Periodontal Gum Disease / Gingivitis


Gingivitis describes an inflammatory condition of the gums, wherein the gums become swollen, spongy and have the tendency to bleed.  Eventually pockets form in the gums, where bacteria can live in peace and exude acids that eat away at the bone, eventually causing the teeth to loosen.  The number one best way to avoid this problem is regular dental care, careful flossing and brushing.  It is very helpful to drink tea, which contains high levels of tannins.  Various dental cleaning devices, electric toothbrushes and water pics can also be of great benefit.

It is common knowledge among herbalists that the toothpaste called Viadent contains bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadnesis), which has been shown to prevent the formation of plaque from bacteria.  East Indians use toothpaste made from neem leaf, which is also quite antiseptic. In advanced cases of gum disease, in addition to dental work we advise patients to use a commercial product called Ipsab (available from the Heritage Store), which contains prickly ash bark and a small amount of iodine. This medicine really works to kill infection and strengthen the gums.

Dr. John Christopher, an early 20th century herbalist, used to have his patients put pure white oak bark powder on their gums at night.  Oak bark is very high in tannins and will really tighten up your gums and kill infection.  I’ve tried it, but I prefer Viadent.