Receding gums often signal gum diseases such as gingivitis. While there’s no substitute for regular dental cleanings, brushing and flossing, natural home remedies can aid in the fight against receding gums. Look for botanicals and nutrients known for toning gums through their cleansing and astringent properties, killing bacteria with natural antimicrobial compounds, or building up the body’s immune system to resist the plaque and tartar associated with receding gums.
Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts of herbs, flowers, trees and other plants. The natural remedies website GrannyMed.com suggests using eucalyptus essential oil to address receding gums, as the oil’s antimicrobial properties kill bacteria related to tartar and plaque buildup. Dilute six drops in 1 cup of water for mouth rinse or two drops in a small amount of water for direct gum massage. Tea tree oil and myrrh essential oils may also help combat receding gums as a mouth rinse or gum massage.
Before toothbrushes and dental floss, people often relied on plants to clean their teeth and gums. Herbal beauty author Dina Falconi suggests using a twig from a common sumac tree. The sumac tree (Rhus glabra), unrelated in looks or danger to the bush called poison sumac, contains astringent properties for cleaning teeth and stimulating gums, Falconi notes. Peel back the twig’s outer bark and gently rub the tip along teeth and gums. The wild herb yarrow is also a traditional dental care plant. Rub the leaves or flower over teeth and gums to reap its astringent and antiseptic properties. The cultivated herb sage is another centuries-old gum restorative, according to “The Green Witch Herbal” author Barbara Griggs. “Sage is particularly tonic and stimulating to the gums and mucous membrane,” she notes. Rub individual sage leaves over gums and teeth to clean and stimulate the gum line.
Griggs also recommends capturing the astringent properties of roses in vinegar to make a mouth rinse specifically targeted at strengthening gums. Gather 2.5 oz. of clean, pesticide-free rose petals, place them in a clean pint jar, and cover the petals with red wine vinegar. Let steep at least a week before straining. Use as a weekly mouth rinse by adding a tablespoon of the rose vinegar to a glass of warm water.
Taking vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements provides a chemical-free method of strengthening gums and helping fight off bacteria, according to “Nature’s Medicine” author Gale Maleskey. Maleskey recommends vitamin C for shoring up the body’s immune system and strengthening gum tissue, folic acid to fight plaque buildup and gum inflammation, and coenzyme Q10 for increasing circulation around the gum line and building immunity. Herbal remedies can also build immunity, which Maleskey calls vital to treat receding gums and gum disease. Her suggested herbal supplements for gingivitis are echinacea, burdock root and Siberian ginseng.