Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is any disorder or infection of the gums. At first tissue become inflamed and swollen because of a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Swollen gums lead to open spaces for the accumulation of more bacteria causing more plaque and severe symptoms including bleeding gums, receding gums, bad breath, tenderness, and even pain.
Heal gum disease by addressing health and nutrition. This is actually a very practical way of treating this condition. In fact, the symptoms of this disorder can be viewed as a sign of one or both of the following — inadequate dental care and poor nutrition. Other factors such as smoking, chronic illness, and the consumption of primarily soft foods can also lead to gum disease.
Nutrition and Diet
Nutritional supplements are an effective method for treating gum disease. Why? First of all nutritional deficiencies are often linked to this condition. A lack of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, calcium, and folic acid can contribute to poor gum health. Also, nutrients can be used to speed healing by encouraging tissue repair and increasing circulation. The following supplements are beneficial:
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids to promote healing. Also, bioflavonoids inhibit plaque growth.
- Coenzyme Q10 encourages new cell growth and cellular oxygenation.
- Calcium with magnesium to prevent bone loss.
- Vitamin E for the healing of gum tissue.
A balanced diet is just as important as taking supplements. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, with a focus on raw apples, carrots, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, and cucumbers to exercise the gums and help clean the teeth naturally. Also include cranberries, green tea, and cashews which all help to stop plaque from adhering to teeth. Consume plenty of whole grain fibers, legumes, and raw nuts, while avoiding refined sugars and carbohydrates which will contribute to plaque growth.
Herbs can also be used to help heal gums naturally. Some such as clove, thyme, and sage can safely be used as herbal rinses. Clove and thyme are powerful antiseptics and sage is wonderful for reducing inflammation. Steep two tablespoons of clove buds, dried thyme, or sage in one cup of water for twenty minutes. Strain and use as a mouth rinse. For best results do this three times a day.
Clove oil can also be used to relieve the pain of gum disease while also destroying bacteria. Dilute one drop of clove oil in one teaspoon of olive oil and rub onto gums. Massage the gums gently with the oil to improve circulation. Increasing blood flow to the area will speed the healing process.
Another gentle yet helpful herbal remedy is to drink chamomile tea. Chamomile will sooth pain and inflammation while also cleansing the mouth.
Aside from addressing nutritional needs and encouraging healing with herbs it is also important to take measures to improve your dental well-being. First, massage gums daily to increase blood flow. Do this with the clove oil, with the contents of a vitamin E capsule, or even just your fingertips. Brush regularly with a clean toothbrush and change your brush once a month. Floss at least once a day. Use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria from the tongue each morning after brushing. Rinse your mouth after eating to help prevent plaque from adhering to teeth.
Healing gum disease naturally is possible if addressed early on. Make sure you also see a dentist regularly as severe cases may require surgery.
Balch, Phyllis A. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Page, Linda. “Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone.” Eleventh Edition (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
photo by D. Sharon Pruitt
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