14 Gingivitis Home Remedies That Work! (Dentist Recommended)

Category: Adult Dentistry, Dr. Advocate's Insights, Oral Health

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By: Dr. Advocate
Updated: November 24, 2022

Gingivitis Home Remedy That Works | My Dental Advocate

Gingivitis requires professional treatment by a dentist or dental hygienist to remove harmful bacteria above and below the gums. However, there are promising home remedies that will alleviate signs and symptoms of gingivitis. So what does evidence-based scientific research say? First, let’s explore the proven benefits and home remedy treatments for gingivitis.

Recommended Reading: Gingivitis | The Ultimate Guide


What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums caused by harmful bacteria. If harmful bacteria are not removed by your dentist or hygienist, the bacteria will congregate and multiply into advanced gum disease (periodontal disease). The bacteria that infects the gums lead to swollen, red and puffy gums. Gingivitis is a common gum issue; however, oral hygiene improvements can help prevent this ailment. According to the American Dental Association, gingivitis and periodontitis cause tooth loss in adults.


Recommended Reading: What is Gingivitis? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment 2022


Do this first!

Although gingivitis home remedies effectively manage gum inflammation and other symptoms, it’s essential to visit a professionally trained dentist first. Your dentist and hygienist understand what’s involved with treatment and prevention to eliminate gingivitis. In addition, if harmful bacteria is left untreated, it will progress into an irreversible gum disease known as periodontal disease (periodontitis). So let’s explore the next steps from a dentist’s perspective.


Schedule an appointment

Visiting your dentist should be the first step if you suspect you have gingivitis or gum disease. For example, hygienists and dentists are trained to identify early signs and symptoms of gingivitis and to prevent the progression into periodontal disease. After a thorough gum evaluation and diagnosis, a dental cleaning by your hygienist will be advised. In addition, your hygienist can remove more plaque and tartar buildup compared to your efforts.


Recommended Reading: 5 Best Mouthwashes for Gingivitis & Gum Disease 2022


Woman Brushing Teeth In Mirror | My Dental Advocate

Improve oral home care

  • Brush twice daily with an electric toothbrush and floss nightly (My favorite)
  • If you don’t floss, use a water flosser to remove cavity-causing bacteria between your teeth
  • Use a water flosser if you have braces or significant gaps between your teeth. (My favorite)
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth and gums from bacteria
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash nightly to remineralize teeth and wash away harmful
    bacteria

Recommended Reading: 5 Best Toothpastes for Gingivitis & Gum Disease 2022


Evaluate diet & nutrition

Harmful bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis feast on sugars and carbohydrates; evaluate your diet and eliminate sugary foods such as soda, candy and sweets. The more you snack, the more frequently harmful bacteria will “be fed.” In addition, use a straw to consume sugary beverages to minimize contact with teeth and gums. The goal is to starve the harmful bacteria of their food source.


Consider medical & dental history

Medical ailments such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease impact gingivitis progression; Diabetes decreases the immune response and leads to poor wound healing. Parkinson’s disease inhibits adequate brushing and flossing, leading to gingivitis progression. In addition, some patients are more prone to gingivitis due to many dental restorations where bacteria and plaque can hide.


Review medications

Patients taking immunosuppressive medications prevent the body from healing, increasing the chances of gingivitis. In addition, most medications can lead to dry mouth (xerostomia), which leads to gum inflammation. Harmful cavity-causing and gingivitis-causing bacteria thrive in dry, acidic environments such as a dry mouth.


Recommended Reading: Pregnancy Gingivitis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment 2022


Gum Disease Pictures | My Dental Advocate

Gingivitis home remedies

The primary goal when treating and preventing gingivitis is to eliminate as much plaque as possible. Plaque, the sticky film containing bacteria that builds up on teeth near the gum line, is the primary factor of gingivitis. In addition, bacteria produce harmful toxins that aggravate your gums and lead to redness, swelling, and bleeding. However, don’t panic—you can fight plaque and bacteria effectively with several gingivitis treatments.

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to more severe health problems like gum disease. Always seek professional medical advice and treatment from your dentist first. Home remedies are generally safe to use; however, discuss them with your healthcare provider if you have questions.

Recommended Reading: What Does Gingivitis Look Like? (20 Gum Disease Pictures)


Gingivitis home remedies are inexpensive and effective at managing signs and symptoms of gingivitis. Even though gingivitis home remedies contain natural ingredients, you should never swallow them. It’s essential to treat the dental plaque before it solidifies into tenacious tartar. In addition, supplement home remedy treatment with improving the frequency and duration of brushing and flossing. Better oral health home care directly leads to healthier gums.


