I've just recovered from a really bad gum infection. Yes, even healthy people can have these things happen to them. Even people who make really good lifestyle choices. I hit the Internet waves for information, and I found the information available on the Internet dismal. I had to really dig to find any helpful tips.
For this reason, I've put together this comprehensive overview of what causes gum infections, how to heal them, and prevent them, thoroughly. I'm going to share my first-hand experience, my second-hand experience, and my research findings in this article. May your teeth and gums experience greater levels of well-being in the near future!
What is periodontal disease?
"Gingivitis" gets all the fame, but it is one of the mildest forms of periodontal disease. In plain English, periodontal disease is severe infection of the gums in your mouth.
Chronic periodontitis includes inflammation in the surrounding areas. This can include your throat glands, teeth and even ears.
In most cases of gum disease, your gums can be healed within a week, usually within just a few days. If you have another chronic health problem which is actually causing the gum infection directly, then that will need to be addressed first.
While I've never had bad periodontitis in the general sense, I have gotten pericoronitis on three occasions.
Pericoronitis can develop when your wisdom teeth only partially break through the gum. This allows bacteria to flourish around your tooth.
How I Got Pericoronitis
Well, I have a wisdom tooth that is not fully emerged. This is sometimes called having an "impacted wisdom tooth." It's been 75% emerged since I was about twenty, but has retained a very annoying flap of skin over one corner of the tooth. This "gum flap" collects food.
The first time it got infected (which was when I was twenty), I discovered that I could use a dental tip gum stimulator in order to clean out the gum flap. Combining regular cleaning with occasional application of clove essential oil was enough to eliminate the infection and prevent another one from occurring for years.
My Natural Dental Care
I also switched to using all natural dental care. I talk about that in depth in this radio show episode. In short, I stopped using conventional tooth pastes entirely. Even Tom's of Maine is a sell-out company that over-charges you for what is essentially still a chemical product.
Instead of tooth paste, I originally opted for baking soda. I had it on-hand anyway, and it's cheap and effective. The down side is that it is so good at cleaning your teeth that it actually strips your enamel with regular use. So after a year I started only using baking soda one to four times per month to get my teeth extra clean. The rest of the time, I use essential oils.
I started with using pure peppermint essential oil. I would put one drop on my toothbrush and brush as usual. I found that this sometimes didn't seem as effective or as all-inclusive of a solution as I'd like. So after six months of that I created my own blend of oils using fractionated coconut oil as a base.
Later I discovered that water worked better for the health of my mouth. However water will allow the essential oils to break down faster, so you want to be sure you use it up within three months.
The recipe goes like this:
This simple recipe was all I used for a couple years, and my oral hygiene definitely improved. But then I made a new discovery...
Fermented Beverages For Oral Hygiene
Drinking Inner Eco Coconut Kefir or Kombucha seemed to eliminate my need to brush my teeth. These somewhat acidic beverages can be used in place of mouthwash. They're probiotic, fizzy, and leave your teeth feeling incredibly clean.
I've gone weeks on just Coconut Kefir and Kombucha with no brushing at all without developing any plaque, bad breath, infections or any negative symptoms at all!
However, this is while eating a 100% raw diet that is primarily organic. We're talking lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and very little of anything else. I also drink raw (not pasteurized) milk when available, and take supplements for vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin K2 and iodine.
Everything I put on or in my body I've tested. I've tried going without it and then going back on it and then carefully tracking how my body reacts. For example, I know I have negative reactions to walnuts because I repeatedly experimented with having walnuts and then going weeks and weeks without any trace of walnuts and observed the difference. I've done this with raw milk, with other specific nuts, with specific seeds such as sunflower seeds and chia seeds, with specific dried fruits such as raisins and dates, and also with cooked foods.
