Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by an accumulation of plaque, bacteria and food particles in the mouth. It is more common than you think, 75% of the U.S. population over the age of 35 has some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of adult tooth loss. The accumulated plaque causes the gums to swell and become infected. As the gums swell, deep pockets can form between teeth roots and the gums which can trap even more plaque. This in turn can lead to loosened teeth and bone damage. Many experts are making a connection between periodontal disease and other disorders such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and diabetes. Gingivitis can also be one of the first signs of an underlying systemic issue such as heavy metal toxicity, vitamin deficiencies and allergies, to name a few.
Numerous factors can contribute to gingivitis such as:
-Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins A, C, D and calcium
-Imbalance in body chemistry
-Badly fitted filling
-Partials or dentures that irritate the surrounding gum tissue
-Eating too many soft foods
-Pregnancy and Puberty (due to hormonal factors and / or increased need for B vitamins and folic acid)
Some common medical treatments for gingivitis include scraping below the gum line, antibiotics and oral surgery, but you can prevent and even reverse gingivitis with several natural remedies. Since advanced cases of periodontal disease are difficult to treat successfully, it is best to take a proactive stance. Holistic therapies include making dietary changes that improve body chemistry, supplementation to improve nutritional deficiencies, changes and / or additions to your oral care routine.
Brushing and flossing your teeth daily is a great place to start. Consider switching your commercial brand toothpaste to herbal toothpaste with myrrh, charcoal, holy basil, neem, or baking soda as these ingredients are beneficial in reducing inflammation.
Brush your teeth with goldenseal powder daily for at least a month. Simply open a capsule and mix contents with your toothpaste, or use a liquid extract in the same way.
Change your toothbrush monthly to keep disease in check. Keep your toothbrush clean in between use. Click here to read about using GSE to clean toothbrushes.
Scrape your tongue every morning after brushing and flossing to remove bacteria. Tongue scrapers are available at most food and health stores, as well as online.
Schedule appointments for regular professional dental cleaning.
Applying aloe vera gel directly to inflamed gums eases discomfort and soothes tissue.
Applying wheat grass directly to inflamed gums will ease discomfort and soothes tissue. (Add a tsp. of wheatgrass to a small amount of water, cut a gauze pad to soak in solution and apply to gums, leave for an hour if possible and reapply as needed)
Echinacea, hawthorn berries, myrrh gum and rose hips help keep inflammation down and enhance immune function. You can apply these herbs directly as a poultice or drink them in a tea.
Goldenseal destroys the bacteria that causes periodontal disease. You can take a dropperful of a tincture and swirl in your mouth for 2-3 minutes, then swallow or spit. The tincture can also be placed on a gauze pad and then placed on the inflamed area. NOTE: Do not take internally for more than one week, as it can disturb intestinal flora. Do not take during pregnancy; do not take if you are allergic to ragweed.
Apply equal amounts of echinacea and myrrh to a cotton swab and gently apply to affected gum area 3x daily.
Mix goldenseal-myrrh powder with aloe vera gel and rub on gums.
Consider using Rosalee de le Foret’s recipe for herbal mouth wash for healthy gums:
1/2 ounce Echinacea tincture
1/4 ounce Oregon Grape Root tincture
1/8 ounce Plantain tincture
1/8 ounce Propolis tincture
To use this blend simply combine the above amounts in an amber bottle with a dropper.
Then place 30-60 drops in a mouthful of water.
Note: The water will turn cloudy as a result of the propolis resin mixing with water. Swish for 5-20 seconds and then spit out the mixture. Rinse if desire.
Use oil pulling to clean between your teeth and gums. To read more about oil pulling click here.
Rinse with salt water or olive leaf extract at the first sign of gum infection.
Coenzyme Q10-Provides energy needed for gum cell growth and the healing of gum tissue.
Coenzyme A-Works with Coq10 to support the immune system’s detoxification system.
Bone Support from Synergy Plus-Contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and other nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body and help to rebuild bone.
MSM-Has numerous therapeutic properties.
Vitamin A– Needed for healing of gum tissue.
Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids-Promotes healing especially of bleeding gums. Bioflavonoids retard plaque growth.
Vitamin D– The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties inhibit gum disease.
Vitamin E– Needed for healing of gum tissue.
Selenium-A powerful antioxidant.
Grape Seed Extract– A powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Quercetin-Has anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin B Complex– Needed for proper digestion and healthy mouth tissue.
Zinc-Enhances immune function. Prevents infection and promotes healing
Increase your whole foods intake with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber foods and avoidance of refined sugar.
Avoid caffeine, sugary desserts and carbonated drinks that help to form plaque acids.
Eat crunchy raw foods to stimulate the gums
Consume foods rich in vitamin A such as dark leafy greens, yellow and orange vegetables and fruits, fish and sea vegetables.
Consume foods rich in vitamin C, like broccoli, sea vegetables, and citrus fruits.
Sufficient pure water intake (A good rule of thumb is to consume half your weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 pounds, 75 ounces of water is your goal).
Taking care of your teeth and gums is a daily commitment to improving your overall health. Periodontal disease is much easier to reverse if taken care of early on. By using some of the methods discussed here you may be able to reverse or prevent gingivitis problems. But as always, please discuss your health concerns with your dentist and healthcare provider.