Periodontal disease begins with gum inflammation and progresses to pockets of infection, bone loss, and loosening of the teeth. It is present in 90% of individuals over the age of 65.

Conventional prevention and treatment include regular flossing, using mouthwash that contains extracts of the herb thyme (such as thymol, found in Listerine), and using special toothbrushing appliances. If the condition becomes advanced, special deep-cleaning techniques and even surgery may be necessary.


Proposed Natural Treatments for Periodontal Disease

According to one small, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the supplement lycopene]]> , taken at a dose of 8 mg per day, may be helpful for the treatment of periodontal disease, whether taken alone or used to augment the effectiveness of standard treatment. ]]>22]]>

One double-blind study of 89 people tested a European herbal mouthwash (used with a special gum irrigator) containing ]]>chamomile]]> , ]]>echinacea]]> , myrrh, ]]>mint]]> , ]]>sage]]> , and ratania. ]]>12]]> The herbal preparation proved more effective than a conventional mouthwash at reducing gingival inflammation.

]]>Oligomeric proanthocyanidins]]> (OPCs) have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A 14-day, ]]>double-blind, placebo-controlled trial]]> of 40 people evaluated the potential benefits of a chewing gum product containing 5 mg of OPCs from pine bark. ]]>9]]> Use of the OPC gum resulted in significant improvements in gum health and reductions in plaque formation; no similar benefits were seen in the placebo group.

A double-blind study of 30 people found weak evidence that use of borage oil (a source of ]]>GLA]]> ) at a dose of 3,000 mg daily may reduce gingival inflammation. ]]>13]]> The study also examined ]]>fish oil]]> at a dose of 3,000 mg daily, or combined fish oil and borage oil at the dose of 1,500 mg each, but failed to find significant benefits with these treatments as compared to placebo.

Other natural dental products that have shown promise in small double-blind studies include a toothpaste containing Macleya cordata (plume poppy) and Prunella vulgaris (also known as heal-all or self-heal), ]]>14]]> a chew candy containing ]]>green tea]]> , ]]>7]]> an irrigation fluid containing ]]>propolis]]> extract, ]]>15]]> a toothpaste containing sea cucumber, ]]>16]]> and a gel containing ]]>tea tree]]> oil. ]]>17]]>

Preliminary studies suggest that ]]>folate]]> mouthwash may help in periodontal disease. Oral folate supplementation does not appear to be especially effective. ]]>1-4]]> However, one small double-blind study found potential benefit with a mixed B-complex supplement (containing 50 mg of each of ]]>thiamin]]> , ]]>riboflavin]]> , ]]>niacinamide]]> , ]]>pantothenate]]> , and ]]>pyridoxine]]> ; 50 mcg each of ]]>biotin]]> and ]]> vitamin B 12]]> ; and 400 mcg of ]]>folate]]> ) . ]]>18]]>

One ]]>test tube study]]> suggests that ]]>cranberry]]> juice might be useful for treating or preventing gum disease. ]]>5]]> However, there is one kink to work out before cranberry could be practical for this purpose: the sweeteners added to cranberry juice aren't good for your teeth, but without them cranberry juice is very bitter.

The supplement ]]> CoQ 10]]> is sometimes claimed to be an effective treatment for periodontal disease. However, the studies on which this idea is based are too flawed to be taken as meaningful. ]]>6]]>

]]>Xylitol]]> is a naturally occurring sugar that appears to help suppress the development of ]]>cavities]]> when it is used in gum, candy, or toothpaste. Highly preliminary evidence suggests that it may help prevent gum disease, as well. ]]>8]]>

A thorough review of 11 randomized, controlled trials found that the use of mouth rinses containing ]]>essential oils]]> is effective against gingivitis and dental plaque formation when used in combination with regular oral hygiene. ]]>23]]> In one double-blind study, chewing gum containing eucalyptus extract was more beneficial for moderate gingivitis compared to a placebo gum. ]]>24]]>

One study suggests that chewing " ]]>honey leather]]> " can reduce inflammation of the gums. ]]>19]]>

A special extract of the ]]>hops]]> , called “hops bract polyphenols,” has shown a bit of promise for preventing or treating periodontal disease. ]]>21]]>

A study failed to find that an herbal mouthwash containing the herb mangosteen significantly improved gum health. ]]>20]]>

Other treatments sometimes proposed for periodontal disease, but that lack meaningful scientific support, include ]]>beta-glucan]]> , ]]>bioflavonoids]]> , ]]>bloodroot]]> , ]]>calcium]]> , ]]>caraway]]> , ]]>magnesium]]> , ]]>vitamin C]]> , ]]>witch hazel]]> , and ]]>zinc]]> .