A unique way to protect your gums from gingivitis
August 12, 2016
Volume 4 | Issue 32
When you think about your skin, you probably don't think about your gums. But your gums are one of the most important areas of your skin, and they often don't get the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, neglecting your gums can cause a number of issues, including gingivitis, which is characterized by swollen, red, bleeding gums. This inflammatory condition can be painful and can even lead to tooth loss if it's not treated promptly — or avoided altogether.
Since plaque and the bacteria it carries are the primary cause of gingivitis, the best way to prevent it is by brushing regularly and getting a professional cleaning at least twice a year. But if you do develop this condition, you need to address not just the bacteria and the plaque but the inflammation as well. Fortunately, there's a great way to do that naturally: through polyphenols, nature's powerful antioxidants.
Over the past few years, a number of studies have indicated that polyphenols can help improve gingivitis. One study was published last year in the International Journal of Molecular Science. For this study, researchers evaluated whether consuming bilberries could help control inflammation of the gums in patients with gingivitis.
You may be less familiar with bilberries than, say, raspberries or blueberries. They're more common in Europe and Asia than they are in the U.S. But as you might guess from the name, they are closely related to blueberries. And like blueberries, bilberries are full of polyphenols.
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The researchers conducted this study in Sweden, where bilberries are abundant. The researchers divided 24 patients with gingivitis into three groups. The first group ate a placebo of potato starch for seven days. The second group consumed 250 g of bilberries, and the third group consumed 500 g of bilberries. The researchers also compared the three groups to a fourth group who only received instruction in how to care for their gums.
While all the groups did show some improvement in gum health, the group consuming 500 g of bilberries fared the best, with a 59% reduction in gum bleeding after seven days. Their cytokines levels also improved, indicating that inflammation was decreasing.
These results are in line with what I've seen clinically. We know that polyphenols help reduce inflammation. But in this case, it was important not just that the patients ingested the polyphenols but that they actually ate the whole berries, exposing their gums directly to the polyphenols. You may experience similar results by eating whole berries, as well as by giving oil pulling a try.
Oil pulling is quite simple and very effective. Use a high-quality sesame, coconut, or olive oil and swish it around in your mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out. This will expose your gums to the polyphenols in the oil. You can do the same with green tea, or, if you prefer, just drink the green tea as usual. This will still expose your gums to the polyphenols in the tea.
You know that drinking a cup of green tea is one of my favorite things to do for my health. And I love eating berries too. Now you can be confident knowing that wh
To your health, naturally,