We’ve all read about natural ingredients that are supposed to help improve oral health. One of the most popular ingredients right now seems to be turmeric. The potential health benefits of taking turmeric are well-documented. It is supposed to be able to support heart function, fight inflammation, support muscle and joint health. It is said to help promote a healthy skin and it is also said to support natural weight loss.
The websites citing these potential health benefits also claim that turmeric can be used as a remedy for a toothache. It can help heal inflamed gums and can even whiten teeth. So, what exactly is turmeric? Turmeric is a spice widely used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. It is derived from an herb and is a member of the ginger family.
You can buy turmeric in its natural root like structure and it can also be found in a powder, liquid or tablet form. It has a sweet yet slightly bitter taste. Turmeric is claimed to have a wide range of therapeutic effects. It is supposed to promote wound healing, is antifungal, antibacterial and anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. Yet do all these claims stand up to closer scrutiny?
Treating Gum Inflammation
With its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric should be ideal for treating gum inflammation. This may, in fact, be true as one study evaluated the use of turmeric, chlorhexidine, and chlorhexidine with metronidazole in treating gum inflammation. The study found that turmeric, as well as chlorhexidine and metronidazole, were more effective in reducing gum inflammation compared to just using chlorhexidine.
However, this was a very small study although the results were promising. Researchers have also assessed the efficacy of using turmeric in mouthwash. It evaluates people who had received scaling and root planning for gum inflammation. Those who then used chlorhexidine mouthwash or turmeric based mouthwash, or nothing at all.
There wasn’t any statistical difference between using chlorhexidine mouthwash and a turmeric-based mouthwash, but again the study size was very small. Yet another study looked at using chlorhexidine or turmeric mouthwash in treating gingivitis or the early signs of gum disease. Although both groups showed improvement, this study was relatively short.
Is Turmeric Safe for Use?
Generally, turmeric is safe but some people have experienced allergies or upset stomachs, or nausea or diarrhea. Additionally, turmeric may interfere with blood clot formation. There is very little information on using turmeric in higher doses and there is limited information that shows turmeric can be useful in improving oral health.
Some research studies have shown promise for using turmeric in treating gum inflammation. These may have been combined with professional dental care treatments such as scaling and root planing.
What about Other Home Remedies for Gum Inflammation?
The Internet is full of home remedies on how to treat gum information, including advice on using turmeric. Other sites recommend using lemongrass oil mouthwash or salt water mouthwash to help relieve the pain of inflamed gums. Other suggestions include tea tree oil mouthwash and even Aloe Vera mouthwash. Another highly popular option that comes from Ayurvedic medicine is oil pulling.
This is a practice that involves swishing oil around your mouth for up to 30 minutes to help reduce harmful bacteria. It suggests people use coconut oil because this contains lauric acid which has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Why None of These Should Be a Substitute for Proper Professional Dental Care
While using turmeric or any other of the remedies suggested on various websites on the Internet may not necessarily be harmful to your dental health. They could lead you to ignore the need for proper professional dental care. If your gums are inflamed then do you really want to trust the Internet for information or would you prefer to see your dentist? Your dentists are someone who has years of professional training and qualifications?
Delaying any kind of dental treatment almost certainly worsens the outcome. If you do have any kind of dental pain or inflammation, it’s always best to see your dentist as soon as you can. The chances of your dentist being able to provide the correct professional treatment to eliminate the inflammation are better. Same goes for infection in your gums and to completely reverse gum disease is considerably better.
In comparison, delaying treatment to try various other remedies could mean the gum disease causing your gum inflammation becomes chronic.
What You Should Do If You Think Your Gums Are Inflamed and Infected
If you have noticed your gums have become inflamed, puffy red or sore, book an appointment. If you notice that they bleed whenever you brush or floss them, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Don’t forget to book an appointment with the hygienist at the same time. Gum inflammation is usually a sign of gum disease and requires prompt treatment.
If you get to your dentist early enough, they can easily treat this condition. This means completely reversing it before it causes any long-lasting damage to your gums and to your teeth. In the early stages, treatment may be as simple as having your teeth and gums professionally cleaned. A simple scale and polish might be sufficient.
Otherwise, your dentist may suggest something called scaling and root planning, where your teeth and gums are deep cleaned. Scaling and root planing cleans your teeth as well as any tooth root surfaces that may have become exposed. This can be due to your inflamed and sore gums gradually pull away from your teeth. When combined with good oral care at home, this might be enough to restore gum health.
It is a very different matter if you ignore gum inflammation as this will allow the infection to progress. Eventually, it will destroy your gums and other tissues surrounding your teeth and which includes your jawbone. Without prompt professional dental care, you are at risk of losing your teeth. This will leave you with the problem of how best to replace them, something that can be very time-consuming and expensive.
What is worse, the bacteria that caused the inflammation can cause inflammation in other parts of your body. Gum disease is associated with other major health problems and which include diabetes, heart disease, dementia and rheumatoid arthritis. It has been the subject of many clinical studies and research is ongoing. While it is fun to read about alternative remedies on the internet, it is better not to rely on them.
Instead put your faith in the dental profession to help you maintain a healthy mouth, which in turn will help protect your general health.