Natural Remedies to Heal and Prevent Gum Disease

Updated on September 16, 2017
ChristinS profile image

Christin is a natural health and wellness advocate with 20 years' of experience studying and working in the health and supplement industry.

Natural Tooth Care

Natural ways to care for teeth. Prevent and reverse gum disease, periodontal disease and yellowing/aging teeth.
Natural ways to care for teeth. Prevent and reverse gum disease, periodontal disease and yellowing/aging teeth. | Source

Tooth decay is not a natural, bodily process as many are lead to believe. It is caused by excessive bacteria and debris in the mouth that form into plaque that sticks to the teeth. Over time, this causes the enamel on the face of the teeth and the dentin underneath to begin to erode. Often times, this goes unnoticed until the process is very far gone, at which point tooth sensitivity and cavities occur.

Tooth decay is dependent on 3 factors: bacteria, the availability of sugars for the bacteria to feed on, and the strength of the tooth enamel. Poor nutrition is the leading cause of tooth decay, with those who consume large amounts of processed and refined carbohydrates at highest risk. Those who eat often without brushing between meals also put themselves at higher risk, regardless of the foods they choose.

Other factors include acidic saliva and some medical conditions that cause softening of the tooth enamel.

There are many ways, other than the obvious rinsing and brushing, to help prevent and reverse tooth decay.

Things You Should Do

  • Eat raw fruits and vegetables daily. They are healthy for the body and the saliva. Minerals in raw produce keep the saliva from becoming too acidic. Acids are what soften enamel, leading to erosion.
  • Brush and floss daily using an electric toothbrush. These are no longer as pricey as they used to be. I bought my Brushpoint Rechargeable Oral Care System for under $20. It is an electronic rotating toothbrush and comes with replacement heads, flossing attachments, and an attachment for cleaning under the gum line. I love it. Between this and daily oil pulling my teeth stay white without the need for harsh bleaching kits.
  • Practice oil pulling daily. This is a ritual practiced in many Eastern countries that is beginning to gain popularity in the US. This practice pulls toxins from deep inside the gums and between the teeth, preventing and in some cases reversing gum disease. When I began this practice I was starting to see pink stains when I brushed, a sure sign that all is not well in gum land. Within two days, all bleeding and traces of pink stopped completely and they have not reoccurred. My gums are now a healthy pink and my teeth are whiter as well.

How to Oil Pull

Every morning, before eating or drinking, take approximately ½ to 1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil and place it in your mouth. Gently swish and swirl the oil around your mouth, pushing between the teeth and pulling from side to side. Do this for a full 15 minutes taking extra care to not swallow the oil. The oil will mix with your saliva and as you continue to pull the oil it will remove toxins throughout the mouth. When you spit it out and discard it, the mixture will look filmy and white. Within a few days, you will notice gums stop bleeding, and your teeth start to whiten. There are many other health benefits associated with oil pulling as well, so it's a great habit to develop. I prefer coconut oil to olive oil because the taste is more palatable.

Have you Tried Oil Pulling Before?

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Things to Avoid

  • Avoiding carbonated soft drinks. Not only are they acidic, they are high in phosphates, which leech calcium from the tooth enamel. Calcium is vital for strong bones and soft drinks have been shown to not only damage teeth but contribute to increased risk of bone loss and osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin C is great, especially during cold and flu season, but you should avoid chewable vitamin C supplements, which erode the enamel on the teeth. Stick to regular capsules when you need a boost.
  • Don't brush too much! Too much of a good thing can also damage the teeth because it causes the gums to recede, exposing the root areas of the teeth. Thorough, two-minute brushing twice a day is sufficient. Between meals, quickly brush away particles with a very soft brush and then rinse with a mouthwash.

Philips Sonicare Hx3631/03 Powerup Battery Toothbrush, Orange
Philips Sonicare Hx3631/03 Powerup Battery Toothbrush, Orange

This is my favorite toothbrush. It runs on 2 AA batteries (included) and has a 2 minute timer. The bristles are the perfect strength and it comes with a replacement head. I got mine for about $13 prime - great investment and does a great job on my teeth without having to shell out the dough for a really expensive electric brush.


Herbal Remedies for Mouth Pain or Toothaches

If you have a toothache, clove oil can be applied to the affected tooth with a cotton swab to help reduce the pain. Goldenseal may also be applied in a similar fashion: place the cotton soaked with goldenseal onto the inflamed area and leave it overnight for up to 3 nights to help kill infection and reduce inflammation.

Sage is a great herb for oral care and it is in a variety of natural tooth care products. You can make your own sage toothpaste by grinding up dried sage into a powder and mixing with baking soda. Do only a little bit at a time to avoid dipping your toothbrush into the same container. Discard after a few days and start fresh.

To create a sage rinse, bring ¼ cup of dried, crushed sage leaves to a boil in a cup of water. Once it boils remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 30 minutes. Strain off the herbs and use the liquid to rinse with several times daily.

Anti-inflammatory herbs like astragalus, calendula, peppermint, and chamomile are also useful and can be taken as teas or supplements.

Gums inflamed? Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) and goldenseal supplements can be taken internally for brief periods to boost the immune system, fight infections, and cleanse the blood. Add a few drops of GSE to water and drink it a couple of times a day. Goldenseal is a very potent cleansing herb. It can be found in capsule form but should never be taken for longer than a week at a time.

