Q: I have gingivitis, and what can I do about it?
A: Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that results from infection. Symptoms of gingivitis include flushed or bluish gums that are swollen, painful and sensitive to the touch. They may also bleed easily. An unpleasant mouth odour is common, as well.
Poor dental hygiene and deficiencies in vitamins are the primary causes; they also promote the accumulation of plaque — sticky deposits of bacteria, mucous and food particles — on the teeth. Plaque causes the gums to become infected and swollen, and as the gums swell, pockets form between the gums and teeth that harbour yet more plaque and infection. It can be a vicious cycle.
Good nutrition plays a vital role in preventing and treating gingivitis. Chewing grains and raw fruits and vegetables stimulates and massages the gums while cleaning away plaque. Many fresh fruits also contain vitamin C, which reduces inflammation and strengthens the gums.
On the other side of the coin, avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates, which cause plaque build-up and weaken the immune system’s ability to fight infection.
From a functional standpoint, don’t use overly firm toothbrushes and don’t press too hard when brushing, as this can injure the gums. Change your toothbrush every four weeks, as it can become infested with bacteria and fungus. And, be sure that you floss regularly to clean the spaces between the teeth.
Rinse daily with a tincture of myrrh [bola] to kill germs and support your body’s natural immunity. You can also apply undiluted tea tree essential oil to inflamed gums. A highly effective disinfectant, it will help prevent and treat gum disease. For added protection, take 3,000 mg of the herb goldenseal each day. Goldenseal destroys the bacteria that are responsible for many diseases of the mouth.