Since 2012 I've tracked everything I ate, and even everything I did. This may sound time consuming, but it isn't. I just type it into a spreadsheet at my rapid typing speed. It only takes me about twenty seconds to type in a meal I just ate and what I've been up to for the last couple hours. Multiply twenty seconds by fifteen and you have how long it takes me to maintain this spreadsheet. (That's five minutes per day.)
Point being, I am very deliberate about what goes on my body and in my body. So the supplements, foods, techniques and procedures I'm sharing with you come from years of trial and error (as well as research, besides).
Again, here are my two favorite beverages for oral hygiene and how to use them:
- Inner Eco Coconut Kefir
- High Country Kombucha
- GT's Synergy Green Kombucha
To use: Fill your mouth half full of the chosen beverage and then proceed to swish forcefully through your teeth for twenty to fifty seconds. Then, unlike mouthwash, swallow.
Do this at least twice per day. Because this is not taxing on your gums (like flossing, which actually causes small amounts of damage), you can do this as often as you like all day.
After drinking these beverages, swish with water. Especially if you consume a very acidic diet like I do. (This is different from an "acid forming" diet which relates to how the pH of digested food impacts your body.) I eat a lot of lemons, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, tart apples, strawberries and blueberries. These are all very acidic in your mouth, which will weaken your tooth enamel temporarily. This means that the tooth enamel is softened by the acids. The enamel doesn't simply wash away because you ate several oranges.
While the tooth enamel is softened you don't want to brush. That actually will wash the enamel away! Instead, swish with plain water. You can even swish with baking soda diluted in water. Baking soda is very alkaline, so it will neutralize the acids in your mouth. However, be sure to spit it out. Don't swallow the baking soda. Swallowing baking soda makes your stomach acid much weaker which is really bad for your digestion and creates an environment that is more friendly for bacteria within your stomach. This is particularly problematic if you have H. pylori and/or stomach ulcers.
The Inner Eco Coconut Kefir costs $15 to $18 for just one bottle. The company claims that is a month's supply if you do one mouthful a day. Or it is two weeks if you use it twice per day. It's a little steep, but no more so than any other probiotic routine.
I originally discovered this product when I lived in California and the company was doing samples at Whole Foods Market. The woman doing the demo mentioned that it cleaned teeth. I was astonished when my teeth really were completely cleared of the 'fuzzy stuff' in just a ten second swish!
If you're curious about using Inner Eco, but wondering if it is worth the price to you, I recommend looking at your local health-food stores and trying a bottle to get a feel for it. Whole Foods Markets and Wegmans carry both Inner Eco and Kombucha, as well as many co-ops and organic-oriented stores. Many people experience a decrease in digestive upset from using this product as it helps balance flora. Flora, after all, are critical in the digestion process.
GT's Synergy Green Kombucha costs $2.50 to $4.50 per bottle (or as much as $9 if you live on a Hawai'ian island). So it's much more cost effective as a mouth-cleaner. It's also nutritious, containing three different sea vegetables packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and protein. Update: I've switched away from drinking GT's brand of kombucha because I realized it was giving me cravings for sweet foods and correlating with occasional joint pains. I'm thinking they may not ferment all of the sugar out of their product. I recommend High Country brand as my favorite. Also, I highly do not recommend Kevita brand which has recently been purchased by a soda company.
When I buy high-priced specialty products, I like to increase the diversity of my nutritional intake. All foods contain trace minerals and antioxidants that are unusual in other foods. Like watermelons and tomatoes are high in lycopene. Goji berries are high in carotenoids. Turmeric is rich in curcumin.
Every whole food has its own special thing going for it. So when I buy this particular flavor of kombucha, I'm consuming three sea-vegetables I don't normally consume otherwise. That makes a good deal for me on multiple levels. I'm getting the mouth-cleaning benefit, the probiotic benefit, and I'm getting the trace minerals and antioxidants I normally don't get otherwise.
You can learn more about the awesome properties of foods in this article: Six Critical Things You Don't Yet Know About Plants & Food.
Self-Surgery for Pericoronitis
I've seriously considered self-surgery for my pericoronitis. I mean, it's just a gum flap. Why not cut the flap off? I already know how to keep infection at bay after making the cut. So why not?
I guess because I have a lot of resistance to the idea of mutilating myself. Simple, eh?
Upon research, I found that the dental approach is to remove the whole tooth, even if it is the gum flap causing all of the issues. What a painful rip-off! Or should I say "what a painful rip-out"! Ouch!
I believe in healing myself. I've made it through stomach ulcers, chronic candida, locking jaw, mono, etc, on my own. Back when I had doctors and dentists in my life, I had a lot more problems and more questions than answers. Taking responsibility is what provided me with relief, energy, confidence and the body I enjoy living in. Back when my health was in the hands of other people (such as doctors), I didn't enjoy being in my body at all!
Many people strongly feel that certain aliments require a health professional to heal. Personally, I'd trust my husband with my health before I'd go to the hospital, even for a broken bone. That is a pretty extreme viewpoint relative to the usual American viewpoint. I don't expect most people to agree with me on this point. So, if you can afford it, your next best bet is to find a dentist and/or doctor who is really on board with natural treatments.
You can even quiz them. Do they use fluoride in their practice? What about amalgam fillings? What is their stance on candida? What dietary recommendations do they have for maintaining healthy teeth and bones? What is their feeling on a raw food diet? In what circumstances do they feel antibiotics should be used?
Based on those questions alone, I would be able to determine whether or not I was comfortable with seeing a given health professional.
I have yet to find an online report of successful self-surgery, but I know people do these things. My own husband did a similar procedure on himself before I met him. If you have a self-healing story you'd like to share with me, please write to me at raederle at gmx dot com.
How I Healed My Pericoronitis Naturally
So, let me start out by saying this: Even if you have another form of gum disease, or if you have another disease causing your periodontitis, you can use the procedures I'm going to outline to improve your oral health.
If the following protocol does not eliminate symptoms entirely, talk to a health coach, natural-path doctor, and/or nutritionist about your overall health. You can even talk to me. Write me at raederle at gmx dot com. My specialty is in digestive disorders, so if you're also carrying excess belly fat, experiencing stomach aches, acid reflux, irritable bowels or bloating, I will be able to provide you with the tools you need to overcome these challenges.
What To Eat For Periodontitis
For starters, I don't allow any junk in my diet: No processed foods, no coffee, no soda, no fried foods, no fast food, no pasta (unless made from zucchini or seaweed), no gluten, no bread (unless sprouted, gluten-free and made in a dehydrator at low temperature), no fluoride, no chlorine, no tap water, etc.
You can't expect to eat a diet that literally poisons every cell in your body and to somehow magically have healthy teeth. Teeth, like bones, require healthy kidneys. Why? Because kidneys make your bone marrow. Teeth, like bones, require a lot of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Calcium requires vitamin D and vitamin K2 in order to be utilized.
For a more complete scoop on getting enough calcium, read The Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio and its role in Osteoporosis & Arthritis.
Healthy teeth are created predominately from the inside. I once read about a tribe in Africa whose teeth were studied. They performed no teeth cleaning whatsoever. Their teeth were actually coated in plaque. Yet, beneath the plaque the teeth remained hard, white and healthy. Their immune systems were so strong that a layer of bacteria coating each and every tooth made no dent in their healthy teeth!
According to this article by Dr. Mercola, plaque doesn't even cause decay in the first place. It just happens to also be present when decay occurs because the bacteria that cause decay are also involved in the creation of plaque.
The reason why we must keep our teeth free of plaque so religiously in today's society is because most of us don't eat well enough or exercise enough to maintain healthy teeth.
Photo was taken of me on Kaua'i island in the summer of 2013. I was eating a rambutan. For more about my travels, click here.
Not to mention we have to deal with breathing in loads of chemicals today as well as cope with tremendous emotional factors created from living lives so far out of alignment with our own true desires. These things said, it is easier to control the food you put in your mouth than it is to control the air you breathe.
