When it comes to oral health, most of us think it’s about having clean and white teeth with no cavities. However, healthy gums are equally important as healthy and strong teeth.
Not taking care of your gums can lead to receding gums.
Gum recession, or gingival recession, means the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root.
It’s a common problem and many people are not even aware of it. The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, or the tooth may start looking longer than normal. Gums may also look swollen and tender and may bleed easily. There can also be bad breath.
Several factors lead to receding gums, including periodontal diseases, genes, aggressive tooth brushing, insufficient dental care, ongoing hormonal changes in the body, nutritional deficiency, use of tobacco products, teeth grinding, crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, and long-term wearing of pierced lip or tongue jewelry.
Due to receding gums, gaps start forming between the teeth and the gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structure of the teeth can be severely damaged, ultimately causing tooth loss.
Quitting the habits within your control can reverse the recession process. Improving your oral care and brushing your teeth more gently can also help a lot.
Also, you can try some simple yet effective home remedies to help receding gums grow back. These natural remedies will help restore your gums and protect them from further damage.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for receding gums.
1. Oil Pulling
One of the most effective traditional methods for maintaining oral health and treating various dental diseases, oil pulling is believed to help reverse gum recession as well.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine reports that oil pulling is highly beneficial for oral health (1).
To practice oil pulling, always use coconut oil. It plays a significant role in offering a protective coating on the teeth, thus preventing plaque build-up. Coconut oil also takes care of any kind of dental and gum infections.
- Swirl and swish 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Spit out the oil (it should have turned thick and milky).
- Rinse your mouth with water. Then brush your teeth as usual.
- Repeat the process daily in the morning on an empty stomach for about 1 month.
You can do oil pulling on a regular basis also to help detoxify your body and keep healthy.
Note: Do not gargle or swallow the oil.
2. Bee Propolis
Bee propolis, the sticky resin that bees use to glue their hives together, is another effective treatment for receding gums.
It is rich in antibiotic and antifungal properties that help get rid of bacteria that can cause a number of dental issues.
A 2013 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that propolis-based preparations have a wide range of applications in various specialties of dentistry, due to the richness of natural components in it (2).
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports that use of a 2% typified propolis rinse was effective at maintaining oral hygiene (3).
- Rinse your mouth twice daily with a propolis mouth rinse that you can easily find in the market.
- You can opt to take propolis capsules or tablets. Always consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Caution: Anyone allergic to bee stings should not use bee propolis.
3. Baking Soda
Using a mouthwash made from baking soda is one of the most effective ways to keep your mouth free from germs and bacteria, and consequently, prevent gum disease and other problems that lead to gum recession.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums. It neutralizes acid production in the mouth and also works as an antiseptic to prevent infections.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that the beneficial effect of baking soda in gingival health is due to its antibacterial and biofilm-disruptive activity (4).
- Pour 1 cup of water into a glass or jar.
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Add 4 drops of pure peppermint oil.
- Add 4 drops of tea tree oil.
- Mix the ingredients together well.
- Use it as a mouthwash twice daily for a few weeks.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera helps fight gum inflammation and repair damaged tissue. Thus, it is a good remedy for gum recession.
It also has antibacterial properties that ward off oral infections and plaque build-up.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology reports that administration of aloe vera gel results in improvement of periodontal condition. Aloe vera gel can be used as a local drug delivery system in periodontal pockets (5).
- Massage your gums with fresh aloe vera gel. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it off. Repeat twice a day.
- Alternatively, swish some aloe vera juice around in your mouth a few times, then spit it out. Do it twice daily.
To control gum recession, turmeric is also very effective.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. Also, it prevents the spread of bacterial activity that causes several oral problems.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology found turmeric mouthwash to be effective in controlling plaque (6).
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder with a little water to make a paste. Apply this paste on your gums with a clean finger. Leave it on for 5 minutes, then massage gently for 1 minute. Rinse your mouth with warm water. Repeat twice daily.
- You can also boil ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 cup of water, allow it to cool and use it as a mouthwash once daily.
6. Green Tea
Green tea is another home remedy that you must try for gum recession. It helps strengthen the connection between the teeth and gums, due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
It not only reduces the chance of developing periodontal disease but also brings down gum inflammation and improves the attachment of gums to the teeth.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology suggests that green tea promotes periodontal health by reducing inflammation, preventing bone resorption and limiting the growth of certain bacteria associated with periodontal diseases (7).
