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 Integrative Dentistry: Gum Disease 

Herbal Treatment

Herb Directions for Use Comments

Aloe Vera Place gel on a cotton-tipped swab. Apply to gums at bedtime. Helps soothe and heal sore, inflamed gums.

Goldenseal Prepare as toothpaste. Brush 3 times a day.


  • Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol; they may irritate and dry gum tissues.
  • If a gum infection exists, use a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution (available at any pharmacy) as a rinse; it will help destroy bacteria and clean the gum tissues. However, long-term use of hydrogen peroxide is not recommended as it may eventually destroy delicate gum tissue, leaving a whitish patch behind.
  • Toothpaste with aloe vera and baking soda (Grace, for example ) is more soothing to the gum tissues than pastes with harsh chemicals.
  • Consider using an electric toothbrush system (see margin note), which many dentists feel is very effective in cleaning teeth and stimulating gums.
  • Avoid spicy foods, foods that are high in sugar, and meats. Because healing is promoted by proper nutrition, eat a balanced diet that includes raw and steamed vegetables and fruits. Drink adequate amounts of water-at least eight 8-ounce glasses each day-because bacteria tend to thrive in a dry environment. Because of their high sugar content, avoid soft drinks and sodas.
  • Medications such as Dilantin, which is used for control of epilepsy, and Inderol, used for hypertension and heart disease, may cause inflammation and swelling of the gums. If proper hygiene does not control the swelling, your physician may need to reduce the dosage or prescribe a substitute.


Electric toothbrushes are designed so that the bristles move within the head of the brush, while the head and handle remain stationary. This produces quick, short vibrating strokes that do a superior job in cleaning teeth and stimulating gums.

There are many electric toothbrush systems on the market. However, they are not all the same. The Interplak system has stiff bristles that vibrate rapidly. Oral B and Braun system toothbrushes have round heads and soft bristles. Some systems brush the tongue side and the cheek side of the teeth at the same time.

The Rododent system, which is not available in stores, is a superior electric toothbrush. The head is small and round, and shaped like the polishing tool the dentist or hygienist uses after scaling the teeth. The bristles are soft, causing minimal abrasion. The Rododent system also comes with a pointed brush to clean between teeth, bridges, braces, and other hard-to-reach areas. The instructions recommend that you brush each tooth for just one second with this system.

In general, choose an electric toothbrush that has a full tuft of soft bristles that rotates gently. It's also important to choose a brush with a small head that cleans one tooth surface at a time.

(Excerpted from The Complete Book of Dental Remedies)
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 About The Author
Flora Stay DDSFlora Stay, DDS holds a doctor of dental surgery degree from University of California, San Francisco. She is the founder of ...more
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