People are always looking for ways to take better care of their teeth. One of the age old methods of brushing your teeth and caring for your gums that works – especially from the point of view of holistic dentistry- is using salt water. The reason why it works so well is that salt water is a mineral treatment that kills bacteria and reduces inflammation in the gums. It makes the gums ‘tighter’ by pulling fluid out and it has an alkalinizing effect as well.
Another age old common household item used for brushing is baking soda. This helps remove plaque and some stain and may whiten teeth slightly. The main thing it does however is alkalinize your mouth. It can be used in conjuction with salt water for a short period, i.e. a few days, however I would not recommend it for long term because it is abrasive and can leave a funny taste and odor. Basically, it is too alkaline to use for very long.
If you have inflamed, red or bleeding gums this is called gingivitis. Salt water can really help with this until you can get in to see your dentist for a cleaning. Mix some salt in a cup of warm water. Strong is good. Take some in your mouth, rinse, spit it out and repeat until all the water is gone. Do this once or twice a day and the redness should decrease or go away completely.
If you have painful gums, they are swollen, or if they bleed when you touch them you may have gum disease and you will need more intense treatment and support. The first thing you should do is buy some peroxide 3% solution. Make sure it is 3% and not stronger or it may burn your tissue. Next mix it 50%/50% with water. Next, take some into your mouth and hold it there for about 2 minutes. Then spit it out and repeat. Do this 4-5 times a day if possible. If that is not possible do it at least twice a day, when you get up and before you go to sleep. Use hydrogen peroxide for only 3 days. Then change and start rinsing with salt water.
The other thing you need to do is call your dentist and get the build up and tartar off your teeth. Your gums will never fully heal unless you remove the hard deposits that are sitting on your teeth and causing gum irritation. The other thing that tartar does is hide bacteria that inflames your gums.
Look for future posts over the next couple of weeks where I will tell you about other effective and natural ways to clean your teeth and gums. There are also natural products out there that will even whiten your teeth and remove stain. So stay tuned.
About the Author
Carey O’Rielly, DDS
Dr. Carey O’Rielly is a holistic dentist in San Diego, California who truly understands and practices the tenets of holistic health, both as a practitioner and in his personal life. His remarkable knowledge of the field came about through years of study and experience, initiated by his own work-related health challenges.