Good oral hygiene is a balancing act between care for both the teeth and the gums. You can’t have one without the other.
Paying close attention to your gums will help improve the overall heath of your mouth and condition of your teeth. Even those who are cavity-free are not immune to gum disease. Issues with the gums or gum disease even is usually painless, and many people have no idea that anything is wrong with their gums.
Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and ensuring regular dental cleanings are some of the ways to keep your gums healthy. There are also other natural ways in which you can look after your gums, whether for preventative care or to treat gum conditions. These include:
Coconut Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient, Indian remedy claimed to improve oral health, including improving the conditions of gums and soothing inflamed gums, destroying bad bacteria in the mouth, freshening breath and whitening teeth.
Oil pulling involves swishing oil around the mouth, using it like a mouthwash. In order to oil pull, you put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, then swish it around for 15–20 minutes.
The main benefit of doing this is that it reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth. By swishing oil in your mouth for several minutes, you’re cleansing between the teeth, underneath the gums, along the tongue and on the surface of the teeth – pulling bacteria away. When you spit out the oil, you’re removing these microbes from your body.
If these microbes are removed from the mouth, they can’t make their way down to the gut – where 80% of the immune system is located. And so oil pulling is also said to boost the immune system.
Different oils can be used for pulling, however coconut oil produces optimal results for a healthy mouth.
Coconut oil is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse, which makes it ideal for reducing inflammation and oxidation in the mouth. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) that is incredibly effective at killing the bad bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. These same compounds may also decrease the amount of plaque that builds up on your teeth, in turn reducing your chance for gum disease.
Regular oil pulling can help prevent and reduce gum conditions such as gingivitis, can help remineralise teeth, kills cavity-causing bacteria, beats bad breath and decreases oral thrush symptoms.
Some sources say that brushing after you oil pull is best. However, brushing before you pull is more beneficial. The biofilm on your teeth (oral microbiome) needs to be reconditioned each day to retain healthy colonies of good bacteria, and rebalancing the oral microbiome is one of the key benefits of oil pulling. If you brush after you pull, you’ll actually get rid of the good bacteria you just worked to support.
How many times you use the oil pulling technique is up to you. Twice a day after brushing your teeth can bring your teeth, gums and mouths numerous benefits and can bring steady improvements in your oral heath.
Propolis, which is a resin collected from beehives, is used worldwide on tooth and gum infections as it is an incredible antimicrobial herb. Propolis protects the teeth from cavities, gingivitis, and the buildup of plaque. Propolis
Propolis is a resinous substance created by bees and they use it around the entrance other parts of the hive to seal cracks. This helps to protect the hive from fungal, viral and bacterial infections. Honeybees collect resin and then mix it with enzymes and beeswax to make propolis.
Bee propolis is an excellent remedy for preventing receding gums, treating gum disease and preventing plaque build-up.
Bee propolis, available in tincture form, can be used by adding a few drops to water and gargling with the mixture. It can also be rubbed directly on the teeth and gums.
If you are allergic to bee stings, avoid this remedy.
The antioxidants in green tea fight free radicals and bacteria which can cause receding gums. The antioxidants, called catechins promote tissue health, so the tissue that binds the teeth to the gums will stay nice and strong. Green tea also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can help to reduce any swelling of the gums that occurs with gum disease.
A study also found that rinsing the mouth with a solution which contained catechins (like green tea) over a 4-week period reduced bad breath caused by gum disease. Drink at least one cup of tea per day to get the benefits.
Myrrh helps to stop gums from receding by preventing bacterial growth and strengthening the gums as well. It has been traditionally used for treating gum disease and other oral health problems for many years.
Myrrh powder is often used as an ingredient in tooth powders. To get the benefits from myrrh, you can try massaging myrrh powder around the gums and then rinsing out with water. If you use a natural toothpaste such as baking soda toothpaste, you can dab a small amount of the toothpaste in myrrh gum powder and brush with it.
Take one tablespoon of coconut oil and add some pink Himalayan sea salt to this. Once the salt dissolves in the oil, massage it over your gums and leave it on for a few minutes before you rinse it off with fresh water. This will help reduce any inflammation in your gums and kill off the harmful bacteria.
Pure Himalayan crystal salt is excellent for dental hygiene. Most common oral health issues derive from an overly acidic environment in the mouth and throat. Himalayan Salt will build up a pH neutral mouth flora and will help protect your tooth enamel.
Daily brushing your teeth, tongue, or rinsing your whole mouth with a salt water solution can harmonise over-acidity, soothe gum bleeding, and reduce periodontal diseases, canker sores, bad breath, etc. Brush your teeth every morning with concentrated salt water solution and swish the brine through your teeth. Gargle with the salt water solution for about three minutes, then spit it out.
If you have inflammation of the gums, a combination of coconut oil and Himalayan salt will help reduce the inflammation in the gums. For this remedy, mix Himalayan salt with a small amount of coconut oil and massage it into the gum area. Let sit for a couple of minutes, and then rinse your mouth with water. Together, they have powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve the symptoms when you have gums receding.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea