High Carb Diets and White Tongue (Oral Thrush)

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/13/2024

Oral thrush is typically caused by an overgrowth of Candia yeast linked to high-carb diets, stress, or hormonal imbalances.

Luckily, there is a range of natural remedies available to combat oral thrush.

Discover the dietary choices that may worsen thrush and how grapefruit seed extract can help clear up yeast infections quickly.

Understanding Oral Thrush and its Causes

Oral thrush happens when there's too much Candida albicans - a yeast-like fungus that usually grows in our bodies without causing trouble. But when it multiplies excessively, it leads to oral thrush.

The Role of Candida in oral thrush

Candida is a natural part of our mouths, but it becomes a problem when it grows out of control.

How does diet contribute to oral thrush?

  • Sugar: A high intake of refined grains or starches (commonly found in high-carb diets) fuels Candida growth.

  • Fermented foods: While they're generally good for gut health, fermented foods like kombucha or sauerkraut might make symptoms worse if you already have an overgrowth.

  • Dairy products: Some dairy products contain antibiotics that could disrupt the balance between good bacteria and yeast in your mouth, promoting fungal growth.

In addition to dietary habits, stress levels play a significant role, too. Chronic stress weakens the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections, including those caused by yeasts like Candida.

High-carb diets and Candidiasis

When it comes to the relationship between diet and health, there's no denying that what we eat can have a profound impact on our overall well-being.

This is particularly true regarding conditions like oral thrush, a yeast infection caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans.

Carbs and Yeast Growth

The connection between high-carb diets and candidiasis is straightforward. Consuming foods rich in carbohydrates, especially sugars, provides ample fuel for yeast cells to overgrow.

The more sugar you consume, the more likely you will experience an overgrowth of this opportunistic fungus.

This isn't just about table sugar; refined grains such as white bread or pasta also contribute significantly towards feeding the candida organism due to their high glycemic index, which causes rapid spikes in blood glucose levels, providing an ideal environment for yeast proliferation.

Impact of Refined Grains on Candidiasis

Rapidly digested carbs from refined grains can cause sudden surges in your blood sugar levels, leading to weight gain and creating a perfect breeding ground for Candida albicans.

These simple carbs are quickly broken down into glucose (sugar), which feeds candida, transforming them into its pathogenic state known as candidiasis, causing infections throughout the body, including the oral cavity, resulting in oral thrush.

Risk Factors for Developing Oral Thrush

While Candida naturally resides in our bodies without causing harm, certain factors can trigger its excessive growth, leading to oral thrush.

Stress as a Risk Factor for Oral Thrush

Studies have shown that prolonged stress weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections like oral thrush.

Stress disrupts the balance between good bacteria and yeast in your body, allowing candida to proliferate unchecked.

To combat the risk of weakened immunity, consider incorporating stress-relieving practices into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises. Regular physical activity also helps reduce stress levels while boosting your immune system.

The Link Between Hormones and Yeast Infections

Hormonal imbalances are another significant risk factor for developing oral thrush.

High estrogen levels due to pregnancy or the use of birth control pills can create favorable conditions for candida overgrowth.

Research suggests that elevated estrogen increases susceptibility to vaginal yeast infections, which could potentially extend to the oral cavity, especially if one has poor dental hygiene practices.

Prolonged Use of Antibiotics or Steroids

Taking antibiotics or steroids long-term significantly disrupts normal bacterial flora, thereby allowing uncontrolled growth of yeasts - a phenomenon known as dysbiosis, which leads directly towards the development of candidiasis, including oral thrush.

Evidence shows that those suffering from chronic illnesses like HIV/AIDS, which weaken their immune systems, are at higher risk since they lack the necessary defenses against these opportunistic pathogens.

Similarly, people living with diabetes, where elevated blood glucose provides a favorable environment for yeast proliferation, should take extra precautions to maintain proper sugar control through diet, medication, lifestyle changes, etc., reducing the chances of getting infected by these harmful fungi.

Preventing and Treating Oral Thrush

  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brushing teeth twice daily using a soft toothbrush and regular flossing helps remove food particles stuck between teeth, reducing the chances of developing oral thrush. Change your toothbrush frequently, about every three months, to help stop the thrush from returning.

  • Avoid Dry Mouth: Keeping your mouth moist prevents dryness, which may encourage fungal growth. Drinking plenty of water is recommended, alongside chewing xylitol-containing gum to stimulate saliva production.

  • Consider Natural Remedies: Several natural remedies possess antifungal properties, making them effective in treating oral thrush. Other natural remedies that include antifungal properties, such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda, may be effective in treating oral thrush.

Selection of different essential oils

Essential Oils for Toothaches and Thrush

If you're experiencing a toothache or oral thrush, essential oils can be an effective natural remedy. These oils have antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help combat the underlying cause of these conditions.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is known for its antifungal properties, making it a popular choice for treating oral thrush. It's also effective in reducing inflammation and pain associated with toothaches.

To use tea tree oil, mix 1-2 drops with coconut oil as a carrier and apply to the affected area using a cotton swab.

Lemon Essential Oil

The lemon essential oil has antimicrobial properties that make it helpful in fighting off bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

It's also great at freshening breath due to its citrusy scent. Add 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil to warm water as a mouthwash after brushing your teeth.

Clove Essential Oil

Clove essential oil contains eugenol, which has analgesic (pain-relieving) effects on dental pain caused by cavities or injury. Dilute 1-2 drops of clove essential oil in coconut or olive carrier oils before applying directly onto the affected area using a cotton swab.

In addition to using these remedies, practicing good oral hygiene, such as flossing regularly, wearing dentures properly (if applicable), and avoiding sugary foods/drinks, may help prevent developing oral thrush or toothaches.

Natural Remedy - Grapefruit Seed Extract for Oral Thrush

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a powerful natural remedy packed with antimicrobial properties that can help combat candida overgrowth in your body.

The Benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract for Yeast Infections

GSE is derived from grapefruit seeds and pulp, and it's loaded with bioflavonoids and other plant compounds that have strong antimicrobial effects against a wide range of pathogens, including candida.

  • Fights candida: GSE contains limonoids and naringenin, which are highly effective at inhibiting the growth of various fungi, including those responsible for oral thrush.

  • Promotes a healthy microbiome: By combating harmful yeast overgrowth, GSE helps restore balance within your body's ecosystem. A balanced microbiome is crucial not only for digestive health but also for immune function.

  • Safe and natural: Unlike many synthetic antifungal medications, which may come with side effects or risk of resistance, GSE offers a safe and natural alternative without these concerns.

To use GSE as a remedy against oral thrush, mix it with water 1-3 times daily or swish it around your mouth before swallowing. The suggested amount of GSE to take depends on the intensity of your symptoms, but usually, it's 5-15 drops in water taken up to three times a day.

While generally considered safe when used appropriately, some people might experience minor side effects such as stomach upset or skin irritation from topical application. Always start with lower doses to assess tolerance level, then gradually increase if necessary.


Natural remedies like grapefruit seed extract and essential oils can help alleviate oral thrush symptoms and prevent future occurrences. In addition, following a low-carb diet, managing stress, and balancing hormone levels are effective steps to combat yeast infections, including Candida.

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