Gingivitis Treatment: Home Remedies for Gingivitis

Find out what is gingivitis and how to treat gingivitis at home. Home remedies for gingivitis, treatment, causes and how to avoid this oral health issue.

Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth.

It’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly.

Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.

Related: How To Regrow Receding Gums Naturally

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene.

Good oral health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups, can help prevent and reverse gingivitis.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Healthy gums are firm and pale pink and fitted tightly around the teeth.

Signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Dusky red or dark red gums
  • Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Tender gums

Causes for Gingivitis

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to form on teeth, causing inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues.

Here’s how plaque can lead to gingivitis:

Plaque forms on your teeth. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film composed mainly of bacteria that forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Plaque requires daily removal because it re-forms quickly.

Plaque turns into tartar. Plaque that stays on your teeth can harden under your gumline into tartar (calculus), which collects bacteria. Tartar makes plaque more difficult to remove, creates a protective shield for bacteria and causes irritation along the gumline. You need professional dental cleaning to remove tartar.

Gingiva becomes inflamed (gingivitis). The longer that plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth, causing inflammation. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily.

Tooth decay (dental caries) also may result. If not treated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis and eventual tooth loss.

Teeth with gingivitis

Gingivitis Treatment at Home 

Home Remedies

Saltwater treatment for gingivitis

The results of a 2016 study showed that using a saltwater rinse can be very beneficial in healing gums inflamed by gingivitis.

Salt is a natural disinfectant that helps your body to heal itself.

Saltwater may also:

  • soothe inflamed gums
  • help ease pain
  • reduce bacteria
  • remove particles of food
  • relieve bad breath

To use a saltwater rinse:

  • Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt to a glass of lukewarm water and mix well.
  • Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds.
  • Spit out the solution.
  • Repeat two to three times per day.

Using a saltwater rinse too often or for too long could have negative effects on tooth enamel. Long-term use may cause your teeth to erode because of the mixture’s acidic properties.

Mouthwash options to treat gingivitis

If the saltwater rinse isn’t relieving your symptoms, it may be time to try a more advanced mouthwash.

Remember, you should never swallow mouthwash. Be sure to spit the mixture out after swishing it around your mouth.

Although there are over-the-counter and prescription mouthwashes for gingivitis, you might want to try a homemade mouthwash first.

Lemongrass oil mouthwash

In one 2015 study, lemongrass oil was found to be more effective than traditional chlorhexidine mouthwash at reducing plaque and gingivitis levels.

To use a lemongrass mouthwash:

  • Dilute two to three drops of lemongrass essential oil in a cup of water.
  • Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds.
  • Spit out the solution.
  • Repeat two to three times per day.

Lemongrass oil is generally safe to use, but it’s very potent. Always start with a highly diluted mixture so that it doesn’t cause further irritation.

Aloe vera mouthwash

Research from 2016 found that aloe vera was as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Both methods significantly reduced symptoms.

Unlike other mouthwash options, aloe vera juice doesn’t need to be diluted.

Before use, make sure the juice is 100 percent pure.

To use an aloe vera mouthwash:

  • Swish the juice in your mouth for 30 seconds.
  • Spit out the solution.
  • Repeat two to three times per day.

You should always buy aloe vera from a reputable source and follow any instructions on the label.

You shouldn’t use this mouthwash if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to aloe vera.

Tea tree oil mouthwash

According to a 2014 study, tea tree oil mouthwash can significantly reduce gingival bleeding.

To use a tea tree oil mouthwash:

  • Add up to three drops of tea tree oil to a cup of warm water.
  • Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds.
  • Spit out the solution.
  • Repeat two to three times per day.

You may also add a drop of tea tree oil to your toothpaste when brushing your teeth.

When trying tea tree oil for the first time, use a highly diluted amount. High concentrations can cause:

  • an allergic reaction
  • rash
  • mild burning

Tea tree oil can also cause interactions with:

  • certain drugs
  • dietary supplements
  • herbs
Sage mouthwash

Researchers in a 2015 study found that sage mouthwash significantly lowered the number of bacteria that cause dental plaque.

Participants in the study were able to rinse with the solution for up to 60 seconds without experiencing any irritation.

To use a sage mouthwash:

  • Boil 1 to 2 cups of water.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of fresh sage or 1 teaspoon of dried sage to the water.
  • Let it simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Strain and let the water cool.
  • Use the solution to rinse two to three times per day.

Sage has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may also help heal swollen gums and treat the infection.

Topical treatments for gingivitis

If mouthwashes aren’t helping, you may find it beneficial to apply a topical cream or gel onto your gums.

Clove application

Though more specific research is needed, several studies point to the potential of cloves to prevent plaque and reduce inflammation.

That’s because cloves have antiviral and antioxidant properties. They may also help to relieve pain.

To apply cloves topically:

  • Mince about 1 teaspoon of cloves.
  • Dip a damp cotton ball into the minced cloves, getting as much as you can onto the cotton ball.
  • Gently rub the clove-covered cotton ball onto your gums.
  • Let the cloves sit on your gums for about a minute.
  • Swish water around your mouth to collect all of the cloves.
  • Spit the clove water out.
  • You shouldn’t use cloves in large quantities or for long periods.
Turmeric gel application

The results of one 2015 study suggest that turmeric gel can effectively prevent plaque and gingivitis.

This could be due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric is also antimicrobial and anti-fungal. It can help to heal bleeding and reddening of the gums.

You may use turmeric or curcumin gel as a treatment.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, so you may see it labeled as either.

You shouldn’t use this if you’re allergic to turmeric.

Related: 5 Potential Side Effects of Turmeric

To apply turmeric gel:

  • Brush your teeth.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Apply the gel to your gums.
  • Let the gel sit for 10 minutes.
  • Swish water around your mouth to collect all of the gel.
  • Spit the water out.
  • Repeat two times a day.

Additional Tips: Improving Your At-Home Technique To Prevent Gingivitis

Brushing: Be sure to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, and brush using short circular strokes.

It’s important not to use too much pressure, so try holding your brush like a pen between your thumb and forefinger.

Don’t forget to brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

Flossing: Using about 18 inches of floss, wind most of it around the middle finger of one hand, and wind a small piece around the middle finger of the other hand.

Unwind fresh floss as you move from tooth to tooth. Slide the floss up and down between each tooth, and curve it into a C-shape at the gum line so it slides between the teeth and gums.

If you’re still experiencing gingivitis symptoms, you should make an appointment to visit your dentist and hygienist.

Avoid gingivitis

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. If you can, brush after each meal.
  • Opt for an electric toothbrush to maximize your cleaning potential.
  • Make sure your toothbrush has soft or extra-soft bristles.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use a natural mouthwash.
  • Visit your dentist at least once a year.
  • Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Limit sugar.

Conclusion: Gingivitis is a serious oral issue. The best way is to prevent by adopting good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist at least once a year.

During your daily routine, be sure to:

  • Brush for at least two minutes, twice a day.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Use a natural mouthwash once or twice a day.

Also, try eating healthy food rich with vitamins and minerals that can help to prevent any oral health issues.

References: mayoclinic.org healthline.com

Home remedies to treat gingivitis

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