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(Health) Natural Remedies for Toothache and Gum

(Health) Natural Remedies for Toothache and Gum

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Published by: cleverized on Jun 19, 2008
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Natural Remedies for Toothache and Gum Diseaseby Emily Kane ND, LAcToothaches and gum diseases are usually only related in that they both occur inthe mouth. They have, generally speaking, very different causes and therefore willbe discussed separately in this article.The classic toothache is almost always caused by nerve pain due to an exposednerve root. While it is true that receeding gums can expose nerve roots, causing"tooth" pain, another scenario is that of a filling worn down or fallen out.Chewing gum regularly will make fillings come out more quickly; avoid it ifpossible. Usually a toothache requires a trip to the dentist, however there anumber of treatments you can access relatively easily if you can't see the dentistright away.First of all, avoid very hot or very cold foods or beverages, such as hot coffeeor ice cream. Also, avoid hard to bite foods such as raw carrots or apples. Gentlepressure onto the hurting tooth through the cheek may provide some relief. Youcould also try holding a warm wrung out towel against the cheek or jaw over thepainful area, or a castor oil pack. The castor oil pack is a marvelous tool forpain relief anywhere. Simply apply a generous layer of castor oil to the area thathurts (in the case of toothache apply the oil to the cheek; putting castor oil inyour mouth could cause stomach cramps or loose stools), cover with a layer ofsaran wrap then apply a hot towel or heating pad to the area. Be careful not toburn the skin. Rest with the heat on for at least 20 minutes. The castor oil willstimulate "drainage" of the blood congested with microbes, in the case ofinfection, or with pain producing elements, such as cytokines, in the case ofdental nerve irritation. Castor oil is available in most health-food stores.One of the easiest and most effective natural pain killers, especially fortoothache, is clove oil. Many dentists still use clove oil in their offices wherestronger analgesics (pharmacologic agents for pain suppression), such asnovocaine, can be avoided. You can rub the clove oil directly onto the painfularea inside the mouth. Dilute it with olive oil if it is too strong straight. Youcan also hold a whole peg of clove in your mouth at the site of the toothache. Thenumbing sensation will kick in quite rapidly, and will last up to 90 minutes.Although not quite so effective as clove oil, garlic or myrrh oils can be locallyapplied for pain relief. Wintergreen oil works too and so does Aloe vera juice,especially if the pain is accompanied by inflammation or obvious irritation.Another trick is to roll a small amount of beeswax onto crushed aspirin, oraconite powder if available, and stick this little ball of medicine onto the tooththat hurts.For those inclined towards Homeopathy, which works especially well for children,these are a few classic toothache remedies: Belladonna 6X every 15 minutes untilyou get to the dentist especially if the pain is accompanied by fever and/orbright red cheeks. Plantago 6X is a good choice if the child feels better wheneating, or complains of reflexive pain from the tooth to the eyelids. Mag. Carb.6X may help if the child seems sensitive to the least bit of touch. Chamomile 6Xis the remedy of choice in cases that seem worse from heat.The good news about toothache is that the tooth can usually be fixed.Gum disease is more serious, generally more chronic, and not readily responsive to"quick fixes." Gum disease is caused by infection, and prevention, as always, isthe best approach to this disease. Avoid over-eating, avoid excessive stress whichmay cause nighttime teeth griding (bruxism) and avoid sugary foods and beverages.Gum disease is very common, in fact it is listed as the most prevalent infectiousailment in the United States after the common cold. The rate of infection
 
increases with age; it is a major cause of adult tooth loss. The first stage isgingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, caused by sticky deposits of bacteria,mucus and food particles. These sticky deposits are called "plaque" or may stillbe refered to by a more outdated term: tartar. The plaque builds up around theteeth and, at the gum line, irritates the gums causing bleeding and ultimatelyinfection. Gingivits is the medical term for gum infection; pyorrhea meansbleeding gums. The accumulation of plaque eventually causes the gums to swell andbecome infected, widening the gaps between the gum and the tooth, like pockets,which further enhances disease. These "pockets" gather food debris and can becomesoft, red, shiny and will bleed easily. When gum diseases progresses ad begins toaffect the jaw bone, it is called periodontal disease.All of this can be prevented or improved with physical measures. Foremost isconsistent, thoughtful tooth, gum and tongue brushing with a clean, soft brush.Brush the teeth at a 45 degree angle to get under the gum line. Get a newtoothbrush regularly (at least 4 times yearly) and make sure your toothpaste isn'tirritating. If you make lots of plaque, consider an alkalinizing toothpaste, suchas one containing baking soda. Bacteria prefer an acid environment. The FDA hasrecently approved the first toothpaste (made by Colgate) that can claim on thelabel to "prevent gingivitis and plaque" but you probably don't need drugs in yourtoothpaste to keep your gums healthy. If you can't get to your toothbrush soonafter eating, at least vigorously swish out your mouth with water. Gum disease isa major cause of bad breath.The next obvious preventive approaches to gum health are eating nutritious wholefoods (not processed), flossing daily and regular dental check-ups. Avoid refinedcarbohydrates including alcohol and soda pop. Faulty dental fillings and ill-fitting protheses can also accelerate gum disease by providing sites for plaqueaccumulation. Sufficient saliva is also critical to clear the mouth of plaque andbacteria. Persons with dry mouth due to age or disease will need to stimulatetheir salivary glands more vigorously by chewing carrots or sugar-free candies,sipping fluids throughout the day and attempting to breathe through the nose only.Bacterial plaque is not the only cause of gum disease. A compromised "host" isalso a factor in any disease; that is, someone with a poorly functioning immunesystem due to substance abuse, poor nutrition or poor general hygiene. Smokerssuffer from much more rapid gum deterioration than non-smokers -- in case youneeded just one more reason to quit! Smoking promotes periodontal disease andultimately tooth loss by doing free radical damage to the cells on the surface ofthe inside of the mouth. Smoking also drastically reduces Vitman C stores.Gum problems which progress from gingivitis to periodontal disease may be a signof a more systemic condition, such as diabetes mellitus, collagen diseases,luekemia or other diorders of white cell function, anemia, or vitamin deficiency.White patches on the gums or elsewhere on the oral mucous membrane (inside themouth) that can be scraped off are a sign of fungal infection (thrush) which mustbe treated, principally by avoiding sugar, antibiotics and steroids (includinginhalers) whenever possible. The reason you would want to avoid antibiotics, ifpossible, in treating gum disease is that they destroy "good" bacteria, which helpto break down and digest food, in the mouth as well as along the whole length ofthe gastro-intestinal tract.Once you have gum disease, what can be done? Luckily, quite alot, including manynon-drug and non-surgical methods. For example, natural bioflavonoids, themolecules that give plants their colors, decrease wound healing time and areuseful in treating gum and periodontal disease. Blueberries, hawthorn berries andgrapes are all rich sources of flavonoids. Other nutrients which are essential togum health include CoEnzyme Q-10, Vitamin C and Folic acid. Co-Enzyme Q-10, or
 
