Official dental opinion states that once your gums start receding, they cannot recover and all that can be done is scale and polishing to prevent any further gum loss. However, some dental professionals are now realizing that gum tissue can regenerate and with the right recovery program it is possible to reverse gum disease.
1. First, look at your diet. Stay away from sugar and too many carbohydrates and eat high protein healthy foods. Snack on seeds as these contain minerals that may contribute to healthier gum tissue.
Swap your morning coffee for a cup of green tea. Research in the Journal of Periodontology found that for every cup of green tea drunk, patients had less gum bleeding, less clinical attachment loss and shallower periodontal pocket depth. The more green tea they drank, the lower the incidence in periodontal disease.
This is probably because of catechin, a substance in green tea that is antioxidant and reduces inflammation. Take a multivitamin supplement, particularly if you aren’t sure that your diet contains everything you need or you have a busy lifestyle.
2. Check your toothpaste. It may be making the situation worse. Don’t have one that contains chemical whiteners or artificial coloring as these may irritate gum tissue. Sodium lauryl sulfate can also irritate and actually serves no purpose for your teeth and gums. It isn’t needed for their health. Saccharine or sugar is counter-productive and can hasten tooth decay.
Fluoride has been reported to protect against dental decay and gum disease, however, research carried out in 2007 found that in high-fluoride areas, there was a strong occurrence of periodontal disease. There is also a condition called fluorosis caused by having too much fluoride that can chip away at your enamel and result in cracked and weakened teeth.
Opt for natural toothpastes that state ‘100% natural ingredients’ on the packaging. Rosemary toothpastes may improve gum cell regeneration.
Other examples of toothpastes are echinacea (good for wound healing), baking soda, bee propolis (a natural antibiotic that may help tackle bacteria in the mouth) and calendula. If you want to use a tea tree toothpaste, only do so sparingly in conjunction with a regular toothpaste as too much tea tree can irritate the gums.
3. Use a mouthwash to combat bacteria. Both commercial and herbal brands are available but the commercial brands contain dye and other artificial products that may be too harsh on delicate gum tissue. Mouthwash can be put on a toothbrush or cotton bud and dabbed onto the affected area.
4. Use an oral irrigator. This uses jets of water to clean out areas of your mouth that you may not reach with a toothbrush. You can add mouthwash, baking soda or salt to your irrigator to get a really good clean.
5. Use a gum massager. Battery-operated gum massagers are available from shops and online stores. By massaging the gums daily, you can increase blood flow to them which will increase their oxygen supply and may reverse gum disease.
Reversing Gum Disease Naturally, Sandra Senzon Dental Hygienist, published by Wiley (2003). ISBN: 978-0-471-22230-9. Author’s website: http://toothfairyshow.com
Go Green for Healthy Teeth and Gums. American Academy of Periodontology. Web. 29 Nov. 2011.
Vandana KL, Sesha Reddy M. Assessment of periodontal status in dental fluorosis subjects using community periodontal index of treatment needs. Indian J Dent Res 2007;18:67-71.
Enamel Florosis among persons aged 6-39 years by selected characteristics, United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002. CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/figures/s403a1t23.gif
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting.
Reviewed November 29, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith