The Most Important Supplements To Heal Gum Disease

When treating gum disease you must give it the same attention as you would any medical diagnoses.

Remember, gum health is whole health. Seldom will you find a dental professional willing to discuss what supplements you need for your gum health. Usually, the script goes something like this, “We can try deep cleanings first, but we may need to send you off to the periodontist.” Your hygienist will most certainly insist on your home-care routine. They will tell you to use a battery brush and urge you to floss, see my blog Flossing and Everything In Between.

However, when healing reversible gum disease, there is an entire picture of nutrition, lifestyle, and gum assisting supplements which should be addressed. To heal gum disease it needs to be treated like any other medical diagnoses where you would consider all options and all of your attention. Even when you do not have obvious symptoms of gum disease, which are often covert, if your hygienist warns you of gingivitis, take it seriously!

We now know how many diseases are linked to the P. gingivalis bacteria which causes gum disease, see my blog New Study: Gingivitis Causes Alzheimer’s. Currently, we know of over 500 different forms of bacteria living in the mouth. 25% of all healthy mouths have P. gingivalis which are lying dormant. Supplements can encourage the growth of healthy bacteria while helping your resistance to the gingivitis causing bacteria.

The bottom line is home-care cannot be ignored as the number one component in reversing gum disease. When you take supplements for your gums to speed up the healing process you also support other tissue in your body with inflammation.

The Most Important Supplements to Heal Gum Disease

  • CoQ10 is a heavily studied supplement to be considered as a bio-energizer in periodontal disease. It’s a powerful antioxidant which mediates inflammation in tissue throughout our body.
  • Vitamin K and Vitamin D work interdependently. Vitamin K is a potent vitamin against gum disease and if you have a deficiency it can cause bleeding gums. You would need to be sure your vitamin D levels are adequate first before you supplement with vitamin K to repair your gums.
  • Grape Seed Extract is 20-50 times more potent as an antioxidant than Vitamin C! While it heals your gums it also prevents the biofilm of plaque which causes gum disease.
  • Quercetin is a flavonoid which is found in fruits and vegetables. When taken as a supplement it’s synergistic with the grape seed extract and becomes a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Click to image to order Grape Seed Extract

Out of the many supplements on the market, in order for you to not be overwhelmed, I have narrowed them down to the best possible ones for your gums. Throughout my years as a hygienist, I have noticed a correlation between those who have a general high level of self care and healthy mouths. Making the decision to take supplements to heal your mouth is a step toward whole health.

Click image to order Quercetin

*This blog contains affiliate links for products Ask My Hygienist carefully recommends based on professional experience or personal use. These suggestions are to assist you in your quest for better oral health, and in turn, you're assisting our blog with the small commission we receive from your purchase.

Ordinary Mouthwash Is Bad For Bad Breath; Good Tips For Good Breath

Your mouthwash can be doing more harm than good and can actually cause bad breath.

The first thing to do about bad breath is know its cause. The last thing you want to do for bad breath is treat it with mouthwash. Most commercial brands have either chemicals or alcohol which primarily target to kill bacteria. Like I discussed in The Truthpaste of Toothpaste, unfortunately these aggressive ingredients not only kill the bad bacteria, they kill the good, and the good bacteria is needed for decay prevention, healthy gums, and….yes, good breath!! Remember, if you have a clean mouth from good habits, good eating, and good dental home-care, you do not need to kill bacteria.

Furthermore, alcohol in mouthwash is extremely drying for the mouth, which in itself will cause bad breath defeating your intent. The lack of saliva  after sleeping is why people experience “Morning breath,” as saliva is needed to maintain a healthy PH and encourage healthy bacteria. Like many commercial toothpastes, commercial mouthwash contains chemicals which give you a burning sensation because the mouthwash is burning your tissue by irritating it. Mouthwash is a true waste of your money and will only mask bad breath odor for a short duration, while never ameliorating the cause.

The odor from your bad breath could be a clue toward discovering the cause. I have had many patients ask me if I think they have bad breath, and this is a really good place for you to start. If you haven’t been in the dental care system for a while, ask a loved one whom you know will be honest with you. Generally, though, you have a pretty good idea on your own if you have a taste in your mouth;  your breath will usually smell the way your mouth tastes.

