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Gingivitis can be treated and prevented with self-care methods. Your best bet is to prevent it entirely, but it can be treated with home remedies.

Home remedies are a cheap and effective way to treat gingivitis. If you begin treatment at an early stage, home remedies are usually able to clear gingivitis.

It’s essential to treat the plaque before it becomes tartar. You may also wish to increase the frequency and duration of brushing and flossing.

Even though home remedies contain natural ingredients, you shouldn’t swallow them. Always buy high-quality products to use in your remedies. It’s also a good idea to keep them refrigerated, especially if you live in a warmer climate.

The home remedies explained below are generally safe to use. But seek medical advice before use if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any other medical condition.

If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, such as extreme pain or bleeding — or if your gingivitis isn’t improving with the natural remedies — see your doctor or dentist. If left untreated, gingivitis can cause more serious health problems.

Keep reading to learn how 10 different home remedies can help clear your symptoms, as well as how to prevent future gingivitis.

Before moving on to other home remedies, you should make sure you’re practicing good oral care.

If you aren’t taking proper care of your gums and teeth, home remedies won’t be able to clear up the gingivitis.

Avoid gingivitis

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. If you can, brush after each meal.
  • Opt for an electric toothbrush to maximize your cleaning potential.
  • Make sure your toothbrush has soft or extra-soft bristles.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use a natural mouthwash.
  • Visit your dentist at least once a year.
  • Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Limit sugar.
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Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial to avoiding gingivitis and other dental problems.

After assessing your dental hygiene, you can try using a traditional salt water rinse.

Salt water treatment for gingivitis

The results of a 2016 study showed that using a salt water rinse can be very beneficial in healing gums inflamed by gingivitis. Salt is a natural disinfectant that helps your body to heal itself.

Salt water may also:

  • soothe inflamed gums
  • help ease pain
  • reduce bacteria
  • remove particles of food
  • relieve bad breath

To use a salt water rinse:

  1. Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt to a glass of lukewarm water and mix well.
  2. Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds.
  3. Spit out the solution.
  4. Repeat two to three times per day.

Using a salt water rinse too often or for too long could have negative effects on tooth enamel. Long-term use may cause your teeth to erode because of the mixture’s acidic properties.

If the salt water rinse isn’t relieving your symptoms, it may be time to try a more advanced mouthwash.

Remember, you should never swallow mouthwash. Be sure to spit the mixture out after swishing it around your mouth.

Although there are over-the-counter and prescription mouth washes for gingivitis, you might want to try a homemade mouthwash first.

Lemongrass oil mouthwash

In one 2015 study, lemongrass oil was found to be more effective than traditional chlorhexidine mouthwash at reducing plaque and gingivitis levels.

To use a lemongrass mouthwash:

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

Food-grade lemongrass oil is generally safe to use, but it’s very potent. Always start with a highly diluted mixture so that it doesn’t cause further irritation.

Aloe vera mouthwash

Research from 2016 found that aloe vera was as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Both methods significantly reduced symptoms.

Unlike other mouthwash options, aloe vera juice doesn’t need to be diluted. Before use, make sure the juice is 100 percent pure.

To use an aloe vera mouthwash:

  1. Swish the juice in your mouth for 30 seconds.
  2. Spit out the solution.
  3. Repeat two to three times per day.

You should always buy aloe vera from a reputable source and follow any instructions on the label.

You shouldn’t use this mouthwash if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to aloe vera.

Tea tree oil mouthwash

According to a 2020 study, tea tree oil mouthwash is promising for the treatment of gingivitis.

To use a tea tree oil mouthwash:

  1. Add up to three drops of tea tree oil to a cup of warm water.
  2. Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds.
  3. Spit out the solution.
  4. Repeat two to three times per day.

You may also add a drop of tea tree oil to your toothpaste when brushing your teeth.

When trying tea tree oil for the first time, use a highly diluted amount. High concentrations can cause:

  • an allergic reaction
  • rash
  • mild burning

Tea tree oil can also cause interactions with:

  • certain drugs
  • dietary supplements
  • herbs

Sage mouthwash

Researchers in a 2015 study found that sage mouthwash significantly lowered the number of bacteria that cause dental plaque. Participants in the study were able to rinse with the solution for up to 60 seconds without experiencing any irritation.

To use a sage mouthwash:

  1. Boil 1 to 2 cups of water.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh sage or 1 teaspoon of dried sage to the water.
  3. Let it simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Strain and let the water cool.
  5. Use the solution to rinse two to three times per day.

Sage has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may also help heal swollen gums and treat the infection.

Guava leaf mouthwash

Guava leaves have long been an effective treatment used to manage oral hygiene. Several studies have found the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of guava leaf mouthwash to have a positive effect on controlling plaque.

