How to Treat Gum Disease at Home: The Best Home Remedies
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Table of Contents
- Can I Get Rid Myself of Gum Disease?
- Home Remedies
- What Do Expert Recommend?
Even with regular dental treatment, some people are simply more likely to develop gum disease than others. If you are concerned about gingivitis or periodontitis, you can reduce your risk or manage symptoms at home with some home remedies, including homemade mouth rinses or baking soda toothpaste.
However, there is no substitute for regular checkups and cleanings at your dentist, and a good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice per day, flossing or using interdental brushes, and using an over-the-counter mouthwash.
Can I Get Rid Myself of Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the gums that can lead to inflammation, pain, sensitivity, bleeding, gum recession, and tooth decay. Although dentists commonly treat this problem, periodontitis is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 46 percent of adults, ages 30 and older, in the United States have gum disease. About 9 percent of adults struggle with severe gum disease.
Home Remedies to Stop Gum Disease & Support Oral Health
Even with regular dental checkups and cleanings, you might still develop gum disease. Some people are simply more prone to this condition than others, even with good oral hygiene.
If you have consistently struggled with gum disease, you may consider adding some home remedies to your oral care routine. These at-home techniques can help to reduce plaque buildup and mouth bacteria, and improve your overall oral health.
Potentially useful home remedies include the following:
- Saline mouth rinse: One of the most recommended options for boosting your oral hygiene is a simple mouth rinse that combines warm water and table salt. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends this simple saline rinse after tooth extraction, as it is gentler than most over-the-counter mouthwashes (especially those containing alcohol), and reduces potential gum infection. You do not need to have a tooth removed to benefit from a saline mouth rinse since it kills many harmful bacteria in your mouth. Try this rinse once per day if you are concerned about gum disease. Then, contact your dentist to talk about your specific situation.
- Homemade mouth rinses: Drug stores and grocery stores have dozens of types of over-the-counter mouthwash available, but many of these contain alcohol or other harsh ingredients that can lead to a burning sensation. If you want to avoid this or enhance your existing mouthwash, you can add some home remedies like tea tree oil, sage extract, or aloe vera juice.
- Oil pulling: This is a folk remedy practiced in ancient India and some modern societies, including Western cultures, where it has become trendy over the past several years. Coconut oil pulling studies suggest that some antimicrobial properties in this type of oil can help. Pulling with sesame oil is another practice, but it has fewer studies on it and less scientific support. When added to your existing oral hygiene routine, oil pulling might improve your oral health. By itself, however, it is much less effective.
- Baking soda toothpaste: Several toothpastes have added baking soda, but if you do not already have one of these, you can simply sprinkle some baking soda on your toothpaste before you brush your teeth. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is basic, so it can neutralize the acids that bacteria in your mouth produce. This can reduce the buildup of plaque. Baking soda is also slightly abrasive, so it can scrub superficial stains off your teeth. However, using too much baking soda can wear down the enamel on your teeth, which can lead to an off-white or stained appearance. Use baking soda sparingly, only if you are prone to gum disease or plaque buildup, or your dentist recommends using it regularly.
As additions to your daily oral hygiene routine, any of the above home remedies to treat gum disease can be very useful. However, it is important that these are additions to your routine rather than replacements for a dentist-recommended routine. These home remedies are not effective on their own.
What Do Dental Experts Recommend for Gum Disease Treatment?
The two best ways to maintain your oral health and reduce gum disease are to visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning at least once per year, or as they recommend, and to develop a good oral healthcare routine at home.
- Brushing your teeth at least twice per day, for two minutes each time.
- Using a toothpaste with fluoride to improve tooth enamel strength.
- Brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth after brushing your teeth to help remove bacteria.
- Flossing or using interdental brushes to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth.
- Swishing with mouthwash.
New studies are always updating dental hygiene information, so if you are interested in adjusting your at-home oral care practices, talk to your dentist during your routine checkup. For example, a recent study suggests that using mouthwash after brushing your teeth can actually prevent fluoride from providing enamel support since it washes this mineral away. Instead, use mouthwash and floss your teeth before brushing, to remove as much plaque as possible and still get fluoride’s benefits.
If you do develop gingivitis or periodontitis, your dentist will create a treatment plan to eliminate this infection. This might include medicated mouthwashes, deep cleanings, and more frequent dentist visits for cleanings and examinations.
Following your dentist’s advice and using prescriptions as recommended can stop this infection and prevent harm to your overall oral health, including tooth decay and loss.
Gum Disease. (November 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Tooth Extraction. (2013). American Dental Association (ADA), PatientSmart Patient Education Center.
Can Baking Soda be Used to Brush and Whiten Teeth? (April 2019). Ameritas Insight Blog.
Preventing Periodontal Disease. American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).
Use Mouthwash and Floss Before Cleaning Your Teeth, Says Viral TikTok Video – and Experts Agree. (May 2020). Evening Standard.
Tea Tree Oil versus Chlorhexidine Mouthwash in Treatment of Gingivitis: A Pilot Randomized, Double Blinded Clinical Trial. (February 2020). European Journal of Dentistry.
The Antibacterial Effect of Sage Extract (Salvia officinalis) Mouthwash Against Streptococcus mutans in Dental Plaque: A Randomized Clinical Trial. (June 2015). Iranian Journal of Microbiology.
Comparative Efficacy of Aloe Vera Mouthwash and Chlorhexidine on Periodontal Health: A Randomized Controlled Trial. (October 2016). Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry.
Oil Pulling for Maintaining Oral Hygiene – A Review. (January 2017). Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
Effect of Coconut Oil in Plaque Related Gingivitis – A Preliminary Report. (March-April 2015). Nigerian Medical Journal.