Swollen gums are a common problem for teens and young adults on the go, especially teens and young adults who forget to schedule their dental cleaning appointments. Almost everyone of any age has a problem with painful gums or swollen bleeding gums sooner or later, but these five at-home remedies can stop the symptoms until you can to the dentist to deal with the basic problem.
- Be your own gum massage therapist.
- Rinse out your mouth with a teaspoon (3-4 grams) of baking soda in a cup (240 ml) of warm water.
- Try Manuka, a honey of a cure.
- Once or twice a week, add one drop (no more) of tea tree oil to your toothpaste.
- Pretend your toothbrush is electric.
If you have mildly swollen gums, simply washing your hands and gently rubbing the gums from side to side and then up and down will stimulate circulation. The swelling in your gums is caused by inflammatory hormones made by your own immune system, and stimulating circulation will help the bloodstream carry them away. Of course, if your gums start spurting blood or your teeth feel lose, stop!
Baking soda in warm water changes the pH of your mouth to levels that inhibit bacterial growth. When bacteria don’t grow, your immune system doesn’t make inflammatory substances to kill them. Moist heat also relieves pain.
It seems counterintuitive that Manuka honey, which is, after all, loaded with sugar, might reduce both swelling and bleeding from gums and kill plaque bacteria. But researchers at the School of Dentistry at the University of Otago in New Zealand have found that chewing “honey leather,” specially dried Manuka honey, reduced bleeding, swelling, and plaque formation after 21 days. And it tastes good, too. You can find Manuka honey leather online at www.honeymarkproducts.com.
Alternatively, use a toothpaste containing tea tree oil every day. Tea tree oil is potently anti-bacterial. it can stop the bacteria that trigger inflammation, but overuse of straight tea tree oil can cause inflammation of its own.
When you use Sensodyne or an herbal toothpaste for gum problems, try pretending your toothbrush is electric. Brush your teeth lightly, very fast, right at the gum line-but not on the gums themselves. The back and forth action ensures your gums get the benefits of your toothpaste without being further inflamed.
And it’s also important to know when you should see a dentist right away rather than trying to manage gum problems with home remedies. If you are pregnant, see a dentist if your gums get inflamed. The inflammation in some instances can trigger a similar reaction in the placenta forcing premature delivery.
If you have bad breath that mouthwash can’t cover up, you may have a condition known as trenchmouth. And if you get black or blue sores with a cone-shaped indentation, see your dentist right away. They could be a condition called necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis, or black gum disease, that can cause decay not just in your gums but also in your jaw itself.
English HK, Pack AR, Molan PC. The effects of manuka honey on plaque and gingivitis: a pilot study. J Int Acad Periodontol. 2004 Apr;6(2):63-7.