Supplements for Preventing Gum and Periodontal Disease

  • Probiotics: Acidophilus and other probiotics supply the body with friendly bacteria that boost the immune system. Those with tooth decay often have chronically taxed immune systems.
  • Calcium and magnesium: Taken together these minerals help one another with absorption. Both are required for strong, healthy teeth.
  • Co-enzyme Q10, or CoQ10: Provides the energy needed for the growth and repair of gum tissue and supports the immune system and detoxification of the body. If you ever have issues with bleeding gums between dental checkups, a daily CoQ10 supplement will help.
  • Grapefruit seed extract: Has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is a vital antioxidant. Use a few drops per day in a homemade tonic, or mix a drop in with your toothpaste as you go to brush to kill germs.

CoQ10 is excellent for gum health and it also protects your heart and circulatory system. Dental disease is often symptomatic of other issues going on throughout the body. I take CoQ every single day. With that and oil pulling, my gums have never been healthier, despite having many dental issues when I was younger. I prefer the Doctor's Best supplements as I find they are better absorbed and work well at a good price.

Over the years, our daily habits can wreak havoc on our teeth. Tooth decay and periodontal disease are often the precursors to more serious illnesses. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, patients with periodontal disease have twice the risk of stroke and heart disease. Scary stuff, and all highly preventable with good daily oral hygiene habits.

© 2012 Christin Sander


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    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Solaras, glad you enjoyed the hub :)

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 3 years ago

      Great tips - you've inspired me to start taking some of those supplements again that have been lingering on my kitchen counter.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Well "guest" who was too cowardly to leave your name - if you'd have read the hub you'd see that it does advocate for regular dental visits, however these natural remedies/techniques are also useful for keeping the mouth healthy - do you go to the dentist daily? I sure don't.

    • profile image

      guest 3 years ago

      horrible!!! see a dentist

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Eileen - most people are aware to brush and floss. This hub was for other natural remedies to prevent and heal gum disease.

    • profile image

      Eileen 3 years ago

      FLOSS add that to your list !!

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      I like your method of singing mary had a little lamb - cool :) I just have a timer. To get the full benefits of pulling you will need to do it longer than 2-3 minutes. Start with 5 and then increase as you can. Thanks for the read, share and comment :)

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.

      Good advice. "Oil pulling" is new to me, and I'm going to give it a try -- for 2 or 3 minutes for starters. 15 minutes seems like a long, long time.

      Did you mention seeing a dental hygienist regularly? You will need to less often with these practices.

      I time my 2 minute teeth brushing by singing Mary Had A Little Lamb in my head -- one verse each for upper front, lower front, upper back, and lower back.

    • bookworm35 profile image

      Sheene Kirlew 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Very informative hub. I'm always looking for ways to take care of my teeth, for I'm deathly afraid of the dentist. I'm moving towards a more natural way of life, and try to use everything natural and homemade- shampoo, moisturizers, acne medication, food.... This is a great article, thanks for sharing.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks World Religion - nope, not a dentist, but a lover of natural, alternative health and preventative medicine :)

    • World Religion profile image

      World Religion 5 years ago from the Cosmos

      Really amazing hub. Very helpful! Are you a dentist? You sound like an expert on the subject.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Teachable,

      It's definitely a good regular practice and I hope you find it helps your gums. Thanks for reading and commenting :) much appreciated.

    • TeachableMoments profile image

      TeachableMoments 5 years ago from California

      ChristinS, thank you for this informative hub. My gums started to recede during my first pregnancy. Ever since then I have looked for natural remedies. Someone mentioned oil pulling, but I was never sure exactly how to do it. Now I know. Thanks for this very useful hub.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      thanks for the vote and comment visionandfocus - yes it can indeed and it's much more pleasant for oil pulling in my opinion because it has the yummy coconut flavor :)

    • visionandfocus profile image

      visionandfocus 5 years ago from North York, Canada

      Great info! I use organic virgin coconut oil for cooking, and on my skin and hair. Didn't realise it can be used for oil-pulling as well. Voted up!

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I just went to the dentist today, and here is your article! Oil pulling is interesting. I was told to make it a habit of flossing so all the gunk doesn't accumulate between teeth under the gums. Very interesting and informative hub, thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Angela, I hear you on the fear of dentists. I only ever had one that I truly liked and trusted and she moved away :( so it's always anxiety inducing to go now... sigh.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Excellent information -- as I am terrified of dentists any information that helps keep teeth and gums in good shape is for me. Thanks! Best/Sis

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting Crystal. The oil pulling definitely makes a noticeable difference after doing it for awhile.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      I've never heard of oil pulling, but I'm willing to try it as I'm having some issues with my teeth and gums. Thanks for sharing!

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharan for reading and commenting it is much appreciated. I agree it is largely ignored and unfortunately can lead to greater health problems.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful information, with great tips. Dental care is perhaps the most ignored one. This hub will definitely help those affected with the problem and even those who can prevent dental problems. Thanks for sharing.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 5 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks for reading and commenting drbj much appreciated :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Important information, Christin, especially the practice of oil pulling which was new to me. Will try it ASAP. Thanks for sharing it.