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5 easy ways to keep your gums healthy

Gum health is important for overall health, especially for women. Poor gum health is connected with inflammation and hormonal imbalances during perimenopause and menopause. Gum disease may even increase dementia risk in women by as much as 39 percent!

Hormonal health is linked to gum health

How do you know if your gums need some extra TLC too? Ask yourself these questions:
– Do your gums hurt or bleed when you floss or brush your teeth?
– Are your gums receding?
– Do your gums appear red and puffy?
– Do you have a lot of plaque and tartar buildup?
– Have you recently had a tooth infection or lost a tooth?

If you answered yes to any of the above, it’s time to prioritize gum health. Here are some natural tips you can try today to give your gums some love:

Oil pulling. Plaque and tartar can lead to the development of gingivitis, a condition that triggers inflammation in the gums. When left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and other serious health complications. To head off trouble, focus on oral hygiene habits that can reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

One habit that’s easy to try is oil pulling, a practice from Ayurvedic medicine in which you swish a tablespoon of oil — usually coconut or sesame oil — in your mouth for about 15 minutes. Research has shown that oil pulling may help to reduce plaque buildup and reduce bad bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect the gums again gingivitis.

Make your own gum-friendly mouthwash. The flowering plant Calendula contains antibacterial/antimicrobial properties that help defend against gum problems — and can speed healing if you already have them. According to a Journal of Clinical Periodontology study, people with gum problems who used a calendula-based mouthwash lessened gum bleeding and inflammation by 63 percent within two weeks! To make an easy DIY mouth rinse, mix 1⁄2 tsp of calendula extract with 2 tsp of water in a small cup. Swish your gums after brushing.

Give your gums a massage. Got red and swollen gums? Massage them with a small amount (about 1⁄4 tsp) of olive oil twice daily to reduce painful inflammation and even bleeding by as much as 68 percent within three weeks, according to Indian researchers. Rubbing the antimicrobial oil into gums boosts circulation to stimulate the body’s immune system. Just make sure to wash your hands before giving this technique a try!

Try deep cleaning with a water flosser. Flossing between teeth is important for removing plaque and stuck food particles. For a deep cleaning around the gumline, try a water flosser, a relatively inexpensive dental tool (find it in the same aisle as the toothbrushes) that delivers a pressured stream of water to rinse away bacteria and particles from crevices that traditional floss just can’t reach.

Swish with salt. Rinsing your mouth with a simple salt and warm water mixture helps to soothe gum inflammation and protect the soft tissues in your mouth and reduce harmful bacteria. For an easy rinse, combine one teaspoon of sea salt with a cup of warm water. Rinse your mouth with the mixture for less than a minute, then spit it out. If your gums are inflamed, repeat the rinse two or three times a day until you find relief.

Read more: Hormonal imbalance is tied to gum disease – and vice versa.

Last Updated: November 9, 2022
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