Specifically, here are some of the most helpful and vital foods for maintaining healthy teeth. Not all of these are required. You absolutely can have healthful teeth on a completely vegan diet. However, I've found including raw milk to be beneficial.
But the milk must be raw to be beneficial. Studies have absolutely shown that store-bought milk is bad for teeth (and other bones). And it's no wonder! Heat-treatment takes out the probiotics and enzymes which allow your body to utilize the nutrition in the milk. Heat-treatment even damages the proteins in the milk. It turns the milk into a very unhealthy substance.
Beyond that, look at what they are feeding cows these days: soy, wheat and corn. Two of those are GMO, and none of those three things are green. Vitamin K1 is what animals convert into vitamin K2. And K2 is what your body uses to move calcium around. Not having K2 means calcium in your arteries instead of in your bones! But cows won't be making any K2 if they don't get any K1. And where does the K1 come from? Green plants! Cows get it from grass!
So if the dairy is not raw and organic, for the love of your teeth, don't consume it! The list is organized and ranked; putting foods best for bone health at the top. All of these foods are beneficial, but the top half are especially awesome.
- Wild foods (such as dandelions, wild strawberries, burdock, and comfrey)
- Kombucha and Inner Eco (as discussed above)
- Leafy greens
- Natto, a specific kind of fermented soy which is rich in vitamin K2
- Raw milk, particularly the cream or butter, from goats, cows or other animals that eat grass and spend time out in the sun on a regular basis. (Vegans and people without access to raw milk: emphasize wild foods and fresh vegetable juices, and possibly consider a vitamin K2 supplement.)
- Berries (cranberries, raspberries, etc) and other foods rich in anthocyanins (red cabbage, eggplant peel, black rice, etc)
- Rejuvelac (the fluid from fermenting grains)
- Yogurt and kefirs made from raw milk
- High-fiber fruits such as oranges and bell peppers
- Onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, echinacea and ginseng
- Green tea
In one case study I read, a boy had terribly crooked teeth growing in. His naturalist dentist prescribed raw carrots (not braces!) and his teeth straightened out. This shows the importance of chewing. This is a large part of why celery and carrots are on the above list. However, if you currently have inflamed gums, do not try chewing raw carrots. The firmness of the carrot will further irritate your gums. Celery, however, should be manageable in most cases. Just chew slowly. The juices from the celery will actually be healing and soothing, and the fiber will help clean out your mouth.
Celery not only provides good chewing material, it also provides an excellent balance of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants for building healthy teeth. You can chew a rib in the morning and a rib at night as part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
Wild foods are at the top of the list with raw milk. They're not at the top by happenstance. Wild foods are two to six times as nutrient-dense as their grocery-store equivalents, and also many times more rich in antioxidants. Grocery store produce is kinda wimpy. That's why weeds will take over domesticated plants: because domesticated plants don't have as strong a root system. Your typical farm plants are no match for wild edibles.
Conventional growing methods baby the plants. Yet wild plants need no babying. They stand up to insects, diseases, animals, poor soil, drought and even sunlight shortages. Wild plants are much, much more powerful. When you eat wild foods, you start moving your body closer to its own more wild, more powerful state of being.
The foods outlined above will not only prevent most infections and keep your teeth healthy, it will also enable you to achieve your ideal weight, whether you're underweight or overweight.
Why? Most of being overweight is consumption of toxins which need to be stored in fat due to lack of the required minerals and vitamins to safely eliminate these toxins through your bladder, colon or skin. Once you have the needed vitamins and minerals and you stop consuming the toxins, your body starts releasing the fat and the toxins.
The reason why this diet helps with being underweight is because being underweight is often caused by bacteria. The "bad bacteria" eat up your calories instead of you, causing you to be malnourished despite eating plenty of food. When the bacteria come into alignment (parasites are removed and probiotics are introduced), then you can build muscle and have a healthy thin layer of fat. (A healthy, thin layer of fat is the difference between looking slender/fit/thin and looking gaunt.)
