Gum disease treatment and cure, natural therapy with herbal supplements, food, diet and tooth health
August 11 2018 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in plaque -- the sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. These bacteria create toxins (poisons) which irritate the gums and result in a loosening of the attachment of gum tissues to teeth. Over time, these toxins destroy gum tissues, allowing the infection to progress to bone loss. Furthermore, plaque that is not removed can combine with other materials and harden into a rough, porous deposit called calculus (tartar). Calculus on the root surface, below the gums, makes removal of new plaque and bacteria more difficult.


Taking care of your gums plays an important role in protecting your teeth. Gum disease and tooth decay cause about 90 percent of tooth loss. Gum disease is largely preventable through regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings. A buildup of bacteria can cause gums to recede and become inflamed or infected. All particles such as food and drink that enter the mouth can potentially lead to inflammation and decay if they are not removed properly. Particles often are trapped between the teeth and gum, that's why toothbrushes sweep out the buildup. Dental work can be expensive and takes time away from work and other activities.


Are daily mouthwashes necessary?
I prefer eating a clove or two of garlic once or twice a week at night (so that most of the odor is gone by the next day) since garlic kills many of the bacteria in the oral cavity.


Would you be able to tell me how to make mouthwash with stevia. I have some early signs of gum disease and I would like to try stevia mouthwash to see if it helps.
   A. Beyond placing stevia powder or liquid in water, I don't know what more to do. This is not an area I have looked into.

Gum disease treatment, naturally

Stop smoking or reduce the numbers of cigarettes smoked.

Brush your teeth at least twice every day. Brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Get a new toothbrush every few months. Floss once or twice a day. Flossing removes plaque between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. Avoid too many sweets, and brush your teeth after eating sweets.


Use hydrogen peroxide gel in a custom-made mouth tray for 15 minutes a day or every other day.


Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz) 2014. Effect of oral administration involving a probiotic strain of Lactobacillus reuteri on pro-inflammatory cytokine response in patients with chronic periodontitis. Results obtained in this study indicate that application of oral treatment with tablets containing probiotic strain of L. reuteri induces in most patients with chronic periodontitis a significant reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokine response and improvement of clinical parameters

Try a grape fruit - eating grapefruit could help fight gum disease. Researchers found people with gum disease who ate two grapefruit a day for a fortnight showed significantly less bleeding from the gums. They believe this is due to an increase in blood levels of vitamin C, known to promote wound healing and cut damage by unstable free radical molecules. The research, by Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, is published in the British Dental Journal. The study of 58 people with chronic gum disease found that eating grapefruits had a positive effect on both smokers and non-smokers. At the start of the two-week study, virtually all those taking part had low levels of vitamin C in their blood plasma. On average smokers' vitamin C level was 29% lower than that for non-smokers. Eating two grapefruit a day raised vitamin C plasma levels for all those who consumed them. In smokers, the level almost doubled, but because they started from a lower baseline their average vitamin C level was still lower than that recorded in the non-smokers. It is unclear why smoking is associated with lower vitamin C levels. It is possible that it alters the way the body metabolizes the vitamin, but it is also possible that smokers tend to have a less healthy diet. Grapefruit also has many flavonoids which could have an influence on gum disease.


Antioxidant components in red wine and grape seeds have anti-inflammatory effects that may ward off periodontal troubles such as gum disease. Red wine's antioxidant punch from flavonoids could be a useful weapon in the fight against gum disease.

Topical application of the eicosapentaenoic acid-derived resolvin E1 (RvE1) helps prevent soft tissue inflammation and destruction, as well as bone loss associated with periodontal disease. Inflammation may be a good target in the treatment of gum disease. Resolvins are a new family of biologically active products of omega-3 fatty acids and natural regulators of the inflammatory process. Gum disease is similar to other chronic inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, where inflammation causes tissue damage. Currently, oral hygiene and regular dental care are used to control plaque and prevent gum disease. However, plaque control may not be enough to prevent gum disease in susceptible people with a high inflammatory response.


Does CoQ10 help with gum disease or gingivitis?
   It's difficult to say whether CoQ10 has an influence on gum disease. I am waiting for more studies to be published on this relationship but, as of 2018, I am not convinced that taking CoQ10 pills for this purpose makes a significant difference.

