Mild gum disease (gingivitis) can easily be treated at home without any aggressive therapies. In this post I share how to take control of your oral health and keep gum disease at bay using only natural methods.
Have You Got Gum Disease?
Most adults in the UK will experience gum disease at some point in their lives. The symptoms are easy to spot but are often ignored, with people thinking they will just go away by themselves. Often they do if you continue to brush effectively and regularly; but if left untreated mild gum disease can progress to the more severe periodontal disease – that can result in tooth loss and other complications.
Three signs you may have gum disease:
- Red, inflamed gums: Gum disease is an infection of the soft tissue and results in painful inflamed gums.
- Bleeding gums: Bleeding is not a natural occurrence when you brush your teeth; so pay attention if you do experience bleeding gums.
- Bad breath: bacteria in your mouth cause gum disease that when combined with food particles (particular sugary and acidic foods) create plaque, causing inflammation of your gums. It’s these bacteria, emitting foul smelling gases that cause bad breath.
At this early stage, a good oral hygiene routine is usually all that’s necessary to remove the bacteria causing gum disease and restore your gums to health. However, you may want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to eliminate that pesky bacteria and boost your oral health.
Here are five natural ways to treat gum disease:
# 1: Drink Green Tea
Green tea has been found to have antioxidants that speeds up healing and reduces inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that people who drink green tea regularly have better overall gum health than those who don’t, making it a great alternative to other hot drinks throughout the day.
# 2: Saline Solution
Instead of using commercial medicated mouthwashes to treat gum disease, try a warm salt solution once a day. This will remove bacteria and also reduce inflammation. However, used too often salt water can damage your teeth – so restrict your use to once per day. Use half a teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water, stir until dissolved, then rinse in the same way you would with a conventional mouthwash.
#3: Bicarbonate Of Soda
Many toothpastes now contain bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), both for its’ mild abrasive action that helps remove staining; but also because it neutralises the acid in the mouth that can be a factor of gum disease. You can make your own natural toothpaste by mixing bicarb with water to form a paste, and brush as normal.
#4: Coconut Oil
‘Oil pulling’ is a practice that dates back 3,000 years to Ayurvedic medicine, but evidence of its effectiveness is hard to find. The principal of this practice is to rinse or swish approximately a tablespoon of oil around the mouth and in between the teeth, to pick up bacteria that are drawn to the oil from hard to reach crevices. The bacteria is held in suspension in the oil and removed from the mouth by spitting it out. While oil pulling cannot replace good brushing and other oral hygiene practices, many people attest to its positive benefits. If you want to try this for yourself I suggest you use coconut oil, which contains lauric acid. This has been shown to inhibit Strep mutans, the primary bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Turmeric is well known as an anti-inflammatory, used both in cooking and in India medicine. It also has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties so can be used to treat infected gums, and also reduce bacteria in the mouth. Turmeric powder, or mashed up fresh root, can be combined with water or coconut oil, to form a paste and then used as a toothpaste. Turmeric is also well known for its bright yellow colour when added to curries or used for dyeing clothes. It takes a considerable amount of rinsing with water to remove the colour from your teeth, and has a habit of staining everything it comes in contact with!
None of the above methods can replace a good oral hygiene routine involving brushing for at least two minutes twice a day, flossing, using interdentals regularly and reducing your consumption of sugar.
It is important to continue brushing effectively even when you have sore, swollen gums. Brushing removes the bacteria that cause the inflammation, and although it may be unpleasant if your gums are bleeding, it is the most effective way to treat the condition. If you’re worried about bacteria lurking below the gum line where a conventional toothbrush can’t reach, a GumSaver brush can help remove bacteria from these areas.
Those people that smoke are at greater risk of developing gum disease. Because it can be harder to spot and treat, gingivitis more often develops into periodontal disease in smokers. For more on smoking and gum disease click here.
Finally, if you have any concerns about your oral health the best advice is to visit your dentist for a check up. Regular check ups ensure problems like gum disease are spotted early, before any permanent damage is done. Dentists are your friends!