Ayurvedic treatment for Gingivitis

Gingivitis

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  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Gingivitis Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS GINGIVITIS?

Gingivitis is mild form of gum infection which causes redness and swelling of the gums. Since it occurs in a mild form, it may even go unnoticed. However, it can lead to more serious infections known as periodontitis and loss of tooth, if left untreated.1-2

Small spaces called as sulcus are present at the point where the gums are attached to the teeth. A gum infection or gingivitis may result due to the trapping of food in these spaces.1

The causative or risk factors cause an imbalance in the Kapha and Rakta and get stuck in the softest parts of the gums. The stuck particles decrease the firmness of the muscular tissues. This causes an injury to the gums causing bleeding. These series of events lead to the condition of Sheetada or bleeding in gums.3In Ayurveda, the various stages of gingivitis are described under the conditions – Dantapupputa, suashira and sheetad - the term for ‘bleeding from gum’ which are grouped under the 15 types of diseases of the gum (Danta Moolagata Roga). Doshas involved are Pitta and Kapha.3Bacteria present in the mouth cause the formation of a thin film or plaque on the surface of the teeth. Progression of plaque causes it to harden and form tartar. The extension of this plaque extends beyond the gum line and may lead to an infection.1

Causes

Gingivitis

GINGIVITIS CAUSES

Causes responsible for gum disease include:2,4

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Certain medications
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Use of tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • The aging process
  • Dentures which don’t fit
  • Substance abuse/drug abuse
  • Diseases or conditions compromising with the body’s immunity.
  • Hormonal changes associated pregnancy, puberty, menopause, etc

Symptoms

Gingivitis

GINGIVITIS SYMPTOMS

Since gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, it goes unnoticed most of the times. However, the following can be symptoms of gingivitis:2,4

  • Swelling or tenderness in the gums.
  • Bleeding in the gums while brushing or flossing.
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Foul-smelling breath

Diagnosis

Gingivitis

GINGIVITIS DIAGNOSIS

The dentist or physician will diagnose this condition by:1

  • Using a tiny ruler “probe” to check gums for any inflammation and pockets around the teeth
  • The dentist may also take an x-ray to check for bone loss

Management

Gingivitis

GINGIVITIS AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

The ahar (diet) and vihar (lifestyle regime) recommendations for gingivitis are given below:

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Avoid food and beverages that have a pungent and salty taste, as they provoke Pitta dosha
  • Avoid dry, hard and spicy food
  • Avoid coffee and cigarettes since they are the primary cause of staining
  • Avoid sugary and carbonated drinks since their acidic properties may destroy the enamel
  • Avoid mustard seeds and oil

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

• Maintaining a good oral hygiene, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing and getting regular dental check-ups, can help prevent gingivitis. • Ayurveda recommends procedures like gandusha, kavala, dantadhavana and jivha nilekhana (cleaning tongue) for maintaining oral hygiene and strengthening teeth. • Use a soft toothbrush and make sure to replace it at least every three to four months. Ayurvedic herbal brushes derived from herbs like Neem, Asana, Khadira and Pilu possess medicinal properties. • Cultivate a habit of rinsing the food from your mouth after every meal and clean your teeth after every meal • Floss at least once a day • Brushing with charcoal powder may help • Rubbing the gums and teeth with Triphala masi (charcoal of triphala) twice or thrice daily may be helpful • Gargling with a lukewarm decoction of Triphala and neem may help • Oil pulling is a procedure involving swishing of medicated oil in oral cavity for oral as well as systemic health benefits. Oil pulling can also be used in cases where brushing is contraindicated due to the presence of mouth ulcer, fever, indigestion

FAQS

Gingivitis
  1. How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

Ayurveda suggests simple diet and lifestyle changes to prevent toothaches. They are as follows:

Diet

  • Sticky substance which may adhere to the teeth should be avoided
  • Food containing sugar and other sweets should be avoided
  • Fruits like guavas, oranges, pomegranates and other fruits of the citrus family are beneficial as they contain vitamin C which strengthens gums
  • Amla must form the part of the diet since it contains the largest amount of vitamin C and is easily available

Lifestyle

  • Maintain a good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly and frequent rinsing of the mouth
  • Make a habit of rinsing the mouth after every meal
  • Use natural oils and extracts from clove oil for toothache. Dab a cotton ball in clove oil on the affected tooth and gently bite down. The natural properties of clove oil can help relieve tooth pain and prevent future cavities and bad breath
  • Using saline water to rinse the mouth after meals helps in curing toothache and even other tooth-related problems
  • Mix equal amounts of pepper, salt and few drops of water to form a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area to relieve toothache
  1. What causes teeth to hurt?

Some of the common causes of toothache includes:

  • Dental decay
  • Dental cavities
  • Swelling of the pulp
  • Tooth infection
  • Broken tooth
  • Exposed tooth root
  • Crack in the tooth
  • Consumption of food rich in carbohydrates and sugar like colas, candies, cakes, etc
  • Consuming hot and cold food together
  • Gum disease
  1. What is plaque?

Plaque is the sticky film or mass of bacteria that grows on the surface of the teeth. It is most noticeable when teeth are not brushed and makes teeth feel rough/fuzzy to the tongue.

