Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
January 8, 2016
Just a prescription for an antibiotic may kill some of the offending bugs around your teeth that are causing the acute infection of bleeding gums. But, this medicine will also kill hundreds of species of beneficial bacteria in your mouth and thousands of species of beneficial bacteria in your gut – all of which you need for your body to function in a healthy state.
You need to realize that your bleeding gums are the result of various factors. Just like any manifestation of disease, you would be better served if you could determine the actual cause of the disease and correct it rather than just take a pill to only deal with the symptoms. Then, you might prevent the disease from coming back in the future.
Reducing the out-of-control bacteria may be the first treatment, but don’t forget that follow-up treatment is necessary to remove the underlying causes.
Still, you have bleeding gums. What can you do right away to stop it?
- Essential oils have antimicrobial properties. A potent essential oil is oil of oregano. You could add two drops of oil of oregano to one teaspoon of coconut oil and swish this in your mouth for about a minute and then spit out. Do this four times a day for a week.
- Sometimes a mouth rinse of diluted hydrogen peroxide (1.5% hydrogen peroxide) used four times a day for a period of one week could help reduce the inflammation. You could purchase 3% hydrogen peroxide at the drug store and dilute it (1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide to 1 teaspoon of filtered water). A commercially available product is alcohol-free Peroxyl by Colgate. This is an over-the-counter, 1.5% hydrogen peroxide solution that I have found to be effective for some of my patients. Be aware that the use of hydrogen peroxide for more than a week could increase the potential for a yeast infection and soft tissue damage.
- Sometimes a prescribed antibiotic is necessary if the acute infection is aggressive. If you need to take an antibiotic, I would advise taking a probiotic along with it and continue taking it for several weeks thereafter. Probiotics help restore healthy bacteria in your gut and in your mouth. Eating live-culture fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi as well as unsweetened plain yogurt also will help support the good bacteria in your mouth and your body. (Peer-reviewed articles on probiotics and oral health: Here, Here, Here.)
But, this is critical:
It is important to see a dental professional who can diagnose gum diseases properly. In addition, in my opinion, this professional also needs to understand the intricate relationships between (1) nutrition and lifestyle factors and (2) other contributing factors resulting in your bleeding gums. Proper treatment in its proper sequence is important to rid you of the potentially health-damaging infection of gum disease.