Gum disease, referred to in the medical community as periodontal disease, affects up to 40 million Americans annually. This disease starts as gingivitis which causes the gums to bloat. In many cases gingivitis is not noticed until significant bone loss in the jaw occurs. Dentists note that our diet of overprocessed, soft foods full of materials that damage the tooth enamel contribute heavily to gum disease. Laser treatments, tooth extraction and root planning can be used to treat this condition.
It is possible to treat gum disease with home remedies. Simple remedies such as vitamin C boost and herbal rinses can do the trick.
Home Remedies for Gum Disease
Vitamin C is commonly known as a preventative for gum disease. Sailors in the 18th century would commonly eat limes when they were out at sea to prevent the gums from bleeding. Studies have also shown that those that do not ingest an adequate amount of vitamin C were at a higher risk for periodontal disease. Those that consume less than 60 mg of vitamin C per day are 1.5 times more likely to develop gingivitis than those that consume 180mg. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can accelerate bone regeneration and repair connective tissue, which makes it ideal for warding off gum disease.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory agent that can reduce your susceptibility to gum disease. Studies showed that those that have higher vitamin D levels in the blood were less likely to bleed during gingival probing to check for gingivitis. Sun exposure can help to provide vitamin D because UV rays trigger the synthesis of vitamin D on the skin. 10-15 minutes in the sun twice a week is adequate. You can also consume Vitamin D and calcium for supplements.
Studies have shown that stress increases the accumulation of plaque that can contribute to gum disease and the risk of gum bleeding. Studies also show that those that experienced 4 weeks of stress had higher plaque rates and gingivitis outbreaks than those that were not exposed to stress.
Coenzyme 10 is an antioxidant that is produced in the body but can also be found in supplements and foods. Some evidence suggests that lower coenzyme 10 levels lead to an increase in the risk of gum disease. Research suggests that this enzyme is necessary to repair gum tissue. After a three week study the risk of inflammation and infection was found to reduce when topical coenzyme 10 was applied. Many toothpastes contain this enzyme for this purpose.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a known antibiotic. During a study for 4-8 weeks with regular twice a day brushing, patients with chronic gingivitis were asked to apply tea tree oil on. It was found that brushing and applying tea tree oil reduced bleeding and gingivitis, but note that it did not reduce plaque present in the mount. You should not use undiluted tea tree oil for this purpose. You can also buy a toothpaste with tea tree oil to help fight bacteria while brushing.
Create an infusion of dried herbs in boiling water, strain it and then rinse the mouth out with this solution several times each day. Sage is recommended for a gum rinse because it has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the amount of gingiva in the mount. You can steep tablespoons of sage in a cup of boiling water to create this rinse. You should rinse during the day. Thyme also has potent anti-septic properties which can fight any bacteria within the mouth.
7. Turmeric Brush
Turmeric can help to treat recurring gum disease due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation limits the area where bacteria can breed. To perform a turmeric brush, pour a bit of the spice into the saucer by the sink, wet the toothbrush and dip it into the turmeric. Brush gently to apply the spice to the gums, getting it all over the gum line and gently removing plaque. Do not brush too hard as this can cause the gums to recede or wear down the teeth.
Listerine is one of the most effective non-prescription mouthwashes for reducing gingivitis or plaque buildup. Use this mouthwash for 30 seconds twice a day. There are essential oils in the mouthwash that can cause a burning sensation, but most report that they adjust to this side effect after a few days of use.
9. Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene means brushing the teeth twice a day for 2-3 minutes. If possible use an electronic toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride unless there is fluoride in your water supply. Floss your teeth daily and visit your dentist 1-2 times a year for cleanings. Do not smoke as this can damage your gums and teeth as well. Antiseptic mouthwashes can be used to clear up a gum infection, but there is some debate as to whether or not this is appropriate for those with healthy gums.