Treating Gum Disease Naturally

Gum disease or as professionally known as Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, whereby the gums become swollen, red, and may bleed when touched. If this condition is allowed to deteriorate, it may become periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease whereby the gums pull away from the tooth, and bone tissue may be lost. In this case the teeth may loosen or fall out. Gingivitis precedes periodontitis, but not every gingivitis case will progress to periodontitis.

Bad breath is common in any form of periodontal disease, which  is generally due to bacteria in the mouth infecting the tissue around the teeth. Gingivitis affects the gums, and periodontitis affects both the gums and the bone that supports the tooth.

Although no natural cure has been found to treat periodontal disease, some may help decrease plaque buildup that precedes periodontal disease.

Here are five natural remedies that help promote healthy gums.

Neem

Neem is a plant found to possess antibacterial properties. A small study on neem and gum health published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2014 revealed that neem, when used as a mouthwash were successful in reducing plaque and preventing gingivitis. (1)

Tea Tree Oil

According to a report from Clinical Microbiology Reviews in 2006, tea tree oil can help in the treatment of gingivitis. Search for a toothpaste that contains this essential oil as an ingredient. However, beware of using the essential tea tree oil in its undiluted form as a treatment, since consuming it can be toxic. (2)

Cranberry

Research shows that cranberries may help prevent gum disease by stopping bacteria from sticking to the teeth. What’s more, a preliminary study found in the Journal of Periodontal Research shows that ingredients found in cranberries can help treat periodontitis-related inflammation. (3) You may consume cranberries as a fruit or in the form of a sugar free cranberry juice to reap the benefits.

Vitamin C

Evidence has been found that vitamin C is important in protecting gum health. In a study from the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found that adults who consumed less vitamin C had a greater risk of periodontal disease. (4)

Vitamin C can be found in foods like oranges, grapefruit, mango, kiwi, strawberry, papaya, red pepper, broccoli, cantaloupe, and brussels sprouts. If you are suffering currently from any form of periodontal disease, taking 1000mg of vitamin C as a supplement can be very supportive.

Oil Pulling

A cure that has been long used in Ayurveda, known as oil pulling includes swishing a tablespoon of oil (such as sesame or coconut oil) in your mouth for about 15 minutes.

Evidence on oil pulling’s positive effects is limited, but a few small studies (including a clinical trial from the Indian Journal of Dental Research) have shown that oil pulling can reduce plaque buildup and protect your gums against gingivitis. (5

Additional Advice

Besides brushing, flossing, and having your teeth cleaned at the dentist’s professionally, you can maintain your oral health by consuming food that is high in calcium and foods and beverages that are low in sugar. (6

Some lifestyle practices can also help improve your gum health. For example, avoiding smoking can greatly reduce your risk of developing gum disease. There’s also evidence that shows how managing your stress can help prevent gingivitis because both smoking and stress form free radicals that may cause harm to gum tissue. Also the toxins in cigarette smoke are very harmful to gum tissue. (7

However, if you notice symptoms, such as pain while eating, bleeding gums, or teeth sensitivity, it’s important to consult with your dentist.

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References:

  • (1) Sharma R, Hebbal M, Ankola AV, Murugaboopathy V, Shetty SJ. Effect of two herbal mouthwashes on gingival health of school children. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014;4(4):272-8. doi:10.4103/2225-4110.131373
  • (2) Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006;19(1):50–62. doi:10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006
  • (3) Tipton DA, Babu JP, Dabbous MKh. Effects of cranberry components on human aggressive periodontitis gingival fibroblasts. J Periodont Res. 2013;48(4):433-42. doi:10.1111/jre.12023
  • (4) Nishida M, Grossi SG, Dunford RG, Ho AW, Trevisan M, Genco RJ. Dietary vitamin C and the risk for periodontal disease. J Periodontol. 2000;71(8):1215-23. doi:10.1902/jop.2000.71.8.1215
  • (5) Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res. 2009;20(1):47-51. doi:10.4103/0970-9290.49067
  • (6) Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Healthy nutrition for healthy teeth. Updated May 2018.
  • (7) Goyal S, Gupta G, Thomas B, Bhat KM, Bhat GS. Stress and periodontal disease: The link and logic!!. Ind Psychiatry J. 2013;22(1):4–11. doi:10.4103/0972-6748.123585

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