If your gums are red or swollen, often bleed, or are otherwise irritated, there is a strong chance that you may have gingivitis—which is the earliest and most common form of gum disease. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends that you schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can provide personalized advice, and you may want to discuss some of these home remedies, which are proven effective at preventing and reversing gingivitis.
- Brushing twice a day – The most important steps you can take to prevent and reverse gingivitis is to brush after breakfast and again before going to sleep. Use a fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or electric toothbrush, and replace the brush or brush head every three to four months or as soon as there are visible signs of wear.
- Flossing daily – While brushing eliminates most plaque, your toothbrush cannot reach as well between teeth and below the gumline. This is where flossing comes in. You only need to floss once every 24 hours. A regular dental visit will remove any missed plaque. Be sure to ask your dentist about proper flossing technique.
- Hydrogen peroxide – Jennifer Jablow—a cosmetic dentist in New York City—recommends rinsing with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which can kill the harmful bacteria in your mouth that leads to gingivitis. Dr. Jablow recommends mixing it 50/50 with water. You can rinse with that mixture as well as use it in your water flosser in order to kill bacteria below the gumline.
- Baking Soda – There is a reason some store-bought toothpastes feature baking soda as an ingredient. Baking soda can neutralize acids that contribute to gum disease. In addition, research published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry in 2017 found that toothpastes with sodium bicarbonate performed better than those without at removing plaque. You can opt for a store-bought toothpaste with baking soda, or you can mix baking soda with water to create a paste and brush with that on occasion.
- Salt Water – Research published in the scientific journal PLOS One found that salt water can help gums inflamed by gingivitis recover. Salt water is also a disinfectant that can kill harmful bacteria in your mouth. You can rinse with water as often as you like, so just add salt on occasion.
- Lemongrass oil – Lemongrass oil is an excellent way to create a natural mouthwash, and it combats plaque too. Researchers found that a rinse with 0.25 percent lemongrass oil could reduce plaque levels. The study published in the Journal of Clinical Diagnosis and Research recommends two or three drops to one cup of water. Swish vigorously as you would with plain water, and then spit the mixture out.
- Coconut Oil – Other research published in the Journal of Clinical Diagnosis and Research found that coconut oil can also reduce plaque. The test subjects swished coconut oil in their mouths once a day for seven days and 10 minutes at a time.
- Sage mouthwash – Sage mouthwash is a good option for rinsing and gargling. It has anti-inflammatory aspects that can soothe gum inflammation due to gingivitis. Iranian researchers found that regular use of sage mouthwash significantly reduces the bacteria that leads to dental plaque. You can create your own. Add 1 teaspoon of dried sage or 2 teaspoons of fresh sage to 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture, and let it cool to room temperature before use.
- Turmeric paste – Turmeric is an Indian spice often used in curries and other dishes, but it also has medicinal qualities, including antioxidants, antimicrobial properties, and anti-inflammatory aspects. Researchers at Punjab University found that rubbing turmeric paste into gums inflamed by gingivitis can provide relief. Make your own paste by mixing 1 teaspoon of turmeric, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of mustard oil.
- Green Tea – Last but certainly not least is green tea, which is increasingly recognized for a wide range of health benefits. Green tea is a particularly appealing home remedy for tea drinkers since they can easily incorporate it into existing habits. The reason green tea is a good option for staving off and reversing gingivitis is that it is high in antioxidants that can counteract the inflammatory response to bad bacteria. The Journal of International Oral Health also reports that these antioxidants can ease swelling and bleeding as well. In addition, green tea has polyphenols that can inhibit the growth of the bacteria.
Fight Back Against Gum Disease
Gum disease is a battle you can win simply through consistent at-home oral hygiene and regular visits with your dentist. Scottsdale Dental Excellence is a leading dental practice in the Greater Scottsdale area. Patients of Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, receive personalized care and advice and have access to regular exams and cleanings as well as a full range of cosmetic and restorative procedures. Call our office at 480 585 1853 with any questions you may have and to schedule your initial consultation.