CoQ-10 for short, is a tiny molecular catalyst in the middle of a series ofchemical events called the electron transport chain. These chemical reactions takeplace in the walls of tiny organs called the mitochondria which, among otherfunctions, convert water into oxygen. CoQ-10 is well known for its role inpreventing and treating heart disease, since it provides more oxygen to thetissues at a cellular level, thus reducing the requirements of the heart muscle topump oxygenated blood around the body. CoQ-10 is essential for treating gumdisease because it provides more oxygen to the rapidly turning-over cells of themucous membranes in the mouth. Oxygen is deadly to anaerobic bacteria, which arethe type most likely to damage the gums.Vitamin C is also critical to gum health, and my favorite "anti-oxidant" forseveral reasons. First, a word on why, after expounding on the virtues of moreoxygen, we now want to provide "anti" oxidant support? Anti-oxidants is a ratherunfortunate term and these important nutrients would be more acurately describedas "anti-free radicals." Free radicals are chemial species that possess loneelectrons, which is a very unstable chemical state. Lone electrons will doanything to be paired with another electron, including ripping an electron off apefectly stable structure, thus creating a domino effect of tissue destruction.This is what is known as "free-radical damage," and is probably the underlyingcause of aging. Vitamin C is a large, complex molecule that can "absorb" a free-radical and stop the chain of destruction. Vitamin C is inexpensive (manufacturersnever cheat in its production, unlike with Vitamin E), widely availabe in avariety of forms and generally well tolerated. Some people with very sensitivestomachs need to take a buffered form, rendered a neutral pH with the addition ofminerals such as calcium or magnesium.Another crucial nutrient for gum health is folic acid, or folate. The mucousmembrane of the gastro-intestinal tract, which starts in the mouth, has thehighest rate of cell turnover in the entire body. This is why many chemotherapydrugs, which are geared to "attack" cancer cells that are rapidly dividing, arefolic acid inhibitors. People taking chemotherapy drugs will often suffer terriblyfrom sores and blisters in their mouths, and all along the GI tract. Folic acid isessential for normal cell proliferation and the constantly renewing mucousmembrane over the gums would not stay healthy without this important B vitamin.Please give these methods a try, and hopefully surgery and/or antibiotics can beavoided. Now, truthfully, when was the last time you changed your toothbrush?sidebar of dosages for basic gum health nutrients:CoQ10, 100 mg daily to increase oxygenation of the blood, which ultimatelytranslates to more "fresh" blood in the mouth, which is highly vascularized.Vitamin C, 4-9 grams daily to promote collagen healing and retard plaque growth.Gums which bleed easily may be a sign of Vit C deficiency.Folic acid, 400 mcg daily to enhance cellular regeneration. Many chemotherapydrugs inhibit folic acid which is why cancer patients on chemo are often plaguedwith sores on the inside of their mouths.Calcium and Magnesium, 500-1,000 mg of each daily to help prevent bone loss.Vitamin A, 20,000 IUs or the safer, water soluble form of Vit A, Beta-carotene,10,000 IUs daily to heal mucous membranes in the mouth by providing anti-oxidantsand bioflavonoids.Vit E, another potent anti-oxidant, 400 IUs daily to promote skin integrity,including in the mouth. Vit E has a long standing and well-deserved reputation asthe "anti-aging" vitamin. Vit E oil can be applied directly to the inflammed gumfor rapid healing.Selenium, 200mcg daily, enhances the anti-oxidant effects of Vitamins E and C. Itis also a catalyst in nearly 75% of all enzymatic reactions in the body, whichmeans without it we would't run very well, just like a car without spark plugs.

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