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How can I treat gum disease?

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, jawbone jaw·bone
The maxilla or, especially, the mandible.
, and connective tissue that’s caused by not taking care of your teeth properly.
TREATMENT: If patients already have gum disease, I educate them on how to remove the bacteria by giving them “irrigation” tools that deliver herbal antiseptics (like the lavender-based Tooth & Gums Tonic) to the deep pockets below the gum line, where anaerobic anaerobic /an·aer·o·bic/ (an?ah-ro´bik)
1. lacking molecular oxygen.

2. growing, living, or occurring in the absence of molecular oxygen; pertaining to an anaerobe.
 (oxygen-hating) bacteria thrive. I also suggest pouring hydrogen peroxide on a toothbrush, then scrubbing the gum line to eliminate bacteria.
EXPERT TIPS: To prevent periodontal disease in the first place, brush, floss, and scrape your tongue twice a day, and get a professional cleaning twice a year. You can also keep harmful bacteria from infecting your gums by supporting your immune system with acupuncture, a mostly vegetarian diet, and supplements like omega-3s, CoQ10, vitamin B, and calcium.
—Lewis Gross, D.D.S., a holistic dentist in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City

City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S.

Gum disease begins with poor dental hygiene and is often exacerbated by a weakened immune system and an overactive inflammatory response.
TREATMENT: To slow the progress of gum disease, I prescribe a plant-based diet high in flavonoids flavonoids, common plant pigment compounds that act as antioxidants, enhance the effects of vitamin C, and strengthen connective tissue around capillaries.
 (which help to reduce inflammation and strengthen gums), zinc, copper, folic acid, vitamins E, C, D, selenium, and vitamin A or beta-carotene. Eat foods like mushrooms and garlic and drink green tea—all have been shown to have powerful antiviral and antibacterial benefits. Get a good dose of probiotics from fermented foods and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (high in antioxidants) and anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as turmeric turmeric: see ginger.

Perennial herbaceous plant (Curcuma longa; family Zingiberaceae), native to southern India and Indonesia. Its tuberous rhizomes have been used from antiquity as a condiment, as a textile dye, and medically as an
, ginger, cumin, and rosemary.
EXPERT TIPS: Exercise regularly to banish “bad” bacteria and maintain a healthy weight. (Excess body fat can be a source of inflammation.)
—Beth Reardon, M.S., an integrative nutritionist at Duke University

an HERBALIST herb·al·ist
1. One who grows, collects, or specializes in the use of herbs, especially medicinal herbs.

2. See herb doctor.

The mouth is a microcosm of the body—gum disease can reflect an overall lack of herbs, vitamins, and minerals.
TREATMENT: I give patients gotu kola to support connective tissue, horsetail horsetail, any plant of the genus Equisetum [Lat.,=horse bristle], the single surviving genus of a large group (Equisetophyta) of primitive vascular plants.  for bone, turmeric for inflammation, and astragalus astragalus /as·trag·a·lus/ (as-trag´ah-lus) talus.astrag´alar

See talus.
 for immune function, and have them apply topical applications like licorice root gum packs and aloe rinses. I also recommend taking one to two grams per day of the Chinese herb Xu Duan (Dipsacus or teasel teasel, common name for some members of the Dipsacaceae, a family of chiefly Old World herbs found mostly in the Mediterranean and Balkan areas but ranging to India and to S Africa.  root)—it’s superb for healing damaged connective and structural tissue. I also prescribe 1,000 mg of calcium, 1,200 mg of magnesium, and 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily, and suggest patients eat plenty of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories like turmeric, berries, and colorful vegetables.
EXPERT TIPS: Brush and rinse every day with herbal gum rinses such as aloe and echinacea to keep periodontal disease at bay.
—Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, D.N.-C., R.H., a clinical herbalist in Eugene, Ore.

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Author:Adam Bible
Publication:Natural Health
Date:May 27, 2009
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