Salt water rinse

According to the most up-to-date research article, warm salt water rinse alters the biology of harmful bacteria and promotes oral wound healing. However, using a salt water rinse too often or for an extended period could adversely affect tooth enamel. In addition, long-term use may deteriorate your teeth because of their acidic properties.

Improve oral home care

  • Soothes inflamed gums
  • Eases pain
  • Reduce bacteria
  • Removes food particles
  • Relieves bad breath

According to the research, we would suggest mixing approximately 1 teaspoon full (5 g) of salt in 1 cup of water (250 ml) to use as an oral rinse.

Directions

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of water and mix well
  2. Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds
  3. Spit out the solution
  4. Repeat 2-3 times daily

Antibacterial mouthwash

If the salt water rinse isn’t relieving your signs or symptoms, I recommend trying an antibacterial mouthwash. Countless studies have been documented regarding the effectiveness of antibacterial mouthwash. For example, a recent study showed mouth rinses (Listerine and Chlorhexidine) were “as good as” dental floss in anti-gingival efficacy.

Remember, you should never swallow mouthwash and be sure to spit the mixture out after swishing. Although many over-the-counter and prescription mouthwashes are available, you might want to try a homemade mouthwash first. Below are more natural home remedies.


Recommended Reading: Is Gingivitis & Gum Disease Contagious? (What the Research Says)


Baking soda

Baking soda is commonly used in baking and cleaning, but it may also help remove dental plaque, soften tartar, and prevent gingivitis. In addition, it’s most effective to blend baking soda with water to make a dentifrice (toothpaste). According to a 2019 study, baking soda dentifrice showed promised results in plaque reduction. Also, baking soda reduced bleeding scores when used as a mouthwash.

Directions

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with warm water
  2. For a thicker paste, gently rub the baking soda paste on your gums for 30 seconds
  3. For a liquid mixture, gently swish the baking soda mouth rinse for about 30 seconds
  4. Spit it out and rinse with water
  5. Repeat 2-3 times daily

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide Home Remedy | My Dental Advocate

Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic often used to prevent skin infections from minor cuts and scrapes. Swishing with hydrogen peroxide may also help relieve minor mouth irritations and kill harmful gingivitis-causing bacteria. In addition, according to a 2011 study, subgingival irrigation with 3% hydrogen peroxide plays a potential role in inflammation control and reduction of gingival bleeding.

Directions

  1. Mix 3 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of water
  2. Swish the mixture around your mouth for about 30 seconds
  3. Spit it out, and don’t swallow
  4. Rinse 2 to 3 times daily

Lemongrass mouthwash

Lemongrass is an essential oil that deals with digestive problems and even high blood pressure. But lemongrass mouthwash has another health benefit; it may work better than conventional mouthwash at treating and preventing gingivitis. Food-grade lemongrass oil is generally safe to use, but it’s very potent. Always start with a highly diluted mixture, so it doesn’t cause further irritation.


According to a 2015 and 2021 study, 0.25% lemongrass oil mouthwash performed marginally better than 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwash at reducing dental plaque and gingival status.

Directions

  1. Dilute 2-3 drops of lemongrass essential oil in 1 cup of water
  2. Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds
  3. Spit out the solution
  4. Repeat 2-3 times daily

In the present study, Lemongrass mouthwash achieved both antimicrobial and antioxidant activities by using 0.25% lemongrass essential oil in the mouthwash formulation. In addition, a 2017 study further concluded that lemongrass oil mouthwash might be effective in the “treatment of chronic periodontitis and [prevention] of cardiovascular diseases.”


Aloe vera mouthwash

Aloe vera is considered the oldest medicinal plant and consists of 500 different species; however, only a few are used medicinally. Therefore, it’s essential to use the correct aloe vera plant and be sure it’s 100% pure. Aloe vera contains 75 active vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Unlike aloes, aloe vera gel contains no anthraquinones, which are responsible for the strong laxative effects of aloes.


According to a 2013 study, a statistically significant reduction in the gingival and sulcus bleeding indices was observed at the end of the first and third months.

Directions

  1. Swish the juice in your mouth for 30 seconds
  2. Spit out the solution
  3. Repeat 2-3 times daily

Aloe vera has a long history of treating scrapes and burns on the skin, but it’s proven effective at reducing harmful bacteria in the mouth. According to research, aloe vera was just as effective as two OTC toothpaste at reducing gingivitis-causing bacteria. Remember, you shouldn’t use this formulation if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to aloe vera.


Turmeric (curcumin) gel

Turmeric Home Remedy | My Dental Advocate

Turmeric is most commonly used in foods; however, it’s also used to treat gingivitis. Turmeric’s chief constituent is curcumin, which boasts many health benefits, including dental health. According to a 2021 study, curcumin and chlorhexidine had similar anti-plaque and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, fewer side effects were noted for curcumin compared to chlorhexidine.

