10 home remedies for gum disease
If you need home treatment for unhealthy gums, a few of these remedies might help. But be sure to see a dentist soon.
If you’re dealing with pain or swelling in your gums or you spit blood after brushing or flossing, your body may be telling you that something’s not quite right. Bleeding from any part of your body suggests an injury, and bleeding gums aren’t an exception.
Swollen, inflamed gums are a sign that bacteria are infecting your gums. To prevent further damage to your gums, teeth and jaw, find out what home remedies you can use to help prevent gum disease until you can see a dentist.
Home remedies for gum disease and loose teeth
Professional treatment by dental professionals is essential to controlling gum disease and treating infections. But there are natural remedies for gum disease and loose teeth that you can add to your overall strategy. Like any disease, the faster you act at the first problematic signs, the better chance you have of keeping your teeth healthy.
Loose teeth and swellings often indicate advanced gum disease. In some cases, over 80% of the bone may be destroyed before teeth start to move. But if you’re just starting to notice bleeding without any pain or looseness, home remedies can help control your gum disease.
1. Green tea
Green tea contains high amounts of antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation. Green tea can help counteract the immune system’s inflammatory response to bacteria in the mouth. This reduced inflammation helps reduce damage to the gums and supporting jawbone.
The polyphenols can also restrict the growth of bacteria that lead to gum inflammation. Drinking green tea may help overall health, and it’s an alternative to coffee that many people enjoy. Consider adding a couple of servings every day to your diet but be careful if you’re sensitive to caffeine. A cup of green tea contains about 28 mg of caffeine, compared to 96 mg in a cup of coffee.¹
2. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide, a mild antiseptic, is often helpful in the prevention of skin infections from minor cuts and scrapes. Swishing with hydrogen peroxide may also help relieve minor mouth irritations and kill bacteria that could lead to gum disease. Hydrogen peroxide can be purchased in 3% solution at the pharmacy and diluted with 50% water.
Consider using diluted hydrogen peroxide in a water flosser, like a Waterpik. These oral irrigators send a stream of water around the teeth and under the gums, which helps remove and kill harmful bacteria.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera has a long history of treating scrapes and burns on the skin, but it’s proven to be useful in the mouth, too. Researchers showed that aloe vera was just as effective as two commercially toothpastes at reducing disease-causing bacteria.²
Aloe vera has also been shown to help healing after gum surgery. Application with gel may result in better initial healing and reduce discomfort. If your gums are sore or swollen, you may notice relief with aloe vera.
There are over 300 species of the plant, but only a few of them are used medicinally. It’s important to use the right type and make sure it’s 100% pure. If you’re using a rinse, swish for 30 seconds, brush, and spit. You may also directly apply a gel and gently massage around the gums.
4. Turmeric paste
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in curries, but research has shown that it’s capable of reducing inflammation throughout the body. In addition, it appears to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
Turmeric can be used in multiple ways for health and dietary benefits. Adding the spice to food allows it to work with other nutrients. Oral supplements provide a steady amount to the body, but make sure you use a highly absorbable form for maximum benefit.
5. Sage mouthwash
Some types of mouthwash contain high amounts of alcohol and may even dry the mouth out and allow more bacterial plaque to form. But a rinse that contains sage can calm inflamed gums. Daily rinsing with a sage mouthwash can decreased the bacteria that causes dental plaque.
You can make your own sage rinse at home. Add two tablespoons of fresh sage or one teaspoon of dried sage to a cup or two of boiling water. Let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes before straining it. You can store it in a bottle and rinse with a small amount twice daily for 30 seconds.
Saltwater is a natural disinfectant that can eliminate bacteria that causes gum disease and help heal inflamed mouth tissue. Salt causes fluids to move away from the swelling. If you need a gum abscess home remedy, warm saltwater is a good place to start.
7. Lemongrass oil
A mouthwash containing a small amount of lemongrass oil can lower bacterial plaque levels. A wash with 0.25% lemongrass oil can reduce plaque better than chlorhexidine gluconate, a proven anti-bacterial rinse used to treat gum inflammation.³
A lemongrass oil rinse is quick and easy to create, but it can be potent. Simply add two to three drops of lemongrass oil to a cup of water, swish for 30 seconds, and spit. You may want to try just one drop at first and increase if it doesn’t aggravate the lining of your mouth.
8. Baking soda
Sodium bicarbonate can be an effective ingredient to use on your teeth and gums. It works against harmful mouth bacteria, and it also neutralizes acids that cause inflammation and damage of tooth surfaces. As an added bonus, sodium bicarbonate breaks down stains and can brighten teeth.
You can make a paste by mixing a small amount of baking soda with water and gently brushing on your teeth. This slurry provides one method of cleaning, but it’s important to include other anti-bacterial compounds.
9. Coconut oil
Swishing your mouth with coconut oil for an extended period may help gum disease but there’s not much credible research to support it.
10. Daily brushing and flossing
Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing is still one of the best home remedies for good oral health. Removing plaque and disrupting bacteria that colonize the teeth and gums removes the primary cause of gum disease. Bacteria quickly reproduce in the mouth, so it’s important to make morning and night cleaning a consistent effort.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease begins when plaque builds up on your teeth and around your gums. Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria, toxins, and food compounds. Your body responds to the acidic film with an inflammatory response from the immune system. This response leads to bleeding gums, known as gingivitis, the earliest sign of gum disease. As the chronic inflammation continues, bone may deteriorate and lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, and 47% of patients over age 30 have gum disease.⁴
Can gum disease affect my overall health?
Problems in your mouth can have a profound effect on other parts of your body. Most of the 700 types⁵ of bacteria found in your mouth are harmless, but some are the type that cause tooth decay or gum disease. If left to multiply and grow, those same bacteria can cause redness and swelling—typical signs of inflammation and infection. When that happens, the bacteria can enter the body and take up residence in the heart and lungs. The following diseases have been linked to oral infections:
Atherosclerosis and heart disease: Gum disease can increase the risk of damaged arteries and cardiovascular disease and worsen existing heart disease
Stroke: Gum disease can increase stroke risk from blocked vessels
Diabetes: People with diabetes and gum disease can struggle more to control their blood sugar than diabetics with healthy gums
Respiratory disease: Gum disease may initiate lung problems and worsen existing lung conditions if mouth bacteria migrate downward
Gum disease remedies take a team effort
Every effort you can take to control gum disease can help reduce your risk of tooth loss and other health conditions and natural home remedies for gum disease are a good start. But treating gum disease takes a constant, coordinated effort with your dentist and hygienist. In some cases, you may need to see a specialist, known as a periodontist.
Combine your home remedies for the best outcomes. Use a toothbrush, floss, water flosser, or toothpicks to disrupt the sticky plaque. Consider using a rinse before and after your normal cleaning routine for maximum effectiveness.
See your dentist at least twice each year. If you have gum disease, your treatment may include additional visits for deep cleanings. Your dental team can also make specific recommendations to help you maintain your teeth for a lifetime. Be sure to discuss your efforts with them and develop a strategy that fits your routine.
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This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.
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