5 Natural Remedies for Healthy Gums

5 Ways to Improve Your Gums Naturally

healthy gum remedies
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A number of natural remedies may help you achieve healthy gums, an important part of your overall wellbeing. When added to an oral hygiene routine that also includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing often, and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups, these natural remedies may help fend off gum disease.

Why Are Natural Remedies Sometimes Used for Healthy Gums?

In your mouth, bacteria are constantly forming a sticky substance called plaque on your teeth.

Brushing and flossing can help you get rid of plaque, but the substance can also harden and, in turn, form another substance called tartar.

In many cases, the buildup of plaque and tartar can lead to the development of gingivitis, a condition marked by inflammation of the gums. When left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis (meaning "inflammation around the tooth"). Not only known to cause tooth loss, periodontitis has been linked to heart disease in a number of studies.

Although no natural remedy has been found to treat or prevent gum disease, certain remedies may help fight plaque buildup and keep your gums healthy.

5 Natural Remedies for Healthy Gums

Here's a look at five natural remedies said to promote healthy gums:

1) Neem

Another ayurvedic remedy, neem is a plant found to possess antibacterial properties.

Research on neem and gum health includes a small study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2014.

For this study, 105 children (ages 12 to 15) used mouthwashes containing neem, mango, or chlorhexidine (an antiseptic found in many mouthwashes) twice a day for three weeks. Results revealed that all three mouthwashes were effective in reducing plaque and inhibiting gingivitis.

Learn more about the benefits of neem.

2) Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil may aid in the treatment of gingivitis, according to report published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews in 2006. If you're thinking of using tea tree oil for gum health, choose a toothpaste that contains this essential oil as an ingredient. Ingesting undiluted tea tree oil (or using homemade tea tree oil tooth remedies) can be toxic.

3) Cranberry

Some research shows that cranberry may help thwart gum disease by preventing bacteria from sticking to your teeth.

What's more, a preliminary study published in the Journal of Periodontal Research in 2013 suggests that compounds found in cranberry may help regulate periodontitis-related inflammation.

4) Vitamin C

There's some evidence that vitamin C could play a role in protecting gum health. In a study published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2000, for example, researchers analyzed data on 12,419 adults and found that those who consumed the least vitamin C had the greatest risk of periodontal disease.

For help in filling up on vitamin C, include foods such as grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, mango, papaya, strawberry, red pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe in your diet.

5) Oil Pulling

A remedy long used in ayurveda, oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (such as coconut oil or sesame oil) around your mouth for about 15 minutes at a time.

Research on oil pulling's health effects is limited, but several small studies (including a clinical trial published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research in 2009) have indicated that oil pulling may reduce plaque buildup and offer some protection against gingivitis.

Should You Use Natural Remedies for Healthy Gums?

Before using any type of natural remedy for healthy gums, remember that no remedy should be used as a substitute for standard oral care.

Along with brushing, flossing, and having your teeth professionally cleaned, you can preserve your oral health by following a diet high in calcium-rich foods and low in sugary foods and beverages.

Several lifestyle practices may also help enhance your gum health. For instance, avoiding smoking can significantly lower your risk of developing gum disease. There's also some evidence that managing your stress [link: http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aznaturalremedyindex/a/stress_management.htm] can help keep your gums healthy.

Related: Natural Remedies to Quit Smoking

If you're experiencing symptoms such as bleeding gums, pain while chewing, or sensitivity in your teeth, it's crucial to consult your dentist rather than attempting to self-treat gum-health issues with natural remedies.

Sources

Asokan S1, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. "Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study." Indian J Dent Res. 2009 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-51.

Asokan S1, Rathan J, Muthu MS, Rathna PV, Emmadi P; Raghuraman; Chamundeswari. "Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study." J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2008 Mar;26(1):12-7.

Bodet C1, Grenier D, Chandad F, Ofek I, Steinberg D, Weiss EI. "Potential oral health benefits of cranberry." Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Aug;48(7):672-80.

Carson CF1, Hammer KA, Riley TV. "Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties." Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan;19(1):50-62.

Chatterjee A1, Saluja M, Singh N, Kandwal A. "To evaluate the antigingivitis and antipalque effect of an Azadirachta indica (neem) mouthrinse on plaque induced gingivitis: A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial." J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2011 Oct;15(4):398-401.

Deinzer R1, Hilpert D, Bach K, Schawacht M, Herforth A. "Effects of academic stress on oral hygiene--a potential link between stress and plaque-associated disease?" J Clin Periodontol. 2001 May;28(5):459-64.

Nishida M, Grossi SG, Dunford RG, Ho AW, Trevisan M, Genco RJ. "Dietary vitamin C and the risk for periodontal disease." J Periodontol. 2000 Aug;71(8):1215-23. National Institutes of Health Fact Sheet on vitamin D

Peedikayil FC1, Sreenivasan P2, Narayanan A3. "Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis - A preliminary report." Niger Med J. 2015 Mar-Apr;56(2):143-7.

Sharma R1, Hebbal M2, Ankola AV2, Murugaboopathy V3, Shetty SJ4. "Effect of two herbal mouthwashes on gingival health of school children." J Tradit Complement Med. 2014 Oct;4(4):272-8.

Tipton DA1, Babu JP, Dabbous MKh. "Effects of cranberry components on human aggressive periodontitis gingival fibroblasts." J Periodontal Res. 2013 Aug;48(4):433-42.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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