Benefits

  • Culinary additive
  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antifungal
  • Heals wounds

Consider combining baking soda, turmeric, and salt to formulate a textured, gingivitis-healing gel.

Directions

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric with a small amount of warm water to formulate a gel
  2. Gently apply the gel to your tender gums
  3. Let the turmeric gel sit for 10 minutes
  4. Swish and spit out the gel
  5. Repeat 2-3 times daily to relieve tender gums

Oil pulling

Oil pulling is growing in popularity, and there’s a surprising amount of evidence-based research to support it. In a 2016 study, three authors studied the effect of sesame oil pulling on plaque, gingivitis and colony-forming bacteria.

Twenty study subjects performed oil pulling for 15–20 min daily for forty-five days. In addition, the authors concluded that oil pulling with sesame oil is an effective preventive oral hygiene method when practiced daily. However, it would be best if you did not swallow it as it is heavily loaded with toxic microorganisms.


Oil pulling resulted in a statistically significant decrease in plaque, gingival scores and bacterial counts.

Research results

  • 20% reduction in the bacterial count after 40 days
  • Reduction in severity of dental caries
  • 50% reduction in gingival and plaque index
  • Comparable results with chlorhexidine

Oil pulling involves swirling the oil around the mouth as it reduces bacteria and combats the buildup of plaque and tartar. People allergic to specific oil should use other types of oil compatible with them. For example, sesame oil does not have side effects like staining, lingering aftertaste, and allergy. Other oils that people can use include coconut oil and arimedadi oil.

Directions

  1. Swish 1 tablespoon is swished before breakfast for 20 minutes
  2. The oil will become milky white and thinner after swishing between teeth (pulling)
  3. Spit out the oil and rinse your mouth out
  4. If the jaw aches, modify the time to 5-10 minutes
  5. Don’t spit the oil in the sink as it will clog pipes
  6. Don’t swallow the oil as it contains bacteria and toxins

Recommended Reading: Gingivitis vs Periodontitis (Gum Disease) Overview


Essential oils

According to a 2018 study, alcohol-free and alcohol-containing mouthwash was able to reduce plaque, gingivitis, and gingival bleeding compared to mechanical oral hygiene alone. In addition, the study found no significant differences in effectiveness in reducing plaque, gingivitis and gingival bleeding between alcohol-containing and alcohol-free essential oil mouth rinse.

Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is an antibacterial essential oil from the tea tree. It can be toxic in large amounts, but tea tree oil is a popular essential oil that fights harmful bacteria. According to a 2020 study, tea tree oil can be a beneficial alternative to alcohol-based mouthwash and may be an effective gingivitis therapy.

Directions

  1. Mix 3 drops of peppermint, thyme, or tea tree essential oil with 8 ounces of warm water
  2. Swish the mixture for about 30 seconds
  3. Spit it out, and don’t swallow
  4. Repeat 2-3 times daily

Cloves

Why Does a Cavity Hurt? (5 BEST Toothache Home Remedies) | Toothache ingredients | My Dental Advocate

Clove is most commonly used as a food spice. It also has natural antiviral and antioxidant properties; used to reduce inflammation in the gums. Similar to other natural remedies, use them with caution. The first step to treating gum inflammation is always at your dentist. Natural remedies are best used to manage signs and symptoms of gingivitis.

Directions

  1. Finely mince 1 teaspoon of clove
  2. Using a damp cotton ball, dab the minced clove so it sticks
  3. Gently rub the clove onto the inflamed gums
  4. Wait approximately 1 minute
  5. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with water

Black tea bag

Black tea is a popular drink of choice for many Americans. Their daily routine consists of sipping black tea first thing in the morning. But tea isn’t just for drinking. Black tea also contains tannins, substances that can remarkably draw out infection in the mouth and reduce swelling. Aside from lowering gingivitis, black tea bags are also used to stop excessive bleeding. For example, if you had a tooth extracted and it won’t stop bleeding, bite on a tea bag for 1 hour, and it will stop the bleeding.

Directions

  1. Add a tea bag to hot water
  2. Allow the bag to soak for at least two minutes
  3. Set it out on a plate and allow it to cool
  4. Press the cooled tea bag against the gum line
  5. Use it as a compress for up to 2 minutes
  6. Repeat as necessary

Recommended Reading: Gingivitis vs Healthy Gums (What’s the Difference?)


Green tea

Green tea contains high amounts of antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation. In addition, green tea can help counteract the immune system’s inflammatory response to bacteria in the mouth. According to a 2012 study, green tea catechin inhibit the growth of many harmful, gingivitis-causing bacteria. Similar to coffee, green tea contains caffeine. For example, 1 cup of green tea contains about 28 mg of caffeine, compared to 96 mg in a cup of coffee.

