Gum recession, or gingival recession, is a recession of the gums from the crown of the teeth. It is a progressive disease that can start as early as childhood or adolescence and gradually worsens over the years. By the time it becomes apparent, usually after the age of 40, the roots of your teeth may have been exposed – read on for some natural remedies to prevent receding gums and how to fix them.
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Causes of receding gums
The roots of the teeth are attached to their individual sockets in the jaw bone. But the gum tissue that covers the jaw bones and the base of the crowns play a role in holding the teeth in position and keeping them stable.
The gums hug each tooth at a point just above your neck – where the crown of the tooth meets the root. This protects the underside of the tooth from exposure to food materials and pathogens.
The separation of the gum margins of the teeth is the first stage of the recession.
Let’s see how that happens
Bacteria in the mouth invariably form plaque, a sticky film on the teeth. You can remove these bacteria by brushing and flossing, but if they are not removed periodically, preferably once every 12 hours, the plaque can harden and form a tartar, a hard, yellowish-white chalky deposit.
The accumulation of plaque and tartar on the margins of the gums causes their separation from the teeth. This, in turn, further facilitates the formation of dental tartar in the space between the teeth and the gums.
Receding gums is generally associated with poor dental hygiene as gum disease is the most common cause of this condition. But even if you religiously brush your teeth every morning and night and floss to clean them, you could still have receding gums.
In fact, overly aggressive hygiene measures such as vigorous brushing and flossing can be equally responsible for gum inflammation, which aggravates gum recession.
Some of the other risk factors for receding gums are smoking and tobacco use, bleeding gums as in scurvy due to vitamin C deficiency, damage to tooth enamel that causes acid reflux or self-induced vomiting, and orthodontic treatment that involves repositioning the teeth.
Gum recession is often ignored because it doesn’t cause any problems at first. Most of the time, attention is only paid when it begins to affect aesthetics or cause other problems such as sensitivity to hot, cold or acidic foods, abscesses in the gums and mobility of the teeth.
If left unattended, it can even lead to premature tooth loss.
Gum recession symptoms
If you have any of the following receding gum symptoms, it is worth taking corrective action as soon as possible:
- Longer teeth – This is difficult to notice as the changes are gradual, but the current length can be compared to old photos.
- Color change at the gum line – You may notice that the crown of the tooth and the exposed root may be in different shades.
- Swollengums – Your gums are red and swollen, especially along the margins.
- Gum bleeding – Gums can bleed when brushing your teeth or biting on apples or other hard foods.
- Food sensitivity – You can have a sharp pain when consuming foods and drinks, hot, cold, sweet or acidic.
- Shaky teeth – You can feel your teeth move slightly.
11 home remedies to fix receding gums
In the early stages of receding gums, the removal of plaque and tartar, along with thorough, but light, dental hygiene measures will help control the condition. However, advanced cases often require surgical procedures such as gingival grafting.
Here are some effective home remedies that you can try regardless of how severe the condition is.
Yarrow is commonly called wound grass, millefeuille, centipede, feather flower, carpenter grass. The juice from its leaves and stem can stop the bleeding. Many North American tribes chew the leaves as a remedy for toothache, as well as a number of other ailments. Yarrow’s blood-thinning, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving effects can help with receding gums at any stage.
The easiest way to use yarrow is to chew the leaves and stems if you have access to a fresh source. Crush the leaves or grind them to form a paste and use it for gum massages.
You can also make a yarrow tea as a gargle. Pour boiling water over a handful of fresh yarrow flowers or 1-2 tablespoons of this dried herb and steep for 15-20 minutes. Strain and drink when the tea has cooled.
This antiseptic tea can improve overall oral hygiene and remedy a number of problems, including gum disease and throat infections.
If you don’t want to try the herb, you can use yarrow essential oil. This blue colored oil is very potent, so you can mix in a few drops of coconut oil or another carrier oil before using it as a gum paint.
Whether you know sumac as a shrub or tree that grows in your backyard or as a spicy, red spice used to flavor dishes or make pink lemonade, it can help with receding gums.
