Gingivitis is a very common and mild form of gum disease. It is basically a mild infection of the gums. Anyone can develop gingivitis and many people are not even aware that they have it.
Its common symptoms include irritation, redness, swelling and puffiness of the gums. Other symptoms include bad breath, loose teeth, receding gums, and gums that become tender and bleed, especially while brushing or flossing.
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene, which allows plaque to form on the teeth. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film composed of bacteria that can irritate the gums as well as the teeth.
Some factors that can increase the risk of gingivitis are excessive smoking, use of tobacco, age, diabetes, certain medications, crooked teeth, ill-fitting dental restorations, broken fillings, pregnancy, genetics, compromised immunity, dry mouth and a poor diet.
If left untreated, gingivitis can become serious and lead to severe infection known as periodontitis and even tooth loss.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, gingivitis is also associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart attack and lung disease. It also increases the risk of premature delivery in pregnant women.
Good oral health habits—brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups—can help prevent gingivitis. Your dentist may recommend additional oral health practices particular to your needs.
Along with good oral hygiene, you can use some simple home remedies to treat and prevent gingivitis.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of gingivitis.
Salt is a very effective remedy for gingivitis due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It can help treat swollen and inflamed gums. Plus, it draws infection out of any abscesses and inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a glass of lukewarm water. Use this homemade saline solution to rinse your mouth once each morning and once each evening until the swelling of your gums is reduced.
- Alternatively, mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with enough mustard oil to make a paste. Use this paste to massage the gums using circular strokes for 1 or 2 minutes. Gargle with warm water. Repeat this treatment 2 or 3 times daily for a few days.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin can effectively reduce plaque, pain, swelling and inflammation in the gums. Plus, it can reduce bacterial activity to prevent infection.
A study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology also found turmeric mouthwash to be effective as an adjunct to mechanical plaque control to prevent plaque and gingivitis, thanks to its anti-plaque, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties comparable to that of a traditional chlorexidine mouthwash.
- Make a paste of 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and mustard oil. Apply it on your teeth and gums and massage twice daily.
- Alternatively, mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder with a little water or vitamin E oil to make a gum pack. Apply it to your gums and leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Follow this treatment at least once daily for a few weeks.
- Another option is make a paste of some turmeric powder and a little water, scoop it up with a soft-bristle toothbrush and brush your teeth with it. Do this twice daily for at least a few weeks.
3. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a popular Ayurvedic practice that can help reduce bacteria that cause gingivitis. It can reduce plaque, strengthen gums and help maintain good oral health.
- Put 1 tablespoon of sesame oil or coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish it in your mouth and through your teeth for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Spit it out and then rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water.
- Do this each morning before brushing your teeth for about a month.
Note: Do not gargle or swallow the oil.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a popular gingivitis home remedy. It neutralizes the acids in the mouth, thereby reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, it works as a natural antiseptic to help prevent infections.
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with a bit of warm water to make a paste.
- Apply this paste to the gums.
- Leave it on for 1 or 2 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
- Use this treatment 2 or 3 times a week.
5. Lemon Juice
Lemons contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help treat gum disease. Plus, they contain vitamin C, which can help fight off infection.
- Mix the juice of a lemon in a glass of warm water. Use this solution as a mouthwash after brushing your teeth. Do this twice daily to soothe bleeding and receding gums caused by gingivitis.
- Another option is to mix a little salt with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to make a paste. Apply this paste on your gums and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Repeat the process 4 or 5 times a day until you see improvement.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has antibacterial and antifungal properties that are very effective against gingivitis. It can prevent the accumulation of bacteria that cause plaque leading to gingivitis. Plus, it can relieve pain and soothe inflamed teeth and gums.
- Break open an aloe vera leaf and extract the pulp.
- Rub the pulp directly on the affected gums.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes and then gargle with cold water.
- Repeat a few times daily until the condition subsides.
7. Guava Leaves
Guava leaves are considered effective for providing relief from toothaches and gum disease due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties. Plus, the guaijaverin in guava leaves acts as an antiplaque agent.
- Rinse and clean a few guava leaves thoroughly. Chew them and then spit out. Do this twice daily for at least a few weeks.
- Another option is to grind some tender guava leaves and use it as a toothpaste.
- You can also use a mouthrinse containing guava leaf extract.
You can also use clove to treat gingivitis due to its strong antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic properties.
- Simply chew 2 or 3 cloves, 3 times daily to treat gingivitis.
- You can also rub clove oil on your gums, leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. Do this twice daily.
- Another option is to add a few drops of clove oil to a glass of warm water. Use this mixture to rinse your mouth 2 or 3 times daily.
Follow any of these remedies daily until you are satisfied with the results.
Note: Pregnant women, small children and people taking blood thinning medicines should avoid using clove or clove oil.
Due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, peppermint is also used in the treatment of gingivitis. It can also reduce inflammation and bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Soak a few crushed peppermint leaves in water for 30 minutes and then use the solution to rinse your mouth 2 or 3 times daily.
- Alternatively, prepare a strong cup of peppermint tea and drink it in between meals or cool it and use it as a mouthwash.
- You can also use peppermint-flavored toothpaste to brush your teeth twice daily.
10. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, hence it is recommended for treating chronic gingivitis. It can give quick relief from irritated and inflamed gums.
Use tea tree oil toothpaste to brush your teeth daily. If such toothpaste is not available, add a drop of tea tree oil to your regular toothpaste every time you brush your teeth. You can also use a tea tree oil-containing gel.
Note: Never swallow tea tree oil as it can cause stomach irritation, including diarrhea.
- Get regular dental check-ups.
- Use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth twice daily.
- Replace your toothbrush at least every 3 to 4 months.
- Use toothpaste that has antibacterial and antiseptic properties to maintain oral health.
- Floss your teeth and scrape your tongue at least once a day.
- Stop using tobacco as it can cause great harm to your teeth as well as gums.
- Use a good antibacterial mouthwash twice daily to reduce plaque and gingivitis.
- For stronger teeth and gums, eat more calcium-rich foods.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes oral health. Eat foods rich in vitamin C or take supplements.
- Rinse your mouth with water and also drink some water after every meal.
- Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and radishes to stimulate saliva and help keep your mouth clean.
- Stay away from high sugar foods since harmful bacteria flourish on sweets.
- Eat cheese and yogurt to help control and reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth.
- As vitamin D also helps reduce the risk of gum disease, take a vitamin D supplement daily.
- Drink about 4 ounces of cranberry juice daily to help prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
Consult your doctor if your symptoms do not get better or you have a lot of pain and discomfort.