The reason I mention this is because being fat is known to be the second biggest cause of gum problems. It's second only to smoking.
Kiwis are on this list because of their high antioxidant activity. They're very nutrient dense and rich in vitamin C. This is important to the health of your gums. However, kiwis result in canker sores (also known as "aphthous ulcers") for many people. If you're one of those people, you can mitigate this effect by consuming raw milk immediately after the kiwi, or by smearing just a little flax or hemp oil on your kiwi.
Why do kiwis cause canker sores?
Kiwis actually contain protein-breakdown enzymes. These enzymes actually break down the protein in your mouth, resulting in sores for anyone who is not able to rebuild cells in their mouth very rapidly. You can learn more about canker sores, what causes them and how to heal them in my article Healing & Preventing Cankersores.
Fatty foods (nuts, avocados, raw milk, oils, olives and coconut) help lift these enzymes off your tongue so that they do not continue to break down proteins in your mouth after you've finished eating the kiwi. Pineapples have this same property. Because of this, kiwis and pineapple can be eaten with protein-rich meals to aid digestion.
Smoking Pot Causes Receding Gums
Regardless of other chronic health conditions and poor diet, the methods I'm going to outline in this article will still help. But you'll have to keep fighting infections (pretty much indefinitely) if you don't address your overall diet and lifestyle choices.
Lifestyle choices include smoking pot. I know a half dozen people personally who never smoked any other substance besides pot and had receding gums in their early thirties as a result. In fact, I smoked pot for a couple years as a teenager, and my gums began to recede just a little around a few of my teeth in those two years. Ten years later, despite my excellent diet, those gums have yet to go back to how they were.
And this was not my imagination. This was back in the day of seeing dentists and doctors (before I gave up on them). A dentist actually told me that my gums had receded in just the places I had noticed. I asked him what I could do about it. He shrugged and said, "Nothing." It's no wonder I gave up on dentists!
Cure Cavities With Lifestyle & Dietary Choices
I've read cases where people have healed cavities and gums fully by going on a wild-greens juice feast. I've made juices from wild foods occasionally, but I've yet to do it consistently, so I have yet to prove to myself that I can do it too. That said, there are people who have. The Boutenko family is one example. (Sergei talks about healing his cavities in various videos and in his book.) Here is another example.
I've taken photos of my cavities. In the future I hope you be able to show you after photos of healthy, whole teeth. Then I'll be able to tell you exactly what did the trick for me for cavities, just like I'm now telling you what healed my gum infections.
Topical Applications & Techniques For Healing Periodontitis Naturally
The main cause of gums that bleed, swell and/or hurt is infection. It may actually be the only cause, aside from getting punched in the jaw. So here are the most effective treatments for infections in the mouth, organized from most powerful to least powerful. Note that some of the more powerful treatments will not kill all bacteria necessarily. There are things that clove essential oil kills which oregano does not, and bacteria which oregano essential oil kills which clove does not.
The following treatments also help with infections of the sinuses, ears and throat. You can use these practices to help with colds, flus, fevers, infections and detoxification in general.
- Oregano essential oil.
- Clove essential oil.
- Garlic cloves.
- Salt water.
- Fresh aloe.
- Fresh sage.
- Neem oil.
- Herbal tea.
- Apple cider vinegar followed by baking soda.
Oregano essential oil: Always dilute it! This stuff is very powerful. Put three drops into jojoba oil or your favorite carrier oil and massage into your throat, around your ears and onto your jaw. This is particularly helpful if your glands are swollen, if you have an ear infection, if you have a sore throat, or if you have severe periodontitis. For use in the mouth, dilute in water and swish and gargle. You can also use it with a Water Pick.
