The inflammation of gums is referred to as gum disease or periodontal disease, and can quickly spread to the bones that support the teeth. What starts out as a simple bacterial growth in the mouth can blossom into a full-blown issue that could lead to tooth loss. There are generally three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
The tricky part is that gum disease is not always painful, so becoming familiar with the warning signs is the best way to determine if there is a problem. Gingivitis, the early stage, will generally start with gums that are red, swollen and bleed easily. Gingivitis is reversible with proper oral care, but if left untreated can develop into gum disease. The plaque would have spread and grown further under the gum line which can cause severe irritation. Gums can begin to separate from the teeth and form pockets where more bacteria can gather. These spaces can lead to the loosening of teeth and could even result in tooth loss.
The following are red flags for potentially very serious gum problems:
- red or swollen gums
- tender or bleeding gums
- receding gums
- loose or sensitive teeth
- bad breath despite brushing
While gum disease must be treated by a dentist, there are several natural remedies that can be used at home that can help if the gum disease has not extended too far.
- Rinse – use warm salt water to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. Not to be used daily since too much can hurt the teeth.
- Paste – baking soda and water is an effective neutralizer of the acids that cause gum disease.
- Oil pulling – although not guaranteed, many swear by this method of using a natural oil, such as coconut oil, to fight off the gum disease-causing bacteria.
While these are helpful, don’t forget that nothing can replace proper oral hygiene.