Guava leaf mouthwash may also:

  • reduce gum inflammation
  • relieve pain
  • freshen breath

To use a guava leaf mouthwash:

  1. Crush five to six tender guava leaves with a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add the crushed leaves to 1 cup of boiling water.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Allow the solution to cool and add a small amount of salt.
  5. Swish the lukewarm mouthwash in your mouth for up to 30 seconds.
  6. Spit out the solution.
  7. Repeat two to three times per day.

Oil pulling is a technique that involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 20 to 30 minutes to reduce harmful bacteria, eliminate toxins, and improve overall oral health.

Oil pulling has become more popular in the West in recent years, though it has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine.

Coconut oil pulling

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Researchers in one 2015 study found that using coconut oil for oil pulling significantly reduces plaque and signs of gingivitis.

Coconut oil pulling may also:

  • whiten teeth
  • freshen breath
  • relieve headaches and tension
  • clear sinuses

To do a coconut oil pull:

  1. Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of fractionated coconut oil (which is liquid at room temperature) into your mouth.
  2. Swish the oil around your mouth for 20 to 30 minutes. Be careful not to let the oil touch the back of your throat.
  3. Spit the oil out after the time is up.
  4. Rinse your mouth with water.
  5. Spit the water out.
  6. Drink a full glass of water.
  7. Brush your teeth.

Oil pulling is safe to practice. Be careful not to swallow the liquid, as it contains toxins and bacteria pulled from the tissue in your mouth.

It’s okay to swish the oil around for a smaller amount of time until you’re able to tolerate 20 minutes of swishing. You may also find it helpful to swish for two shorter sessions per day.

Arimedadi oil pulling

Arimedadi oil has been shown to inhibit the growth of plaque and improve symptoms of gingivitis.

Arimedadi oil may also:

  • strengthen teeth and gums
  • reduce swelling
  • heal mouth sores
  • relieve pain

To do an Arimedadi oil pull:

  1. Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil into your mouth.
  2. Swish the oil around your mouth for 20 to 30 minutes. Be careful not to let the oil touch the back of your throat.
  3. Spit the oil out after the time is up.
  4. Rinse your mouth with water.
  5. Spit the water out.
  6. Drink a full glass of water.
  7. Brush your teeth.

You shouldn’t use Arimedadi oil if you have sinusitis.

If mouthwashes aren’t helping, you may find it beneficial to apply a topical cream or gel onto your gums.

Clove application

Though more specific research is needed, several studies point to the potential of cloves to prevent plaque and reduce inflammation. That’s because cloves have antiviral and antioxidant properties. They may also help to relieve pain.

To apply cloves topically:

  1. Mince about 1 teaspoon of cloves.
  2. Dip a damp cotton ball into the minced cloves, getting as much as you can onto the cotton ball.
  3. Gently rub the clove-covered cotton ball onto your gums.
  4. Let the cloves sit on your gums for about a minute.
  5. Swish water around your mouth to collect all of the cloves.
  6. Spit the clove water out.

You shouldn’t use cloves in large quantities or for long periods of time.

Turmeric gel application

The results of one 2015 study suggest that turmeric gel is able to effectively prevent plaque and gingivitis. This could be due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric is also antimicrobial and anti-fungal. It can help to heal bleeding and reddening of the gums.

You may use turmeric or curcuma gel as a treatment. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, so you may see it labeled as either.

You shouldn’t use this if you’re allergic to turmeric.

To apply turmeric gel:

  • Brush your teeth.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Apply the gel to your gums.
  • Let the gel sit for 10 minutes.
  • Swish water around your mouth to collect all of the gel.
  • Spit the water out.
  • Repeat two times a day.

The sooner you treat your gingivitis, the better your chance of making a quick and full recovery. If left untreated, gingivitis can cause serious damage to your teeth. It can also lead to other health problems.

See your doctor or dentist if you have:

  • severe tooth pain
  • extremely bad breath
  • gums that bleed a lot
  • extremely swollen or inflamed gums

Your dentist may clean your teeth, and you may be referred to a periodontist. In some cases, they may prescribe medicated mouthwash or antibiotics.

The dental hygienist can teach you to use dental tools and products to keep your gums healthy. Your dentist may also call you in for additional cleanings and provide further guidance on how to practice good oral hygiene.

Rarely, surgery may be necessary to help heal your gums.

You can expect to see improvements after a few days of treatment, but it may take a while for symptoms to go away completely. In most cases, gingivitis usually clears up within 10 to 14 days. If your gingivitis is more serious, it could take longer to treat.

Take charge of your dental health to prevent it from recurring. If you have medical conditions that make gingivitis more likely, stay in close contact with your dentist so that they can monitor any change in symptoms.

To ensure good dental hygiene, it’s recommended that you go to the dentist at least once a year. If you have any health issues that put you at risk for developing gingivitis, you may need to see your dentist more often.

During your daily routine, be sure to:

  • Brush for at least two minutes, twice a day.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Use a natural mouthwash once or twice a day.

Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can also help prevent gum disease and other oral conditions.