Clove essential oil: Use like oregano essential oil. Less dilution is needed. I've used clove oil straight when just applying a single drop to an affected area. You can also chew on whole cloves and add powdered cloves to your food for additional clove intake.
Garlic cloves: Eat these raw or make them into tea and swish. Breathe through your mouth when chewing garlic to help pull garlic vapors into your throat. When using the tea method, be sure to also gargle with it.
Salt water. Put a tablespoon of sea salt in a mug and add hot water. Let it cool enough to be comfortably warm in your mouth. Swish and gargle several times throughout the day while experiencing an infection of any kind. Also suitable for a regular mouthwash for daily use.
A friend of mine testifies to the effectiveness of this: "I actually had a hole appear in my gums next to one of my lower front teeth, which was pretty scary. I think it was a wound from stabbing my gums with a metal fork.
"It didn't bother me too much after it happened, but it eventually became very painful and swollen for a couple of days before I decided to try a warm sea salt water swish, and that worked like a charm. It relieved the pain immediately and kick started the healing process to the point where the next morning I could see vast improvement. It took a couple more swishes and another day to fully heal, but it definitely worked wonders."
Fresh aloe: If you have an aloe plant, you probably already know how great it is for burns. You can also use the inner gel of the aloe spine for sores and infections inside your mouth. You can even add it to smoothies to help deal with any acute constipation. Only use a fresh plant however. The drug-store gel is not the same stuff. For one thing, the natural gel is clear, not green!
Fresh sage: If you have a sage plant in your garden, go outside and pick some sage leaves. Come back and read the rest of this article while you chew on them. After chewing sage leaves, put the chewed pulp directly on all of the areas of your mouth experiencing symptoms. Sage effectively fights off many infections and provides many antioxidants and nutrients that will assist with healing.
Neem oil: While much less pleasant than clove essential oil or sage leaves, neem is another anti-bacterial item you can use to fight gum infection. Remember, the more variety in your treatment, the more effective and quick your cure will be!
Herbal tea: Use a mix of chamomile, ginger and cinnamon. Ginger and cinnamon will fight bacteria and chamomile will help sooth away the irritation and pain.
Apple cider vinegar followed by baking soda: Swish with apple cider vinegar, then spit. Then swish with a mixture of water and baking soda. Then spit.
Stopping Gum Infections With Water IrrigationThe third time I got an infection around my wisdom tooth (at the age of twenty-six, five years after the first time it happened), I bought the Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser. I was traveling at the time. I had forgotten my rubber-tip cleaning tool. I was also eating a lot of dried fruit for convenience. And what do you know, I got an infection around the gum flap.
I used most of the techniques listed on this page to combat the infection. Clove oil was not enough on its own. It was the combination of many bacteria-fighting techniques and many tools that allowed it to heal.
So, in addition to using the above foods and substances to help with infection, you can use these tools and practices (below) to further cleanse and heal your gums and surrounding areas.
- Water Pick. A waterpik is a tool that pushes water between your teeth with considerable pressure. This cleans between your teeth as well as flossing without damaging your gums the way flossing does.
- Neti Pot. Using a neti pot to flush your nostrils and sinuses thoroughly will dramatically cut back on the overall bacteria living in your face. This helps clear up acne, swollen glands, ear infections, sore throats and yes, periodontitis.
- Face steaming. Fill an oven-safe bowl with boiling water. Cover the bowl and your head with a large towel so that the steam is rising up into your face. Breathe the hot steam carefully into your mouth and nose and out of your mouth and nose. This cleanses your skin, lungs and sinuses. It stimulates mucus to loosen up. By improving circulation and bringing blood to the surface, your immune system is allowed to do its job. This practice is great to do just prior to using a neti pot.
- Oil pulling. Oil pulling is the practice of putting oil in your mouth and swishing it between your teeth. It sucks up a bunch of junk from your mouth. Then you spit it out and rinse with warm salt water to pick up any remaining oil and bacteria. Be sure to not skip the salt water. When I did oil pulling without salt water rinsing, my gums swelled so much I couldn't touch my teeth together!
