Gum disease is what you’re rewarded with when you throw oral hygiene out the window. Cavities are not the only potential repercussion of poor dental hygiene. Gum disease is another painful experience that many even fail to connect with the lack of proper oral care.
If you feel that your gums have gone past the stage of being treated with a simple oral regime, then you need to manage gum disease with home remedies.
Gum disease is simply an infection in gums that can be mild (gingivitis) caused by plaque accumulation or severe (periodontitis). (1)
- Causes of Gum Disease
- Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Prevention of Gum Disease
- Managing Gum Disease at Home
- Method 1: Use Oil Pulling
- Method 2: Use Hydrogen Peroxide
- Method 3: Use Baking Soda
- Method 4: Use Vitamin C
- Method 5: Use Salt Water
- Method 6: Use Vanilla Extract
- Method 7: Aloe Vera Juice
- Tips to manage gum diseases at home
Causes of Gum Disease
- The formation of plaque and tartar is the most common cause of gum disease. Plaque build-up due to the lack of proper brushing and flossing can harden into tartar. Both plaque and tartar accumulate bacteria and irritate gum lining, which leads to infection and inflammation in gums.
- Plaque and tartar build-up usually causes gingivitis that, when left unchecked, progresses to periodontitis. (2)
- Poor nutrition, especially vitamin C deficiency, can contribute to gum disease. (3)
- Pregnancy or menopause-related hormonal changes can also cause gingivitis. (4)
- Compromised immunity due to cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS, or leukemia can also increase the risk of gum disease. (5)
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis is often marked by swollen, puffy gums that appear dark red in color.
- Gums are often tender to touch and may bleed during brushing or flossing.
- You may also experience bad breath.
- Once gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis, your gums may appear purplish and bleed very easily.
- Gums may recede or pull away from the teeth, making them look longer than normal.
- Spaces develop between your teeth, and there is pus formation between teeth and gums.
- Teeth become loose, which leads to painful and difficult chewing.
- Severe cases of periodontitis may result in bone erosion and ultimately, tooth loss.
Prevention of Gum Disease
Follow the preventive measures: (7)
- Brush and floss twice a day regularly. In initial stages of gingivitis, brush 15 minutes after every meal to prevent plaque build-up.
- Add mouthwash to your oral care regime.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco as it also contributes to gum disease.
- Eliminate too much sweet and acidic food from your diet.
Managing Gum Disease at Home
To say that professional dental care is overly expensive is no understatement. If you don’t have dental insurance or can’t afford the visit to your dentist, some tried, and true home remedies can help you get relief from mild gum disease, but only when followed alongside a diligent oral care routine.
Here are seven ways to manage gum disease with home remedies:
Method 1: Use Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an easy and natural way to boost oral health without any side-effects. It’s simply a process in which you swish oil around in your mouth to remove bacteria, accumulated in plaque and tartar that cause gum diseases. (8)
Bacteria are surrounded by a fatty lipid membrane, which adheres to the oil. When you work the oil in your mouth, the oil pulls the bacteria hiding under the crevices of gums and teeth.
This is especially beneficial for gum disease, as there are more sites for bacteria to accumulate and hide. You can use sesame, coconut, (9) or sunflower oil for this remedy. Sesame oil is considered very effective in reducing gingival sores.
Oil pulling is also and is said to be an antidote for a hangover as well.
The process of oil pulling is very simple.
- Take a little amount of organic sesame or coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish it around in your mouth, pushing and pulling it between your teeth, for about 20 minutes.
- Spit the oil out in a trash can.
- Beginners should start with multiple sessions of 2 to 5 minutes of oil pulling. Gradually, move on to fewer sessions of larger duration as you become familiar.
- If you’re unable to hold the oil in your mouth for long, then you most likely have started with a large quantity. Spit the oil out and try it again with a small quantity of oil.
Do this once daily for 1 to 2 weeks.
Method 2: Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a medically approved antiseptic liquid that can eradicate bad bacteria in your mouth and help you restore your gum health. (10)
Generally used to disinfect cuts and wounds, hydrogen peroxide can be safely used as a mouthwash to treat gum disease. Always use 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted with water as an oral rinse. Hydrogen peroxide will also whiten your teeth over time.
