Periodontal gum disease affects more than half of Americans age 30 and older. Because gum disease can lead to tooth loss and to heart and vascular disease, it is important to take care of your oral health. Here is information about oil pulling and herbal mouthwashes to help heal gum disease and improve your oral health.

Oil Pulling

The practice of oil pulling has been used in several countries for 3,000 years, but has become popular in the United States over the past 20 years. The cleansing process of oil pulling is used to treat gum inflammation, eliminate the harmful bacteria that causes cavities and gingivitis, whiten your teeth, reduce the occurrence of bleeding gums, and prevent bad breath. 

When you oil pull, you swish around a healthy oil in your mouth. During the pulling, the oils you swish around in your mouth attract harmful bacteria and other toxins inside your mouth, which become trapped inside the oils. Then, when you spit out the oils, the bacteria and toxins go with it. One study in 2008 researched the effects of sesame oil pulling in children and the effect it had on the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which are primarily responsible for tooth decay. The study found there was a significant reduction in the number of this harmful bacteria after two weeks of oil pulling.

Swishing around the oil inside your mouth is also believed to allow the oil's healthful nutrients to enter your blood stream through the underside of your tongue and bypassing the damaging gastric juices in your stomach. Because the oil's nutrients are not degraded in your stomach acid, they can infuse your body with healthy fats, which increase your entire body's health. 

To participate in your own daily oil pulling, take a spoonful of your choice of healthy oil into your mouth when you wake up and before you brush your teeth, eat or drink anything. You can take anywhere from one teaspoon to one tablespoon and choose from coconut, sesame, safflower, sunflower, olive, canola, walnut, cod liver and avocado oil. Swish the oil around in your mouth, under your tongue, and between your teeth for 15 to 20 minutes. 

When you are finished, do not swallow any of the oil. Instead, spit the oil into the trash, as it will contain harmful bacteria and toxins from your mouth. It is recommended to not spit the oil into the sink, as it can stick to and accumulate inside your pipes, causing clogs. If you have a septic system, the oil can cause problems within your system. Last, rinse your mouth out with warm water, then brush your teeth, as usual.

Herbal Mouthwash

There are several types of herbal mouthwash recipes you can use to help heal gum disease and periodontal disease. First, try a sage-infused tea rinse: you will need to measure approximately 50 grams of fresh sage leaves and boil them in one liter of water for several minutes. Allow the mixture to cool, strain it through cheese cloth or a coffee filter, then use the sage-infused water to gargle several times each day. Store the remainder in an air-tight container.

Another easy way to help with gum disease is to make some Chamomile tea. Instead of drinking the tea, gargle it several times each day. The Chamomile helps ease the pain, prevents bacterial infections, and reduces the swelling of your infected gums. 

You can make an echinacea mouthwash from combining one-half cup of water to a half teaspoon of echinacea, or tea tree oil extract. Echinacea has natural antibacterial properties and will help to reduce the pain associated with any gum swelling and infection.

With a mixture of rosemary, peppermint, and lavender herbs, you can make a mouthwash to help treat gum disease. Mix these three herbs together and measure one teaspoon into a cup of boiling water. Steep this tea for 15 minutes, then strain the herbs from the water, using cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Allow it to cool and use it as a mouthwash.

Use oil pulling or herbal mouthwash you can make at home to help heal your gum disease. Contact your dentist for more assistance with treating gum disease.