Directions

  1. Swish green tea for 30 seconds
  2. Spit and rinse with water
  3. Use as needed

Sage mouthwash

Mouthwash with alcohol can dry out your mouth, creating a prime environment for harmful bacteria to grow. However, a mouthwash that contains sage keeps your mouth moisturized and calms inflamed gums. Did you know that you can make your own sage mouthwash at home?


A 2015 study concluded that sage extract mouth rinse exerted antibacterial action against Streptococcus mutans in dental plaque.

Directions

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh sage or 1 teaspoon of dried sage to 1-2 cups of boiling water
  2. Let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes before straining it
  3. After it cools, store it in a bottle
  4. Rinse with a small amount twice daily for 30 seconds

Recommended Reading: Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG) “Trench Mouth”


Dairy & crunchy foods

Dairy products contain calcium and other essential nutrients that strengthen your teeth. In fact, according to a 2008 study, people who regularly ate dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt, were less likely to have gum disease.

In addition, crunchy foods can help remove plaque while chewing. For example, snacking on carrots, broccoli or celery can act like a toothbrush while chewing, brushing away excess plaque.

Benefits

  • Stimulate saliva flow
  • Healthy nutrition
  • Mechanically removes plaque
  • Dairy strengthens bones & teeth
  • High fiber and low sugar (healthy option)

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


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Unfortunately, gingivitis will not go away with only brushing. Gingivitis requires hand scaling and adjunctive treatments from your dentist or dental hygienist. Brushing, flossing and nightly mouthwash will help remove plaque and prevent future buildup.

Yes, mouthwash (especially antibacterial) helps kill harmful gingivitis-causing bacteria. In addition, alcohol-free mouthwash will moisten your mouth and prevent bacteria from thriving. Bacteria thrive in dry, acidic environments, so if you suffer from dry mouth, be sure to sip on water during the day and use a nightly dry mouth mouthwash.

No, gingivitis will not heal on its own. Without any professional treatment or home remedy, bacteria will continue to thrive, leading to gingivitis and gum disease. Home remedy treatment will address gingivitis signs and symptoms; however, professional treatment is required to eliminate gingivitis.


Final thoughts

Gingivitis is a common disease that can progress into advanced gum disease. However, advancements in research, developments and home remedies are available to wage war against harmful oral bacteria. Always visit your dentist first for professional care and treatment. Next, consider these evidence-based natural gingivitis home remedies.


The more you know, the more healthy habits you can develop, saving you and your family from avoidable and potentially expensive dental procedures. Talk to your dental professional for more suggestions on improving oral health and check back for more blog posts and relevant information. Please share this site and let us know what else you’d like to know!



Sources

  1. Huynh NC. Rinsing with Saline Promotes Human Gingival Fibroblast Wound Healing In Vitro. PLoS One. 2016.
  2. Mythri H The efficacy of antiseptic mouth rinses in comparison with dental floss in controlling interproximal gingivitis. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2011.
  3. Akula S. Anti-Plaque and Anti-Gingivitis Efficacy of 0.25% Lemongrass Oil and 0.2% Chlorhexidine Mouthwash in Children. Front Dent. 2021
  4. Dany SS. Efficacy of 0.25% Lemongrass Oil Mouthwash: A Three Arm Prospective Parallel Clinical Study. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015.
  5. Ajmera N. Aloe vera: It’s effect on gingivitis. BDJ Team. 2021.
  6. Mackay, M. The role of turmeric (curcumin) in gingival health. Photomed Laser Surg, 2010
  7. Shanbhag VK. Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review. J Tradit Complement Med. 2016.
  8. Rashed HT. Evaluation of the effect of hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash in comparison with chlorhexidine in chronic periodontitis patients: A clinical study. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2016.
  9. Lynch MC. The effects of essential oil mouthrinses with or without alcohol on plaque and gingivitis: a randomized controlled clinical study. BMC Oral Health. 2018.
  10. Valkenburg, C. The efficacy of baking soda dentifrice in controlling plaque and gingivitis: A systematic review. International Journal of Dental Hygiene, 2019.
  11. Beheshti-Rouy M. The antibacterial effect of sage extract (Salvia officinalis) mouthwash against Streptococcus mutans in dental plaque: a randomized clinical trial. Iran J Microbiol. 2015.
  12. Chatterjee A. Green tea: A boon for periodontal and general health. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2012.
  13. Shimazaki Y. Intake of dairy products and periodontal disease: the Hisayama Study. J Periodontol. 2008.

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About the Author

Dr. Advocate is an actual board-certified dentist with clinical practice experience and a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources presented in layman’s terms with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.