Know What’s Causing Your Chronic Bad Breath:

Dental neglect or poor oral hygiene is an obvious cause of bad breath which varies depending on the degree of periodontal disease. Food debris can actually cause fermentation in your mouth which would give it a sour taste or rotten egg odor. If someone has gum disease their breath can smell metallic or bloody on top of the rotten egg odor.

Ketoacidosis can come from diabetes when experiencing low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. It can also come from dieting or fasting or eating disorders. I have experienced some patients in Santa Fe who are always on some kind of “Detox,” or fast and I can always tell from their fruity mouth odor. A high protein diet such as Paleo can cause the release of ketones which will temporarily cause a fruity or an acetone odor from “Keto breath.” However, long term high protein diets can cause a volatile sulfur byproduct from anaerobic (oxygen deprived) bacteria which digests proteins. The odor from volatile sulfur is heavier than “Fruity,” which is more of a rotten egg smell and can be very offensive.

Sinusitis or Nasal Problems can cause bad breath due to becoming more acidic and can lead to dry mouth. It’s very important to tongue scrape with nasal issues as your tongue can become coated with the acidic thriving bacteria causing bad breath with a metallic odor.

Xerostomia is a dry mouth condition which can be caused by medications or radiation treatments, aging, chronic dehydration, chronic stress and anxiety, and so many other conditions. Saliva is crucial to a balanced and healthy mouth and without it, taste buds are dulled while experiencing both a metallic taste and odor.

Acid Reflux, once again, will cause your oral cavity to be too acidic, giving off a metallic or sour taste and odor.

Smoking deprives your mouth of oxygen which causes acidic bacteria growth, which causes periodontal disease. Besides your breath smelling like tobacco, smoking causes dry mouth which leaves you with bad breath and exacerbates gum disease.

Gut Bacteria Imbalance can commonly come from overgrown H.Pylori in the small-intestine which causes digestion problems making the oral cavity too acidic where you would have a rotten egg odor.

The above are only samples of conditions which can cause bad breath, so find out if your bad breath is caused by a medical condition with the help of your health-care provider.

Good Tips for Good Breath

Clean your teeth with brushing and flossing or picking. Don’t rush your routine, take your time, the better you remove plaque from your teeth, the better your breath will be.

Scrape your tongue clean. It’s very important you reach the scraper as far back as you can go (without gagging) as the anaerobic bacteria hides out in the back where there’s less oxygen, especially the volatile sulfur producing bacteria.

Click image to order Dr. Tung’s tongue cleaner

Test your mouth with PH strips to see if its acidic. If you’re too acidic you can use baking soda rinses after you eat. All you need is warm water and about a teaspoon of baking soda to rinse and gargle with. I would even sprinkle baking soda on your favorite natural toothpaste to brush with.

Baking soda can help neutralize volatile sulfur and give you better breath while encouraging healthy bacteria.

Hydrate by drinking lots of water and keep your mouth moist. At night discourage mouth breathing, see Mouth Breathing During Cold Winter Nights. During the day natural xylitol candies and gums can help keep your mouth moist because it leaves behind a slippery film on your teeth and oral cavity.

Eat well and don’t skip meals in order to prevent low blood sugar. Healthy whole foods discourage bad bacteria to grow in the mouth while fibrous foods help prevent the volatile sulfur.

If Mouthwash feels good, then, by all means, use it, but be selective by using mouthwash with ingredients you can recognize and are non-invasive. I am impressed with Dr. H & Co. rinses because of their high-quality ingredients and emphasis on whole oral health. I highly recommend Dr. H & Co. Refresh for better breath. They also make a rinse Heal concentrated more on gum health.

I love all the ingrediants in this rinse for gum health, especially the aloe vera which is alkeline and can help neutralize your flora. Click on image to order.

Ideally, barring any medical issues, if you follow the above dental tips, your mouth should feel pretty clean and odor free.

*This blog contains affiliate links for products Ask My Hygienist carefully recommends based on professional experience or personal use. These suggestions are to assist you in your quest for better oral health, and in turn, you're assisting our blog with the small commission we receive from your purchase.

Home Remedies for your Oral Health

Everything you need for a healthy mouth could be in your cabinets right now.

I bet you have more therapeutic ingredients in your cabinets than you realize. It amazes me what patients tell me they use for their mouths, sometimes they’re right on, but yikes, sometimes way off. Once, a patient superglued a piece of broken tooth back onto their tooth….but you wouldn’t do that. Just in case, I have chosen some of my favorite common household items and will discuss how to use them, and perhaps, how not to use them.