Cause of tooth and gum disease
Poor dental care which involves little brushing and flossing

Junk food consumption with lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates

Smoking - Smokers are more than 6 times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers but kicking the habit can prevent them from losing their teeth prematurely. Chronic gum disease in smokers significantly improves after they quit. Smokers are more prone to chronic gum disease than non-smokers because the habit has a detrimental effect on the body's immune system. Their bodies are less well equipped to fight the build up of bacteria in plaque that accumulates on the teeth.


Gen Dent. 2013 Jan-Feb. Paste, wrap, and shimmy: a regimen for the prevention of gum disease. The body of evidence showing a possible correlation between gum infection and systemic diseases is well documented and growing. At the same time, the prevalence of gum infection is increasing in the general populace. Gum infection and disease are routinely seen in patients who adhere to regular dental hygiene regimens and see their dentists on a regular basis. One of the reasons typical daily dental care does not eradicate gum disease (gingivitis) is that the usual home care regimens do not attack a major underlying cause of gingivitis: the layer of biofilm in the sulcus surrounding the tooth's root. This biofilm harbors and protects the bacteria that cause gum disease and root decay. Research has shown that there are no "magic bullets" in the form of rinses, pills, or special tools that effectively destroy the bacteria and its protective calyx. Therefore, daily dental regimens must be changed until the absence of gum infection and inflammation becomes the standard of care.


Periodontal disease

Bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed, recede and bleed. In more severe cases of periodontal disease the gums recede and the bone that holds the teeth in place gradually erodes, so the teeth either fall out or need to be extracted.


Cancer of head, neck or mouth
The health hazards associated with chronic periodontitis extend beyond the mouth. For years people have been warned that persistent periodontitis can cause heart disease. A new study suggests that gum disease may also be a risk factor for cancers of the head and neck. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 2009.


People whose teeth and gums are in poor condition may be more susceptible to an oral virus that can cause certain mouth and throat cancers. Researchers found that of more than 3,400 U.S. adults, those who rated their oral health as "poor" to "fair" were more likely to have an oral infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), which, in certain cases, can eventually lead to cancer. 2013, Cancer Prevention Research.


Gum disease and diabetes

Standard treatment for moderately inflamed gums around the teeth -- periodontitis -- can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels under control. Diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease than do non-diabetics, so control of diet, exercise and inflammation in periodontitis is essential.


Esophageal cancer
Gum disease bacteria are associated with a higher risk of esophageal cancer.


There is a higher risk for erectile dysfunction.


Pancreatic cancer

Gum disease might raise a person's risk of pancreatic cancer by causing general inflammation through the body. Men who have periodontal disease have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than men with healthy teeth and gums. Men who lose teeth within the past few years are especially likely to develop pancreatic cancer.


Prostate enlargement, prostatitis
Treating gum disease may help reduce symptoms of prostate inflammation, which can make urination difficult. Previous research has shown a link between gum disease and prostate inflammation -- called prostatitis.


Making regular visits to the dentist not only protects the teeth, it also may protect the carotid arteries -- the main blood vessels leading to the brain. Gum disease may contribute to clogged carotids, leading to an increased risk of stroke. Chronic inflammation arising from dental disease has been implicated in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries -- a key risk factor for stroke. Advanced carotid artery blockages contain calcium, and can be imaged when a dentist takes a panoramic x-ray of the teeth. Untreated dental disease may in some way accelerate the atherosclerotic process.
   Missing teeth, loss of bone around teeth and reduced periodontal health appear to be associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, the type caused by blood clots.


Gum Disease symptom

In the early stage of gingivitis, the gums can become red and swollen and bleed easily, often during tooth brushing. Bleeding, although not always a symptom of gingivitis, is a signal that your mouth is unhealthy and needs attention. The gums may be irritated, but the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. At this point, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth (recede) and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums may collect debris and can become infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body's enzymes fighting the infection actually start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed.

About 15 million people in the United States alone suffer from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. The risk of developing the illness increased with the number of cigarettes smoked daily.


Tooth health
Teeth bleaching products for home use may minimally reduce the surface hardness of tooth enamel and enamel's ability to "bounce back" from normal wear and tear. However, human enamel has been shown to heal itself and remineralize over time, meaning it has the ability to restore back the levels of surface calcium that has been lost due to bleaching. Journal of Dentistry, 2009.