5 Natural Remedies for Healthy Gums
A number of natural remedies may help you achieve healthy gums, an important part of your overall wellbeing. When added to an oral hygiene routine that also includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing often, and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups, these natural remedies may help fend off gum disease.
Why Natural Remedies Are Sometimes Used
In your mouth, bacteria are constantly forming a sticky substance called plaque on your teeth. Brushing and flossing can help you get rid of plaque, but the substance can also harden and, in turn, form another substance called tartar.
In many cases, the buildup of plaque and tartar can lead to the development of gingivitis, a condition marked by inflammation of the gums.1 When left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis (meaning "inflammation around the tooth"). Not only known to cause tooth loss, periodontitis has been linked to heart disease in a number of studies.2
Although no natural remedy has been found to treat or prevent gum disease, certain remedies may help fight plaque buildup and keep your gums healthy.
Here's a look at five natural remedies said to promote healthy gums.
Another ayurvedic remedy, neem is a plant found to possess antibacterial properties.
Research on neem and gum health includes a small study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2014. For this study, 105 children (ages 12 to 15) used mouthwashes containing neem, mango, or chlorhexidine (an antiseptic found in many types of mouthwash) twice a day for three weeks.3 Results revealed that all three types of mouthwash were effective in reducing plaque and inhibiting gingivitis.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil may aid in the treatment of gingivitis, according to report published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews in 2006.4 If you're thinking of using tea tree oil for gum health, choose a toothpaste that contains this essential oil as an ingredient. Ingesting undiluted tea tree oil (or using homemade tea tree oil tooth remedies) can be toxic.
Some research shows that cranberry may help thwart gum disease by preventing bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
What's more, a preliminary study published in the Journal of Periodontal Research in 2013 suggests that compounds found in cranberry may help regulate periodontitis-related inflammation.5
There's some evidence that vitamin C could play a role in protecting gum health. In a study published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2000, for example, researchers analyzed data on 12,419 adults and found that those who consumed the least vitamin C had the greatest risk of periodontal disease.6
For help in filling up on vitamin C, include foods such as grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, mango, papaya, strawberry, red pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe in your diet.
A remedy long used in Ayurveda, oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (such as coconut oil or sesame oil) around your mouth for about 15 minutes at a time.
Research on oil pulling's health effects is limited, but several small studies (including a clinical trial published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research in 2009) have indicated that oil pulling may reduce plaque buildup and offer some protection against gingivitis.7
A Word From Verywell
Before using any type of natural remedy for healthy gums, remember that no remedy should be used as a substitute for standard oral care.
Along with brushing, flossing, and having your teeth professionally cleaned, you can preserve your oral health by following a diet high in calcium-rich foods and low in sugary foods and beverages.8
Several lifestyle practices may also help enhance your gum health. For instance, avoiding smoking can significantly lower your risk of developing gum disease. There's also some evidence that managing your stress can help keep your gums healthy.9
If you're experiencing symptoms such as bleeding gums, pain while chewing, or sensitivity in your teeth, it's crucial to consult your dentist rather than attempting to self-treat gum health issues with natural remedies.