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a tongue with thrush on it in the sight of crosshairs

Community Views: Combating Oral Thrush

Thrush (also known as Candida) is a fungus that commonly causes white spots on several parts of the body, including the tongue. Those with weakened immune systems are more prone to thrush infections. Some people get thrush by using inhalers. This is because the steroids from inhalers can weaken your oral immune system.

Esophageal thrush (the kind you can see on your tongue) can spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs and kidneys, so it is important to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing thrush often.1 Many people with asthma experience oral thrush regularly, but are there any remedies out there?

We asked our Facebook community: How can we avoid getting a white tongue after taking our asthma meds? Here are the responses we received:

Oral thrush is frustrating

After taking asthma medication, many of our community members vented about how aggravating oral thrush can be. It can cause bleeding, loss of taste, soreness, and difficulty swallowing. It can also create white lesions on the tongue, cheeks, gums, and roof of the mouth.2

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"I used to get it so often it drove me crazy."

"I’ve had it a few times now, and it’s so frustrating because I always rinse my mouth after using my inhaler."

"I got thrush after taking steroids."

"I can feel it when it’s coming. My whole body is off."

Remedies for oral thrush

Gargling and rinsing

Many members have expressed that gargling salty water can help combat thrush. Salt has antiseptic properties. It can also help to maintain oral health by brushing your teeth at least twice per day. Research has also shown that Listerine helps to kill the type of Candida called C. albicans. It also has a great antiseptic effect against other funguses and bacteria that can grow in the mouth.3

"Gargle with salty water after every dose and brush teeth immediately afterward."

"You should rinse and swish several times. Also, wash your holder every 2 weeks and air dry."

"I spit at least twice right after every inhale (and I’ve always used a spacer), and then I rinse with mouthwash. THEN I brush my teeth."

"I use the Walmart brand of Listerine mixed with water."

"Use a tongue scraper after you brush your teeth."

Probiotics and food

Probiotics are certain strains of bacteria and live microorganisms that are widely known to improve gut health. However, research has shown that they can improve mouth and tongue health and can reduce oral thrush. Probiotics can be consumed as dietary supplements, or they can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt. The cultures in probiotics like yogurt do not kill Candida, but can prevent it from growing by balancing the good and bad bacteria in the mouth.

"Take strong, refrigerated probiotics every day, and I never have it."

"I eat lots of yogurt. It kills the yeast."

"Alphadophilus tablets, gone in 24 hours."

"Have been told that SweeTARTs work too. The ascorbic acid in the candy neutralizes the yeast."


With mild cases of thrush, prescriptions and medical treatment may not be necessary since it can clear up by itself or with home remedies. However, severe thrush infections may require 2 weeks of treatment with antifungal medicine or topical antiseptics from the pharmacy. If you frequently experience severe thrush, speak with your doctor.

"I tried everything, rinsing, gargling, brushing, even swish with hydrogen peroxide. Nothing worked except for the prescription pill."

"Some compound pharmacy makes a rinse. It is great."

Thank you for sharing your oral thrush remedies!

We appreciate all of our community members who took the time to share their experience with and remedies for oral thrush from asthma inhalers. Here are some recommended readings for oral thrush that you may find helpful!

How do you combat oral thrush after taking your asthma medication? Share in the comments below!

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