Antioxidants and probiotics for better oral health: Natural remedies for gingivitis
Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease. It typically occurs due to the buildup of plaque on teeth. Gingivitis can be so mild that it may not cause symptoms. But if left untreated, it may eventually progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Gingivitis may also lead to tooth loss.
Causes and symptoms
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Neglecting to brush the teeth, floss or visit a dentist can result in the hardening of plaque – a sticky film made of bacteria – into a more resilient substance called tartar. And the longer tartar stays in the mouth, the longer bacteria can produce toxins that may irritate the gums.
Below are other causes of gingivitis:
- Hormonal modifications – Hormonal modifications that occur during puberty, menstruation, menopause and pregnancy may cause the gums to become more sensitive, raising the risk of inflammation.
- Diseases – Certain diseases, including diabetes and cancer, can raise the risk of developing gingivitis.
- Drugs – Taking certain medications, including anticonvulsants and anti-angina drugs, may cause the abnormal growth of gum tissue, which may subsequently lead to bleeding and inflammation.
- Smoking – Smoking weakens the immune system, which makes it harder to fight off gum infection. Regular smokers tend to develop gingivitis more often than non-smokers.
Healthy gums are firm, pale pink and fitted tightly around the teeth.
Gingivitis gums are: bright red or purple, tender, painful, even bleeding, soft, swollen or receding. It can occur also bad breath.
Gingivitis can be easily treated using natural remedies. If an individual with gingivitis begins treatment at an early stage, the condition will likely be cleared for good. Below are five natural remedies for gingivitis:
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C strengthens the gums and soft tissue in the mouth. It also strengthens the immune system so that it can better protect against oral problems like gingivitis. In addition, vitamin C prevents teeth from loosening. Vitamin C is mainly found in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons. It is also present in many leafy green and stalky vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a safe and effective anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, sufficient intake of dietary vitamin D can help treat inflammation linked to gingivitis. Vitamin D also helps strengthen teeth. The body naturally produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. But vitamin D can also be found in tofu, dairy products, eggs and mushrooms.
- Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that the body produces naturally. Cells use this substance for growth, maintenance and energy. Research shows that people with diseased gums tend to be deficient in CoQ10, suggesting that the antioxidant plays an important role in oral health and gingivitis prevention. The primary dietary sources of CoQ10 include whole grains. Eating a well-balanced diet is enough to avoid CoQ10 deficiency and gingivitis. But some people may need supplementation if they have certain health conditions or follow a particular diet.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. As such, it can help stop plaque from building up and causing inflammation of the gums. Pomegranate also helps strengthen gums.
Probiotics are best known for their role in promoting gut health. Recent studies show that probiotics support oral health as well. For instance, a study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that probiotics fight cavity-causing bacteria like Streptococcus mutans. Some sources of probiotics are: sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, kefir, tempeh.
Gingivitis can be mild and manifest no symptoms. But it should be treated as soon as possible to prevent it from progressing into more serious oral problems like periodontitis. Use these natural remedies to treat gingivitis and prevent it from recurring.
February 3, 2022