- Drink 1 to 2 cups of green tea daily. To promote oral health, drink it without sugar or honey.
- You can also chew sugarless gum made with green tea.
7. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an amazing natural remedy for receding gums as well as other gum diseases.
It works as a strong antibacterial agent that kills germs and fights gum disease. It will also leave your teeth whiter when used regularly!
For oral health, it is highly recommended to use 3% hydrogen peroxide, which makes an effective mouthwash.
- Mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. Rinse your mouth with the solution for a few seconds, then spit it out. Use it a few times a week.
- Alternatively, mix 3% hydrogen peroxide little by little into 1 teaspoon of baking soda to make a paste. Use this paste to massage your gums and gum line. Finally, spit it out and rinse your mouth. Use it a few times a week.
Caution: Do not use hydrogen peroxide too often. Once a day is sufficient. Do not swallow it.
8. Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, can also help rectify receding gums and promote oral health.
The vitamin C and other nutrients in amla help strengthen the gums and support connective tissue health. It combats bacteria in the mouth to prevent tooth decay and cavities, and helps prevent bad breath.
A 2014 study published in Pharmacognosy Reviews reports that amla is considered a general rebuilder of oral health in Ayurveda (8).
- Thoroughly chew 1 to 2 fresh amla fruits daily.
- Also, you can prepare a mouth rinse by mixing 1 tablespoon of amla juice in ½ cup of water. Rinse your mouth with this solution once daily.
9. Indian Lilac
Whether you wish to improve the health of your teeth or gums, Indian lilac, also known as neem, is very effective.
It has antibacterial properties that help maintain oral health by easily destroying bacteria that cause gum disease as well as other oral problems.
In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, researchers found neem to be effective for treating plaque (9).
- Grind a few neem leaves into a paste. Use this paste to brush your gums as well as your teeth a few times a week.
- You can also rub the juice from neem leaves on your teeth and gums. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. Do this once daily.
10. Vitamin C
A deficiency in vitamin C can cause gum inflammation and bleeding. So if you have receding gums, you need to keep a check on your vitamin C level.
Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, the protein “glue” that holds cells together. Vitamin C also helps kill bacteria and works as an anti-inflammatory and healing nutrient.
Moreover, it helps remove plaque and tartar buildup from teeth and gums.
- To get vitamin C, eat fresh vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamin C, especially dark leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, kiwis, berries and citrus fruits.
- If you are not getting enough vitamin C in your diet, consider taking a good supplement. Always consult your doctor before taking a supplement.
- You can also use calcium ascorbate, a form of vitamin C available as a powder. Rub this powder on your gums and teeth for a few minutes daily.
- To rinse your mouth, do not use tap water. Instead, use filtered, bottled, distilled or mineral water.
- Be as gentle as you can while brushing your teeth. Let the bristles do the work, not your arm muscles.
- Brush at least twice per day, and for at least two minutes at a time.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months and use only soft-bristled toothbrushes.
- Avoid very hot or very cold food and beverages.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stimulate the production of saliva, which naturally helps kill bacteria.
- Eat calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, sardines, tofu, salmon, soy milk, cereals and collard greens.
- If you often have swollen gums, increase your intake of vitamin D to relieve the problem.
- Avoid wearing body-piercing studs on the lip or tongue, as it can rub against the gum tissue, causing recession.
- Quit smoking and chewing tobacco, as they can increase your risk and contribute to gum recession.
- See your dentist twice per year, even if you take great care of your teeth and gums.
- Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/. Published 2011.
- Does Propolis Help to Maintain Oral Health? International Scholarly Research Notices. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/351062/. Published January 09, 2013.
- The Effectiveness of Propolis on Gingivitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270157/. Published December 01, 2014.
- Aloe vera: Nature’s soothing healer to periodontal disease. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3200013/. Published 2011.
- Baking soda dentifrices and oral health. The Journal of the American Dental Association. https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(17)30822-X/fulltext.
- Comparative evaluation of 0.1% turmeric mouthwash with 0.2% chlorhexidine gluconate in prevention of plaque and gingivitis: A clinical and microbiological study. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3498709/. Published 2012.
- Green tea: A boon for periodontal and general health. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3459493/. Published 2012.
- Role of Ayurveda in management of oral health. Pharmacognosy Reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931197/. Published 2014.
- To evaluate the antigingivitis and antipalque effect of an Azadirachta indica (neem) mouthrinse on plaque induced gingivitis: A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3283940/. Published 2011.