Symptoms of gum disease
- Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
- Tooth loss
What is gum disease?Most of us don’t even realise that we have gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. It starts when gums become sensitive, red, swollen and possibly bleed when brushing or flossing. This is the best time to be proactive. The next stage is periodontitis when gums become infected, painful and pull away from teeth. When this happens it allows bacteria to access the tissue and bone below the gums causing more serious infection, pain, abscess, tooth decay or loss.
Simple ways to keep your gums healthy
- Tooth care Gently brush (up and down not back and forth) and floss your teeth regularly. Two to three times per day especially after eating and before bed.
- Food Add more raw vegetables and fruit to your diet. Try eating apples, carrots, broccoli or celery to help ‘clean’ your teeth. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that fight the free radicals that cause disease and give your body the vitamins it needs for healing. Eliminate as much sugar and soda as possible, they are the number one cause of tooth decay. Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates such as: white flour, white rice and white bread. These foods turn to sugar and increase your plaque build up. Choose whole grains whenever possible.
- Avoid smoking This habit not only wrecks your lungs but also your skin, teeth and gums. Smoking destroys the helpful bacteria in your mouth, creates free radicals and helps deplete essential vitamins and minerals in the body.
Natural remedies for gingivitis
- Adding natural clay powder to toothpaste or brushing with clay
- Herbs A powerful combination of cayenne pepper, goldenseal and myrrh can help eliminate gum disease. Cayenne helps stop bleeding and reduces swelling while goldenseal kills bacteria, is antiseptic and helps heal gum tissue. Myrrh then steps in to add its antiseptic and healing abilities as well as working as an antacid. To use these herbs mix the same amount of each powdered herb into a small covered dish. Place a small amount of toothpaste on a wet toothbrush then sprinkle a little bit of the herb mix over the toothbrush. Brush with this mix at least twice per day for two weeks, you should notice results in as little as two days. These herbs may cause a little tingling or even burning sensation at first but should calm down. ‘Ask a Naturopath’ for more information about these herbs and in what form other than powdered, you can use them. Continue to brush and floss regularly even when gums are healthy again.
- Oil Pulling This practice has been around for centuries to help heal and promote good dental hygiene. The practice is simple. Place one to two tablespoons of organic coconut or sesame oil in your mouth. Swish vigorously between teeth and around gums for two minutes then spit out oil. Oil pulling washes the bacteria out of your mouth, heals gingivitis and removes plaque.