I will admit that dentists have always terrified me but few people – even those with a stringer constitution, look forward to a visit to the dentist. When it comes to dental hygiene, prevention is infinitely better than cure. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to avoid painful and expensive treatment and essential oils are one of the best natural ways to maintain oral health.
Essential oils have been used to support healthy gums for a very long time. These highly concentrated plant oils contain a number of medicinal compounds with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. These properties make essential oils the perfect holistic choice for supporting your oral health and your gums in particular.
Receding Gums : An Overview
Receding gums are a form of periodontal disease on which the gums recede from the surface of the tooth. This exposes the root surface of the teeth and can lead to a number of serious consequences including the loss of teeth.
The preferred treatment depends on the severity of the tissue loss. Generally speaking, the earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment will be and the better the prognosis.
Causes of Receding Gums
According to estimates, around three in every four American adults have a periodontal disease of some kind. Periodontal disease, which includes receding gums, is a severe form of gingivitis or gum disease.
The condition begins with the buildup of plaque and bacteria in the teeth and the gums. In time, this plaque damages your gums causing them to fall away from your teeth. In the most severe cases, small pockets can form between the gums and the teeth creating the perfect breeding grounds for more plaque and bacteria to form.
Receding gums are often linked to poor oral hygiene but there are a number of other potential causes. They include :
- Overly aggressive brushing
- The buildup of hardened plaque (tartar)
- Genetic factors like a family history of periodontal disease
- Hormonal changes are a factor for women
- Certain medications that can cause a dry mouth
Receding gums can occur at any age but are far more common in people over the age of 40. they are also more common in men than in women.
Receding Gums Symptoms
Receding gums are often visible but there are a number of potential symptoms including the following :
- Red and swollen gums
- Pain in the gum lines
- Bleeding while brushing
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Exposure of the tooth roots
- Loose teeth
Conventional Treatment for Receding Gums
It is important that you treat the condition as soon as possible to improve the outlook. When the soft tissue holding your teeth in position becomes infected, periodontitis or gum disease can occur. If this infection is left untreated then the gums may start to recede.
Dental treatment for gum disease includes :
- Deep cleaning which is also referred to as root planing or scaling.
- Antibacterial mouthwash including prescription mouthwash like chlorexidine.
- Antibiotic medication.
- Surgical procedure known as flap surgery.
- Bone or tissue grafts.
Why Essential Oils are Effective
While it is important to get regular dental check ups and ensure the right treatment, you can help protect against gum disease by employing good oral hygiene methods to prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place. Essential oils can be extremely effective in preventing the plaque and bacterial buildup responsible for gingivitis and receding gums.
The use of essential oils and certain other oils in oral hygiene practice is nothing new. In fact, the use of certain oils has been supported by a growing body of research. Studies have revealed that holistic dental care methods like oil pulling with sesame or coconut oil can prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease.
If you are familiar with essential oils, you will know that many have excellent antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory abilities. In fact, most essential oils are anti-inflammatory or antibacterial to some degree but some oils are more potent and therefore more effective than others.
The following are some of the best essential oils to support oral health including receding gums. While many of these oils can act as effective preventive measures and even help treat certain conditions, you should use them in conjunction with your conventional dental treatment.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most diverse and popular of all essential oils. It has a fresh, minty scent that can help keep your breath smelling fresh all day and is used in a number of commercial products.
Peppermint oil has excellent antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which can help combat the bacterial build up in the mouth that leads to complications like gingivitis and receding gums.
According to a study, published in 2013, peppermint essential oil was one of several essential oils that could prove an effective, natural remedy for preventing the growth of bacteria and other harmful organisms in the mouth. (1)
By using peppermint essential oil as part of your oral hygiene routine, you can prevent a variety of conditions including gingivitis and receding gums.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is another popular oil with a range of medicinal uses. According to studies, it has excellent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects making it the perfect choice for oral health issues like receding gums or gingivitis.
According to a study, published in 2008, eucalyptus oil had excellent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which could help it treat receding gums. The study concluded that it could also help promote the production and growth of gum tissue. (2)
The 2013 study, we mentioned above, also found that eucalyptus oi,lwas effective against various oral pathogens and could help prevent the growth of oral bacteria. (1)
Clove Essential Oil
Clove essential oil is one of the most effective essential oils for treating a variety of oral health issues. Cloves have long been used to treat oral issues like toothache, gum disease and bad breath.
As well as its pain killing properties, clove essential oil has excellent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is a great choice for preventing gum disease and receding gums.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is another very popular and diverse essential oil that can be used to keep your mouth free of the bacteria that leads to gum disease.