Single-Step Treatment: Dilute hydrogen peroxide & use as a mouthwash
- Pour 1/2 glass of hydrogen peroxide into a 1/2 glass of water.
- Sip 1 ounce of the solution and swish it around your mouth for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Rinse your mouth well with water.
Do this every night, after you’re done with your meals for the day, preferably before going to bed. You should notice considerable improvement within just 2 or 3 weeks.
Method 3: Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is not just useful in whitening the teeth but can also help get relief from gum disease. The harmful bacteria responsible for gum disease often thrive in an acidic environment.
Baking soda helps establish the right pH balance in the mouth, promoting the natural flora. It promotes alkalinity in the mouth that makes the environment inhospitable for harmful bacteria and supports the beneficial bacteria. (11)
This baking soda mouthwash also contains essential oil to help with the inflammation and promote healing. Clove oil is especially beneficial for reducing pain. Honey improves taste and makes the mouthwash more palatable.
Things you’ll need:
- Hot filtered water – 1 cup
- Honey (adds flavor) – 1 teaspoon
- Baking soda (balances pH level) – 1 teaspoon
- Clove essential oil (antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent) – 1 or 2 drops
- Peppermint essential oil (antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent) – 4 or 5 drops
- Tea tree essential oil (antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent) – 4 or 5 drops
Step 1. Dissolve baking soda into water
- Put 1 teaspoon of baking soda into 1 cup of hot filtered water.
- Stir well with a spoon to dissolve the baking soda completely.
Step 2. Add honey and essential oils
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey to the baking soda solution.
- Add 4 or 5 drops each of tea tree and peppermint essential oil to the solution.
- Add 1 or 2 drops of clove essential oil as well.
Step 3. Mix and use the solution as a mouthwash
- Mix the ingredients well with a spoon.
- Pour the contents into an airtight jar for storage or use immediately as mouthwash. This mouthwash should keep well for 1 week under refrigeration.
- Take 4 or 5 teaspoons of the solution into your mouth and swish it around for 30 seconds.
- Spit it out in the sink and rinse your mouth with plenty of water.
- Shake well before each use.
Continue with the remedy for about 3 weeks to notice an improvement in the state of your gums.
Method 4: Use Vitamin C
If you’re keeping up with a decent oral care routine, the cause of your gum disease may be a vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays an important role in growth, healing, and repair of connective tissue. (12)
Vitamin C aids the production of collagen that constitutes the gum lining and allows the gum to adhere to the teeth and the teeth on the jawbone. (13)
Vitamin C helps restore the health of the gums and gum lining, in spite of the harmful bacteria (may be present) in the mouth. Vitamin C intake can reduce the pain of bleeding gums and loose teeth.
The human body doesn’t synthesize vitamin C, and as it is a water-soluble molecule, it is passed through urine and your body is unable to store it. As a result, you need to keep up with the daily intake of vitamin C through food and dietary supplements.
- Consume fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C like kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red peppers, potatoes, guava, papaya, cantaloupe, and cranberries.
- Never go for citrus fruits while attempting to increase vitamin C intake through food as citric acid can really worsen the condition of your mouth and cause enamel erosion.
- You can also consume vitamin C through dietary supplements in the form of tablets, capsules, powder or liquid. The adult dosage of vitamin C is 250mg to 500mg twice a day with meals.
Method 5: Use Salt Water
Salt has many health benefits. A simple salt water rinse can be helpful in reducing pain and swelling associated with gum disease. Warm salt water can help leech out the fluid in the gums that eases up the symptoms.
Salt water rinse is a great way to kill the harmful bacteria and make the oral environment feasible for the flora responsible for oral health. To make a salt water rinse, use coarse sea salt for maximum benefits, although you may use table salt in a pinch. (14)
Step 1. Add salt to warm water
- Add 2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt to a cup of warm water.
Step 2. Stir and use as an oral rinse to treat gum disease
- Stir well to dissolve the salt into the warm water.
- Use the entire solution as a mouthwash. Swish it around the mouth over the gums to ease up the swelling before spitting it out.