Home Remedies for your Oral Health you can Find Right in your House

You probably won’t need a prescription or a well-marketed product when you have the following:

Salt – is an astringent which means it draws fluid out of tissue which can reduce inflammation. It’s great for localized or generalized bleeding gums, from slight gingivitis to perhaps eating too much popcorn. If your gums are more tender than usual, without bleeding, you can also use salt rinses. You don’t need to be a scientist to measure the salt into hot water, but use around a tsp of salt (sea salt if you have it), to half a cup of the hottest water you can stand to rinse with. DO NOT USE salt for canker sores, wrong remedy, and ouch!!!

Baking Soda – is a great remedy for canker sores and you don’t need medication for it. A canker sore is an ulceration and it’s acidic, since baking soda is alkaline, the minute it comes in contact with the sore, it begins to neutralize it. All you do is place a generous amount of baking soda on the tip of your finger and dab it directly onto the canker sore in your mouth. I usually do this for myself the minute I feel the sore coming on, and I always make sure I apply it before I go to bed so it soaks in. 9 times out of 10, it’s better in the morning. You can also rinse with baking soda in warm water for mild bad breath. Baking soda can also be used to make a homemade toothpaste, even though, when as a kid I hated if we ran out of toothpaste because my parents made me use baking soda right out of the box, and it’s taken me years to appreciate the taste as an adult, see coconut oil below.

Coconut Oil – can be used for a homemade toothpaste which I prefer over swishing it for oil pulling alone, and I believe it’s more efficient and practical. The combination of both coconut oil and baking soda discourage the harmful bacteria from the biofilm of your teeth. The oil encourages healthy microorganisms while the soda helps neutralize the acidic environment which breeds destructive mouth bacteria. I also love that the oil based toothpaste is viscous which allows for seepage a few millimeters under the gum. You can have fun with coconut oil as a base for your homemade toothpaste by combining coconut oil to baking soda in a 3:1 ratio, then add any pure essential oil you like such as peppermint, which is a natural antibacterial. After you have brushed, I recommend swishing a minute before you spit. Two cautions: it is best to spit in the trash can when using coconut oil as it can clog drains, and never swallow coconut oil as it may contain toxins after swishing and it can also cause a rare lung condition. It is best to clean your brush off with a cloth before you rinse your toothbrush with water, then do a quick brush with the water on your brush.

Clay – bentonite clay is great as an astringent, but any pure clay which many people have for facial masks can be used to make a poultice. My husband has a problem bridge, and every now and then, he gets a gum abscess above it and the poultice helps him every time. However, it can only help a minor gum related problem, not a tooth infection abscess or a major periodontal abscess. Blend a tsp of clay and add ¼ tsp of ginger powder (stimulates the blood vessels), and add goldenseal if you have it as it’s a wonderful antibacterial. Heat water to almost a boil and add enough to the clay mixture to make a paste, then place in gauze or a tea bag or grab a coffee filter and cut a piece to place the paste in. The idea of a poultice is to draw out the irritants and it does this as the clay dries, so hold the poultice directly onto the abscess until the paste is dry. It should be better after about 3-4 times, if not, keep trying, but if it doesn’t go away, see your dentist!!!! DO NOT EVER directly pack clay into your gum, it can cause an infection.

Bentonite clay and clay with ginger poultice

Black or Green Tea Bags – the tannic acid in the tea helps to clot blood. Place the bag in hot water, then, when it’s cool enough, directly place it on the area that’s bleeding. It can help after a tooth extraction.

Flour – do not use superglue for anything in your mouth!!! But you can use flour to make a paste for a temporary glue if a dental crown or bridge has fallen out. Simply mix flour and water to make a paste, then fill the crown about half way. You may want to be sure you understand the position of the crown over the tooth before you fill it with paste.  Press the crown over your tooth and apply some pressure for a minute. Be careful chewing on that tooth until you see your dentist.

Cow Milk – for a knocked out tooth, good to know for parents. DO NOT WASH the root of the tooth with water, immediately drop the tooth in a cup of milk, which is needed to keep the root moist. As long as it is cow milk, whole or any % of fat is fine. Then take it to the dentist ASAP, along with your kiddo, of course.