Certain parts of the plant have tannins that leave a bitter taste and a dry mouthfeel characteristic of astringency. These draw fluids out of the tissues, reducing inflammation and restoring tightness to the gums.
Remove the outer skin of sumac branches and use it to massage the gums or flatten the tips and use them to brush your teeth and gums. You can also boil the leaves to make a tea and then gargle, or with the red berries you can make a refreshing Indian lemonade.
In addition, sumac berries are rich in vitamins. You can also use the dried and powdered berries as a spice.
3. Green tea
Regular use of green tea has been shown to improve dental health. Not surprisingly, green tea’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are well known.
According to a Japanese study, regular consumption of green tea not only reduces the possibility of developing periodontal disease, but also reduces inflammation of the gums and improves the fixation of teeth. Drink green tea once or twice a day, allowing the tannins in the drink to do their job.
Sage tea is another herbal remedy you can try for receding gums. This herb has a long history of being used for dental problems, thanks to its excellent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. People used to chew its leaves as a remedy for swollen gums and dental abscesses.
A tea made from sage leaves can be used to gargle and relieve sore throats and mouth ulcers. It can improve overall dental hygiene, as well as protect your gums.
Making a fresh or dried sage tea is easy. Just soak a handful of fresh leaves or 2 tablespoons of dried herb in hot water for 15-20 minutes and strain the liquid. You can even use the leftovers to massage your gums.
5. Aloe vera
The soothing gel obtained from the succulent Aloe vera leaves can reduce gum inflammation and recession. Use fresh herb for this purpose. Break off a piece of the leaf and rub it on your gums. Repeat this as many times as you like. The gel can be extracted and stored in the refrigerator. After brushing your teeth, rub the gel on your gums and massage to restore the tight texture of the gum tissue.
6. Sesame seed oil
The Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic detox technique. Put 1-2 tablespoons of sesame seed oil in your mouth and shake it for about 10-15 minutes before spitting it out. Although Oil Pulling is used to treat various health problems, improvement in dental health is one of the earliest results. However, one needs to get used to it a bit first. Make sure you don’t do the Oil Pulling on an empty stomach.
7. Coconut oil
The lauric acid and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Massaging your gums with a pinch of fine sea salt mixed with a little coconut oil can reduce inflammation.
Although Oil Pulling is traditionally done with sesame seed oil, you can try coconut oil as well. It is lighter and has a more pleasant taste. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a spoon and use it.
8. Lemon oil
Lemon essential oil obtained from lemon peel is antiseptic and antimicrobial. Add ten drops of lemon oil to a cup of warm water and gargle, or mix 2-3 drops in a teaspoon of coconut oil and rub it on the gums to reduce inflammation and recession. This bitter oil has a fresh citrus scent that can dispel bad breath.
9. Clove oil
Clove oil is widely used for toothache relief as it numbs soft tissues, but it is only a temporary effect. The oil is often used in dental hygiene products for its strong, long-lasting antibacterial effect.
It also tops the list for its antioxidant capacity. Use 5-6 drops in a cup of warm water as a mouthwash.
10. Lemongrass oil
Lemongrass has antifungal and antiseptic properties that prevent the growth of certain types of yeast and bacteria commonly found in the mouth. It also has an anti-inflammatory and astringent action on the gums.
Boil 2-3 stalks of lemongrass in water to gargle or use ten drops of essential oil in a cup of warm water. Regular use relieves inflammation and restores normal, healthy gum texture.
11. Vitamin C
A deficiency of vitamin C can cause gum inflammation and bleeding. Supplements usually show dramatic improvement. Vitamins are ideally obtained from food because they are best used by the body in their natural forms rather than their synthetic versions.
Fresh vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamin C, especially those that are dark, leafy greens, such as bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, kiwis, berries, and citrus. However, a significant percentage of vitamin C is lost during juicing, preserving, and cooking.
To avoid this, try to find a local source of fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, in order to consume them raw. Drink green smoothies and fruit juices immediately after preparation.