Gum Disease and Natural Healing

The pain, discomfort and infection associated with gum disease can progress into a more serious infection if it is not treated. Fortunately, natural healing offers some highly effective alternatives to medical antibiotic treatment for gum irritation, and you may already have some of these cures in your home. If you have serious gum disease, extreme pain, or if you are on any medications, talk to your doctor before embarking on an herbal treatment plan.


  1. Salt Rinse

    • Natural relief and treatment for gum disease may be as close as the dining room table. A salt rinse is a gentle treatment for gum disease. It helps to reduce pain and swelling and kills bacteria. Many dentists recommend a steady regimen of salt rinsing after surgery to reduce the risk of infection due to bits of food.

      According to Nancy Symonds, registered dental hygenist and writer for Support 4 Change, if you are on a salt-free diet, you can use baking soda instead of salt. Symonds suggests 1 to 2 tsp. of baking soda per quart of water for a gentle baking soda rinse.


    • Bloodroot’s effects on gum disease are well-known in the dental community. According to Holistic Online, bloodroot’s main ingredients include sanguinarine. Sanguinarine is an ingredient used in some mouthwash formulas to reduce gum inflammation and fight infection. Bloodroot has also been shown to have a healing effect on bronchitis, asthma and nasal polyps.

    Prickly Ash Bark

    • Prickly ash bark is a stimulant and anti-inflammatory herb which can help heal mouth ulcers. According to “One Earth,” in Nigeria, prickly ash bark is a common oral hygiene aid. People use “…a decoction of the root bark” as a treatment for tooth pain. Another form of prickly ash, called fagara root, is used as a chewing stick to heal mouth ailments and improve general oral health. Some herbalists caution against using prickly ash bark for children due to its potential side effects.

    Oak Bark Powder

    • Oak bark powder can help reduce the inflammation caused by gum disease, and also acts as an antiseptic for ulcerated gums. According to Holistic Online, an oak bark tea made of 1 tsp. of oak bark powder in 1 cup of water can be used three times per day. Swishing the tea directly around the affected area for 30 to 60 seconds can help your gum disease heal from direct contact with the herbal tea. Oak bark powder can also be taken in a tincture if you prefer not to take it as a tea.


    • If you have exhausted all other options, neem is one of the most powerful and potent treatments for gum disease that has developed boils. Neem’s antibacterial and and antifungal properties have proven effects on the infections behind gum disease. Because of the risks neem poses to your reproductive health, you should only take neem as a last resort under the supervision of a qualified herbalist.

      According to “The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook” by Tillotson et al, neem can be taken as a powder or as a tincture. You should not use neem for more than three weeks at a time due to a “damping effect on digestive, sexual and reproductive functions.” Neem fights infection and fever, but it has also been shown to cause short-term infertility in rhesus monkeys and rats when injected into the reproductive organs. In short, Neem should be used for only a short period of time because extended use can make you temporarily infertile.


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