Repeat the process at least thrice a day, especially before going to bed for 3 or 4 weeks to treat gum disease. The swelling should go down within a few days.
Method 6: Use Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract can be extremely beneficial if you’re dealing with extreme pain in your inflamed gums. Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, it numbs your gums so that you don’t feel the pain of the swollen gums anymore. It is also advised for treating toothache. (15)
Single-Step Treatment: Apply pure vanilla extract on the swollen gums
- Dip a sterile cotton ball in some pure vanilla extract and place the dipped cotton over the affected gums for about 10 minutes.
Repeat the activity thrice a day for a few weeks to treat gum disease pain.
Method 7: Aloe Vera Juice
According to a 2016 study, published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, aloe vera can be used as an alternative treatment in bringing relief to patients suffering from gingivitis. (16)
You can use fresh aloe vera juice and use it as a regular mouthwash to rinse your mouth three times a day.
Tips to manage gum diseases at home
- If you’re using coconut oil for oil pulling, spit out the oil in a trashcan. Never spit coconut oil in the sink as it can clog the drains.
- Chewing raw garlic may be helpful in dealing with gum disease. (17)
- Intake of calcium and vitamin D through food, controlled sun exposure, or dietary supplements can boost oral health during the treatment of gum disease.
- Page, R C. Gingivitis. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. U.S. National Library of Medicine. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3522644. Published May 1998.
- Gum Disease. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/gum-diseae/more-info.
- Touyz, L Z. Oral Scurvy, and Periodontal Disease. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. U.S. National Library of Medicine. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9433025. Published Dec 1997.
- Wu, Min, et al. Relationship between Gingival Inflammation and Pregnancy. Relationship between Gingival Inflammation and Pregnancy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4385665/. Published Mar 2015.
- Winkler, J R, and P B Robertson. Periodontal Disease Associated with HIV Infection. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. U.S. National Library of Medicine. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1532235. Published Feb 1992.
- Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Overview. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. U.S. National Library of Medicine. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279593/. Published 18 June 2014.
- Jeffcoat, M K. “Prevention of Periodontal Diseases in Adults: Strategies for the Future.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. U.S. National Library of Medicine. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7845943. Published Sept 1994.
- Shanbhag, Vagish Kumar. (PDF) Oil Pulling for Maintaining Oral Hygiene – A Review. Researchgate. www.researchgate.net/publication/303828015. Published June 2016.
- Peedikayil, Faizal C., et al. Effect of Coconut Oil in Plaque Related Gingivitis: A Preliminary Report. Nigerian Medical Journal. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382606/. Published 2015.
- Rashed, Hazem Tarek. Evaluation of the Effect of Hydrogen Peroxide. Journal of International Society of Preventive and Community Dentistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4916793/. Published May 2016.
- Newbrun, E. “The Use of Sodium Bicarbonate in Oral Hygiene Products and Practice.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12017930. Published 1997.
- Rubinoff, A B, et al. “Vitamin C and Oral Health.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2676112. Published Sept 1989.
- Najeeb, Shariq, et al. “The Role of Nutrition in Periodontal Health: An Update.” Nutrients MDPI. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037517/. Published Aug 2016.
- Huynh, Nam Cong-Nhat, et al. “Rinsing with Saline Promotes Human Gingival Fibroblast Wound Healing In Vitro.” PLOS One- A Peer-Reviewed Open Access Journal. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4956236/. Published July 2016.
- E Sá, Rita de Cássia da Silveira, et al. “Analgesic-Like Activity of Essential Oil Constituents: Researchgate. www.researchgate.net/publication/321737514. Published Dec 2017.
- Vangipuram, Swathi, et al. “Comparative Efficacy of Aloe Vera Mouthwash and Chlorhexidine on Periodontal Health: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Clinical Experimental Dentistry. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5045693/. Published Oct 2016.
- Rao, H.T. Ajay, et al. “Efficacy of Garlic Extract and Chlorhexidine Mouthwash in Reduction of Oral Salivary Microorganisms, an in Vitro Study.” Ancient Science of Life. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4389398/. Published 2014.
Summary of How to Treat Gum Disease
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