Lemon oil has excellent antimicrobial properties and can be used in a mouthwash to destroy the oral pathogens responsible for gum diseases like gingivitis and receding gums. It may also promote the regeneration of healthy gum tissue. While protecting your teeth and gums against disease, it also helps keep your breath smelling good.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil is widely used for its skin benefits as well as being a popular choice in aromatherapy. However, this diverse oil has a number of other potential benefits.
Frankincense essential oil has strong antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions that may help fight the oral bacteria that leads to gum disease like receding gums.
Sage Essential Oil
Sage oil is not as well-known as some on the list, but it has excellent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It might help promote oral health by preventing the growth of harmful oral bacteria. It can also help regenerate tissue and protect against inflammation and bleeding.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil has countless medicinal applications and recent studies suggest it may be effective when it comes to oral health and hygiene.
A study, published in 2013 found that tea tree essential oil was effective against the bacteria and other organisms responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. (3)
Turmeric Essential Oil
Turmeric has earned a reputation for its ability to bolster health. Much of its effectiveness is due to a compound called curcumin which has proven to be extremely effective against inflammatory disease as well as being a potent antioxidant.
One study, published in 2015 found that turmeric gel may help prevent conditions that lead to receding gums like gingivitis and plaque. (7)
How To Use Essential Oils For Receding Gums
Now that you know which essential oils can help treat receding gums, you need to know how to apply them. When it comes to treating the gums, there are various methods of applying your chosen oil. You can either use one essential oil or use more than one in a blend.
Oil pulling is a tried and tested way of maintaining oral health and treating gum conditions in particular. It is a simple Ayurvedic approach to oral health involving a carrier oil and the essential oil of your choice. A study, published in 2009, found that oil pulling helped reduce plaque in people with gingivitis. (4)
Popular carrier oils for oil pulling include sesame oil and virgin coconut oil but studies have found that coconut oil may be a better option. (4)
Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for between 15 and 20 minutes. Spit out the oil then rinse with warm water before brushing your teeth as normal.
DIY Mouth Wash
You can use your essential oils to make an antibacterial mouth rinse or wash. Simply add a few drops of your chosen antibacterial oil and use it in the way you would use a regular mouthwash. Just be careful that you don’t swallow any of the mixture.
You can also make a DIY toothpaste by adding your chosen essential oil as an ingredient. You can simply add a drop or two of your essential oil to your regular toothpaste. If you are more adventurous and have the time, there are a there are a number of essential oil toothpaste recipes available online.
You can apply your essential oil directly to the affected part of your gums but you should always dilute them with a carrier oil before you do.
Other Home Remedies for Receding Gums
As well as the essential oils we have written about, there are a number of other effective home remedies for receding gums. they include the following :
- Oil Pulling : Using the same method outlined above but minus the essential oil. Studies suggest that oil pulling is an excellent home remedy for oral health issues including receding gums. Sesame oil is traditionally used in Ayurvedic practice but virgin coconut oil is extremely effective.
- Salt water : add a little salt to some warm water and use it as a mouthwash each day.
- Aloe Vera : studies have found that Aloe vera can support oral health. While the study in question used injections of the gel, you could simply try rubbing the gel directly into the affected area of your gums. (6)
- Turmeric : Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have found that turmeric gel may prevent gingivitis and plaque which leads to receding gums. (7)
- Green Tea : One study found that simply drinking green tea each day can help to promote healthy gums and teeth. (8). You could also use green tea as a mouthwash.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you reverse receding gums?
Unfortunately, receding gums can not be reversed meaning the gum tissue will not grow back. Fortunately, however, this does not mean you can’t prevent the disease from getting worse. Good oral hygiene and some lifestyle changes may be extremely effective and prevent the progression of the disease.
Does tea tree oil help receding gums?
Researchers have found that brushing with tea tree gel helped reduce inflammation of the gums and gingivitis. The oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help heal swollen gums and protect against oral bacteria
What essential oils are good for teeth and gums?
A number of essential oils have excellent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties making them a good choice for oral health issues. Some of the most effective include clove essential oil, peppermint, lemon, tea tree and frankincense essential oils.
Receding gums are a common periodontal condition that affect a number of adults. The condition is a more progressed form of gum disease or gingivitis and tends to affect people over the age of 40 although it can occur at any age.
Factors that can lead to receding gums include poor oral hygiene, brushing too vigorously, smoking and certain diseases or medications. A family history of gum disease is another potential factor.
One of the best ways of taking care of your oral health and ensuring your gums remain strong and healthy is to use certain essential oils. Many oils have outstanding antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can protect against the bacteria that leads to periodontal disease.
Some of the best include peppermint, frankincense, clove, tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils. there are various ways to use your essential oils to support your gums. These include oil pulling and using the oil as an ingredient in a mouthwash or toothpaste.