Natural Remedies for Gum Disease
Natural remedies have been used to treat gum disease with varying success. Before embarking on any treatment course it is critical to obtain a complete diagnosis.
Electric Tooth brush
Numerous studies have shown that electric rotating brushes out perform manual brushing. Consumer reports rates the Oral-B Professional Care brush as the highest rated electric brush. In our clinical experience we have seen much better results from rotary brushes than from sonic types. Effective oral hygiene measures play a critical part in maintaining your dental heath.
Chew Xylitol Gum
Chewing 5-6 pieces of xylitol containing gum per day can dramaticaly reduce new cavities. Numerous studies have shown a strong link between the consumption of xylitol (6-10 grams per day) and dental decay rates. Xylitol is a natural substance produced by our bodies during normal metabolisim. It is refined from birch trees and from corn cobs. It recieved FDA approval in the 1960's.
The link between vitamin C deficiency and gum disease is well known. Back in the 18th century, sailors ate limes during long trips at sea to prevent scurvy and keep their gums from bleeding. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that people with low intakes of vitamin C had higher rates of periodontal disease. Researchers looked at 12,419 adults in the United States. People who consumed less than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 60 mg per day were 1.5 times more likley to develop severe gingivitis than people who consumed more than 180 mg. Vitamin C is believed to help gum disease because vitamin C is an antioxidant and is needed to repair connective tissue and accelerate bone regeneration.
To boost your intake of vitamin C, eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as grapefruit, oranges, kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, strawberry, red pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe. Vitamin C can also be taken in supplement form. Avoid chewable vitamin C, because the acidity may promote the erosion of tooth enamel over time.
Vitamin D has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects and may reduce susceptibility to gum disease. A study by the Boston University evaluated the association between vitamin D status and gingivitis. They analyzed data from 77,503 teeth in 6700 people in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that people with higher blood levels of vitamin D were less likely to experience bleeding gums during gingival probing.
Sun exposure is one of the most important sources of vitamin D, because UV rays from the sun trigger the synthesis of vitamin D in skin. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements suggests 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure twice a week, however if you routinely wear a factor 40 or better sunscreen, it is less likely that this sun exposure will be sufficient. Look for at least 200 IU in a multivitamin. In Hawaii the natural vitamin D production is very high on unprotected skin.
Stress contributes to gum disease by increasing plaque accumulation and reducing the immune system's protection. Stress reduction is an important part of overall health as well as oral health.
There is some evidence has linking gum disease to lower levels of coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant made naturally in the body, found widely in foods, and available in supplement form. Some researchers say that coenzyme Q10 is needed to properly repair gum tissue. A study by Osaka University in Japan found improvement in infection and inflammation after 3 weeks of using a topical coenzyme Q10 toothpaste. You can find toothpaste containing coenzyme Q10 at health food stores, and online.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has proven antibiotic properties. A topically applied tea tree oil gel was evaluated in a double-blind placebo-controlled study involving 49 people with severe chronic gingivitis. They were told to brush twice a day and were assessed after 4 and 8 weeks. The group that brushed with tea tree oil toothpaste had a significant reduction in the degree of gingivitis and bleeding. However, tea tree oil gel did not reduce the amount of plaque. Use only commercial tea tree toothpaste, not tea tree oil.