When food containing carbohydrates and sugars such as soft drinks, raisins, cakes, or candy are frequently left on the teeth, it leads to the development of plaque. Mouth is full of bacteria which thrive on these food particles producing acids. These acids destroy tooth enamel over a period of time resulting in tooth decay. The development of plaque on the tooth under gums may cause breakdown of the supporting bone present underneath.

In Ayurvedic literature, dental conditions are referred as Danta sharkara, since the appearance of plaque is similar to the sugar coating over the teeth with a granular shape. It is a disease characterized by, hardened accumulation of mala on tooth surface which destroys the teeth and its surrounding structures and is accompanied by bad odour. Vitiated vata takes the form of thick adherence like the thick sugar syrup causing the manifestation of Danta sharkara.

  1. How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy?

Following tips can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy

  • Avoid sugar rich food, hard food, non-vegetarian diet food which will cause the built up of tartar and worsen the problems of dental plaques.
  • Green tea, intake of easily digestible and foods with less fat and carbohydrate prevent the formation of tartar.
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables
  • Regularly practicing flossing, proper tooth brushing, oral rinsing and regular oil pulling helps to get rid of the plaque efficiently and further prevents the formation of tartar
  • Herbs such as nutmeg (Jatiphala), Triphala (Hareetaki, Vibheetaki and Amalaki) and Saindhava lavana can be made into a fine powder and rubbed well to the teeth. This helps to clear the tartar
  • A mixture of ashes of ginger, long pepper, black pepper and salt can be used for brushing the teeth. Turmeric can be added to this mixture in case of bleeding gums
  1. Can side effects of medications cause dry mouth?

The causes of dry mouth can be attributed to the following:

  • Certain medications
  • Aging
  • A blocked nose
  • Stress
  • Cancer therapy
  • Nerve damage
  • Other health conditions such as immune disease (Sjogren's syndrome) or HIV/AIDS.
  • Tobacco use
  • Drug abuse
  1. What types of foods and beverages should I avoid if I have dry mouth?

Avoid spicy foods and avoid excess coffee, tea, sodas and alcoholic drinks

  1. What’s causing my sore throat?

Sore throat may be caused by the following:

  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Smoking
  • Shouting
  • Allergies
  1. What can I do to make my throat feel better?

Ayurveda recommends the following:

  • Drink plenty of warm fluids, such as teas, soup, and water
  • Hot lemon and honey, honey and cidar vinegar, herbal teas, ginger juice or carrot and apple juice, elderberry juice, blackcurrent tea or juice are all effective during infection which also improve immunity and helps relieving sore throat
  • Daily supplements of teaspoon of cod liver oil, 100 mg vitamin C tablets every 2-3 hours or 2 garlic capsules every two hours can be given until the patient is well again
  • Give plenty of rest to your throat and try not to talk
  • Avoid day sleep since it may lead to Kapha build-up, leading to worsening according to Ayurveda
  • Avoid exposure to cold breeze, water etc.
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene
  • Gargle every few hours using a solution of quarter teaspoonful of common salt or yavakshaara dissolved in half a glass of warm water or decoction prepared from the bark of Acacia (Babul) tree
  1. Is triphala churna an effective remedy for the treatment of mouth ulcers?

Yes, as mouth ulcers are most commonly associated with constipation.  In case of such a situation, use of a mild laxative such as Triphala choorna is advised which will give some relief.

  1. Are there other steps I can take to prevent tooth cavities?

Ayurveda recommends few tips as follows:

  • Decrease intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Consume foods that are rich sources of calcium
  • Make a mixture of turmeric, salt and mustard oil to make a paste and rub it on teeth and gums
  • Consume plenty of raw vegetables
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gums clean.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive drinking since they may cause dental problems
  • Chewing on fresh herbal sticks in the morning as well as after every meal to prevent diseases. These herb sticks should be either ‘kashaya’ (astringent), ‘katu (acrid), or ‘tikta’ (bitter) in taste. The method of using these sticks is to crush one of its end, chew it, and eat it slowly. The neem (margosa or the Azadiraxhta indica), liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak) etc. are some examples of herbal sticks
  • Use of an herbal tooth powder madeup from neem powder and salt

References

Gingivitis
  1. Gum Disease (Gingivitis). Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/gingivitis#Causes2. Accessed on 1 September 2016
  2. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gingivitis/basics/definition/con-20021422. Accessed on: 1 September 2016
  3. Bleeding Gums – Ayurvedic Treatment, Home Remedies. Available at: http://easyayurveda.com/2015/02/26/bleeding-gums-ayurvedic-treatment-home-remedies/. Accessed on: 1 September 2016.
  4. Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease). Available at: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gingivitis-periodontal-disease?page=1#2. Accessed on: 1 September 2016
  5. Patil VV, Japee J, Kulkarni R, Girish KJ, Sapra U. Atreya’s guide to Ayurveda Practice. 2014: Atreya Ayurveda
  6. Abhinav Singhand Bharathi Purohit. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011 Apr-Jun; 2(2): 64–68. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health
  7. Sunita Amruthesh. Dentistry and Ayurveda - IV: Classification and management of common oral diseases Indian J Dent Res, 19(1), 2008.

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