- Floss occasionally. If you use a water pick you won't need to floss very often. But doing it occasionally will still help ensure there is nothing stuck in there. Floss as gently as you can. Making your gums bleed regularly is harmful, which is why I recommend a water pick instead of flossing. I've found that excessive flossing actually makes matters worse. Be sure to use an essential oil mouth-rinse after flossing.
- Brush with tooth soap, baking soda, sea salt or an essential oil. But not with tooth paste! You can also use a charcoal-activated tooth brush (it'll have black bristles) for healthier enamel.
- Use bamboo or wooden utensils. These don't clang against your teeth when eating, and are healthier for your mouth in general.
Specifically What I Did To Cure My Pericoronitis
Firstly, I applied clove essential oil. Normally this stops any pain in my mouth in its tracks. So when I woke the next day and it wasn't better yet, I took it seriously.
I made a big batch of sea salt water and began to rinse with that. I swished with the warm salt water several times throughout the morning. That helped, but it seriously concerned me that it wasn't better yet. Still, I'm used to healing fast and hardly ever getting infections of any kinds any more because of my raw diet and probiotic intake.
So when the third day came and it was still sore I was shocked. In fact, the glands in my throat had swollen too. This is when I got really serious and began scouring the Internet for further tips and information. I was rather disappointed by how hard it was to find any useful information I didn't already know.
I remembered I had oregano oil with me; I diluted three drops in a palm full of jojoba oil. I rubbed this mixture all over my sore throat glands, ears and jaw line (externally). Within a couple hours my glands were already on the mend. The pain and swelling was already reduced by half. I continued to swish with warm salt water throughout the day.
I made myself raw milkshakes from raw goat milk, raspberries and a blend of green powders including spirulina, moringa, and mangosteen powder. I made myself a huge salad with avocado, nori, flax oil, apple cider vinegar and a lot of sauerkraut made from organic purple cabbage. The chewing was hard, but the salad also reduced the swelling and pain in my mouth. It also reduced the panicked hunger that I often get when I'm in pain.
I continually kept going back to the Internet trying out different search phrases looking for something more helpful. Then, when browsing a forum I was reminded of using water irrigation to clean gums more thoroughly.
At first I was dismayed because it would take several days to get a water irrigation device in the mail, but then Lytenian (my husband) reminded me that we live in a modern world where one can buy these sorts of things just about anywhere. I'm not used to the world of convenience. I do many things in a slower, more natural way. For once, I was glad to be able to hop in a car and go to a corporate building and buy a mass-produced product. For once, these conveniences were actually going to help me instead of hurt me!
We went to the nearest CVS. They were sold out of Waterpik Ultras, which was what we decided we wanted to purchase. We went over to a nearby Rite Aid and they had it in stock. After we got home I immediately tried it out. First I tried it with water. Just like many people said in amazon reviews, I made a mess my first time. Water splashed off my tongue and onto the mirror. Water drizzled out of my mouth and down my arm and off of my elbow. It took me about ten minutes to get the hang of it.
The mess didn't bother me. The pain did. Even on the lowest setting it was really painful to put water directly into the gum flap. I took deep breaths and focused all of my attention onto the pain. I directed my unconscious silently: if I'm doing the right thing for my gums, let the pain stop. And instantly, just like that, the pain was reduced by more than half. After emptying the water basin of the device once, I filled it up again and added an herbal blend including aloe vera, echinacea, myrrh, peppermint, goldenseal, clove essential oil and tea tree essential oil. I ran the entire basin of water again.
I repeated the oregano essential oil and jojoba oil procedure on my glands twice more over the next twelve hours, and I repeated the Waterpik procedure twice more as well. By that time I was already nearly pain free and the swelling was almost gone. I could chew normally again already. What a relief!
