promote oral hygiene. It is often associated with Auyrveda, the traditional medicine system from India. Information I read suggested that oil pulling can kill bacteria in the mouth and improve dental health.
While it’s not entirely clear how oil pulling works, it’s claimed to “pull” bacteria from the mouth. It may also help by moisturizing your gums and increasing saliva production, which can reduce bacteria.
How to Do “Oil Pulling” in 4 Simple Steps
Oil pulling is easy to do and involves just a few simple steps. Here are the 4 simple steps to do oil pulling:
Measure one teaspoon of oil, such as coconut, sesame or olive oil. (the amount will vary for each individual) Ideally organic non processed oils.
Swish it around in your mouth for 15–20 minutes, being careful not to swallow any.
Spit the oil into a trash can once you’re done. Avoid spitting it into the sink or toilet, as this can cause a buildup of oil, which may lead to clogging.
Rinse your mouth well using water before eating or drinking anything.
Repeat these steps a few times per week or up to three times daily. You may also want to work your way up, starting with swishing for just 5 minutes and increasing the duration until you’re able to do it for a full 15–20 minutes.
(I found that to relieve my thrush problem I followed the steps 3 times daily until the condition was resolved approximately 3 to 5 days)
For best results, most recommend doing this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, although you can adapt based on your personal preferences
I reviewed information suggesting that oil pulling may decrease harmful bacteria in your mouth, prevent excessive plaque formation, also improve both gum health and oral hygiene. However, the formal research on this topic is relatively limited. I caution as well that this process should not be used in place of traditional oral hygiene practices, such as brushing your teeth, flossing, getting routine cleanings and consulting your dentist regarding any oral hygiene problems.
Yet when used as a supplementary treatment, oil pulling may be a safe and effective natural remedy to improve your oral health.
Oils such as coconut, sesame, olive oil or even castor oil can all be used in “oil pulling” From my trial and error results I found that coconut oil gave me the results I needed to eliminate my endless Thrush condition.
Coconut oil is composed of 92% saturated acids, with lauric acid making up for 50% of these saturated acids. Monolaurin and monoglycerides of lauric acid have been identified to have antimicrobial activity against a range of microorganisms including the Candida species,
Denture wearers, patients undergoing prolonged antibiotic treatment or using inhaled corticosteroid for asthma, and patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy reportedly have a higher incidence of oral candidiasis. Evidence suggests that oil pulling therapy improves symptoms of oral thrush in two ways. First, it traps or pulls the toxins and other pathogens during oil swishing and therefore aids in the mechanical removal of the pathogens from the oral cavity. Second, the antifungal properties of the oils used, particularly coconut oil, kills the yeast in the oral cavity and therefore plays a role in eliminating the candida pathogens.
Although there is much debate over how beneficial it really is, I found it resolved my issue and that is all that mattered to me personally.
As certain types of harmful bacteria can contribute to problems like tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease, by decreasing the number of bacteria in the mouth, the oil pulling process can help support proper oral hygiene and prevent some conditions.
In my research I found that Oil pulling with certain oils:
- Was as effective as chlorhexidine at reducing bad breath.
- May decrease the number of harmful bacteria found in saliva and plaque as effectively as a mouthwash
- Could help prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of cavity formation.
- Seems to reduce Inflammation and Improve Gum Health (marked by red, swollen gums that bleed easily).
- Could be a natural way to whiten your teeth by being able to pull stains from the surface of teeth, resulting in a whitening effect
Sesame oil can been used for oil pulling, but other types of oil such as coconut oil possesses strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Olive oil is another popular choice thanks to its ability to fight inflammation.
The Bottom Line
Once I started “Oil Pulling” with coconut oil and realized how simple it was to do and how effectively it eliminated my thrush problem, I incorporated “Oil Pulling” into my daily regimen. I have found many other benefits as well from practicing this ancient form of oral hygiene. From the practical aspect, it requires just one safe ingredient that can be found for the most part right in your kitchen.
My name is Ken Roth and this is part of my story as a 7 year head and neck cancer individual. My cancer treatment involved base of tongue surgery, radiation and chemo. I have been practicing using this technique for the last 5 years and felt I should share with others what worked for me to resolve the issue of thrush that modern medicines could not. But please do your own research as what worked for me may not work for you, but it just might.