Monday, September 23, 2013

Natural Remedy of the Week: Gum Health

Did you know that one in three people over the age of 30 has some form of periodontal disease? It's easy to miss because it's a problem that develops silently and painlessly. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria in plaque infect the gums and bones that anchor the teeth. Bleeding gums, inflamed gums, loose teeth, change in bite and recession are all indicators of periodontal disease which accounts for seventy percent of tooth loss. 

The Link Between Gum Health and Heart Health

Several studies have shown that chronic dental infection is associated with a significant increase in the risk of stroke. Here's why: bacteria from dental plaque, including Streptococcus sanguis, can enter your bloodstream and cause blood platelets to clump together and clot abnormally. Normally the bacteria are cleared from your body by the immune system, but if your immune system is compromised, as is the case with any infection, the bacteria create a major risk factor. Gum infections elevate fibrinogen and the clotting factor, leading to chronic inflammation and the build-up of arterial plaque, which reduces circulation. The result is atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries, and this can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Make Your Gums Healthier

Both sage and sea salt have antiseptic properties that reduce inflammation and promote healing. They are also astringent, which helps tighten the gums. Just pour a cup of boiling water over one tablespoon of sage leaves; cover and steep for 15 minutes; strain; add two teaspoons of sea salt. Use twice daily after brushing your teeth. Refrigerate in between uses.

You can also add a drop of tea tree oil to your toothbrush on top of your toothpaste; brush as usual. Tea tree oil, derived from the leaves of the native Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree, contains antiseptic compounds, which help prevent gum disease. Make sure the product label says it is 100% pure tea tree oil.

Chewing burdock root stems is good to massage the gums and improve stomach activity. You can also massage bleeding gums with a piece of inner lemon rind.  Or try this plaque fighting, gum strengthening solution: 

My friend and co-author Brigitte Mars, a master herbalist suggests taking 1/8 ounce of coconut oil; add 8 drops oil of myrrh, 8 drops tea tree oil and 2 drops peppermint oil. Shake before using and massage a few drops into your gums to promote healthy teeth and gums.

Massage this formula from Brigitte into receding gums:

2 parts yerba mansa

1/2 part myrrh

2 parts echinacea

2 parts prickly ash bark

For bleeding gums, you can make a mouth rinse or use herbal tea of some of the herbs mentioned below to run through a Water Pik™ type device. This is a great way to clean out any missed places, stimulate circulation and get an herbal treatment at the same time!

You'll find more herbal remedies in my natural remedies mystery series:  DEATH DROPS and my latest SCENT to KILL. Here's the scoop:

 Willow McQuade, naturopathic doctor, along with her hunky ex-cop boyfriend Jackson Spade, attend a party for a psychic TV show that is filming on Long Island’s idyllic East End. However, Willow is much more interested in visiting the estate’s lavender farm, seeking inspiration for the new aromatherapy workshops she'll be holding at her store, Nature’s Way Market & CafĂ©.   

Before the party is over, Roger Bixby one of the producers is dead and the police suspect murder. Roger was working on the show, MJ’s Mind, with Carly Bixby, his ex-wife and the new girlfriend of Willow's ex from L.A., TV writer/producer Simon Lewis.   

After Willow leaves the party, she gets a frantic text from Simon asking for her help. Since Simon had a fight with Roger earlier in the evening, and because of his death is now the primary shareholder in Galaxy films, Willow's ex becomes the prime suspect. Simon begs her to crack the case and clear him of the murder. MJ McClellan, the psychic and star of the show also asks Willow for help. She hires Willow to provide natural remedies, including aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture and yoga to soothe the agitated crew of her show. 

To find the killer, Willow has to deal with ghosts in a haunted mansion, a truly dysfunctional family, death threats and “accidents,” while trying to untangle a homicide identical to one committed during prohibition. Thankfully, Jackson has been hired to provide security and is there to watch her back and help Willow solve this spooky mystery.

As a bonus, you’ll find dozens of natural aromatherapy cures throughout the book that can help you feel better in mind, body and spirit!

I'm the the author of SCENT TO KILL, (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster) the second in the NATURAL REMEDIES MYSTERY series, DEATH DROPS: A Natural Remedies Mystery, the non-fiction title THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO NATURAL REMEDIES (Alpha, 2009), co-author of BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION NOW! (Fairwinds Press, 2010), currently in its fourth printing, the BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION NOW!COOKBOOK (Fairwinds Press, 2012) and THE COUNTRY ALMANAC OF HOME REMEDIES (Fairwinds, 2011). My magazine articles featuring natural remedies have appeared in many national publications including Natural Health, Vegetarian Times, Better Homes & Gardens and Remedy. Visit

1 comment:

Linda O. Johnston said...

Once again a great, helpful post, Chrystle! I've been trying to make not only my own teeth and gums healthier but my dogs', too.