While I've found clove essential oil to be highly effective for oral pains, this experience proved to me the importance of varying up your techniques. It wouldn't be healthy to eat just one food (even if that food were kale). It also isn't healthy to put the exact same thing on your teeth every day.
Humans are naturally designed to like a variety of things. We're not cows who just graze the same pastures every day. We're more like goats or dogs, who seek out new and interesting things to put in our mouths. (Although, even cows are meant to travel miles and miles and eat a variety of weeds along with the grass.)
How much does a natural, dentist-free, oral hygiene routine cost?
It will cost you between $5 and $30 per month, depending on how fancy you want to get.
I spent $60 on my new Waterpik, but I considered it a good deal. My husband and I can both use it, and it comes with a three-year warranty. I expect it to last for many years to come.
Generally speaking, I spend $8 to $20 on new toothbrushes each year. My husband and I each have a charcoal-activated toothbrush, and I also have a bamboo-handled toothbrush. Lytenian likes to buy toothbrushes made from recycled plastic.
I currently use the same set of dental picks and mirrors I bought ten years ago for $12, and they are in great condition.
About once every six months I will run out of an essential oil I like to use for oral purposes, and I only spend $6 to $12 to replace it.
The two of us together go through one spool of floss in a year. We choose floss made from organic cotton.
All of that comes to about $60 per year, which is only $5 per month. This year, with the waterpik purchase, it'll be more like $120, which is still only $10 per month.
Part of what makes our choices so affordable is shopping online. Throughout this post there are links to buy on amazon. We buy about 25% of our groceries from amazon, about 90% of our house-hold items (toilet paper, appliances, etc), all of our supplements (such as B12), as well as for buying gifts for other people.
Who said that living organic and natural had to be expensive, anyway? I live on $5,000 to $8,000 each year, and that includes bills, car insurance, organic food, organic fabric, dental care, supplements, books and more. The idea that it takes $20,000 just to live at the poverty level is sad. This concept is only true from a perspective that leaves out hundreds of incredible alternative lifestyles that cost far less, without compromising quality of life. If you're curious about this subject, read more here.
Also, if you're interested in learning more about me and my books, click here. Thanks for reading. May your gums and teeth be very healthy, clean, and happy!
~ Raederle Phoenix
Question & Feedback from Rita
On January 16, 2016, Rita writes:
Many thanks for your wisdom and for the information to help with my gums. I was at the end of my tether with my gums. I had a dental plan, saw a dentist, and all they wanted to do was to deep clean and inject antibiotic in the gum, not to mention having to pay an atrocious amount of money which I do not have. Moreover, I know I am allergic to that brand of antibiotic. The dentist will not give me a simple cleaning, which I'm entitled to. I decided to get out of the plan.
I was very lucky to come upon your blog!
Following your great suggestions, my gums are on the mend. I'm using your formula of three essential oils to brush my teeth daily. After brushing, do I rinse my mouth?
I'm drinking and swishing my gum with GT's Multi-Green Kombucha, and, when I can afford it, Eco-Inner Coconut Water Probiotic. I love them both.
I'll be looking for a Holistic Dentist, when I have the funds. Your information gives me hope. Thank you very much. Take good care. You're awesome!
Answer to Rita's Question
I'm glad to hear it Rita! As for the essential oils – you can skip rinsing on occasion to let the essential oils sit on your teeth and gums. I do that sometimes with clove essential oil to make sure all the yucky bacteria in my mouth gets thoroughly wiped out.
However, if you're using a carrier oil (like fractionated coconut oil) I wouldn't recommend having that sit in your mouth. Only essential oils, and only on occasion. Essential oils may, over time, "burn" your gums or tongue because they are so potent. So I would advise usually rinsing. But if you're experiencing pain or a toothache at the time, letting clove oil or diluted oregano oil sit on the area without rinsing is a good idea. The essential oil shouldn't hurt. It may taste terrible, but if it burns, rinse, rinse!
Thanks for writing. Do let me know how things go forward for you!
~ Raederle Phoenix