The importance of herbs for teeth and gums lies in two fundamental facts related to its anatomy and physiology:
- In mouth mastication, the first phase of the digestive process takes place. The correct function of the teeth is fundamental for good chewing and digestion.
- The mouth contains a wide range and amount of germs, being one of the parts of the body where most microbes exist. These micro-organisms may cause severe infections and toxic states that influence the entire body.
The mouth, and the entire digestive system, are covered throughout its interior by a layer of cells called the mucous membrane. Stomatitis is called inflammation of the mouth, especially the mucous membrane surrounding it. Etymologically this term comes from the Greek stoma, which means “mouth” (and not “stomach”). It manifests itself by the reddening of the oral mucous membrane, sometimes along with ulcers or wounds (aphthous). It mainly affects the gums, the tip of the tongue, and the inner side of the cheeks.
The most frequent causes of stomatitis are chemical irritants such as tobacco and alcoholic beverages, eating too hot meals, certain medicines (especially antibiotics), unsuitable dental prostheses, and inadequate oral hygiene.
Mouth rinses with herbs for teeth and gums can significantly contribute to the treatment and generally prevent stomatitis, gingivitis, pyorrhea, and other oral ailments.
Top Herbs for Teeth and Gums
Common Mouth Ailments
Mouth Ulcers: These are small, excruciating ulcers that heal spontaneously after some days. Their causes vary widely, though they are not easy to ascertain: viral infections, dietary allergies, and lack of B vitamins or iron, among other reasons, may cause mouth ulcers. Mouth rinses with astringent (which dry mucous membranes), antiseptic, and cicatrizant plants can be helpful.
Lip Sores: Cold sores are usually caused by dryness or cold and are painful when opening or moving the mouth. When they appear on lip sides, they are related to the lack of certain minerals, especially iron. Local treatment with compresses or poultices of emollient (soothing) and cicatrizant plants can accelerate the healing of this disease.
Bad Taste in Mouth: It may or may not be related to bad breath (halitosis). It is usually associated with the impaired functioning of the gall bladder or intestinal fermentations. Cholagogue and digestive plants are recommended.
Teething: When teeth grow in milk-fed children, the gums undergo a mild inflammatory process whose discomforts may be eliminated with these plants.
Toothache: Medicinal herbs can produce a local analgesic effect when applied in mouth rinses. Thus, the undesirable side effects of internally used analgesics (injected, taken orally, etc.) are avoided. The actual treatment of tooth inflammation that causes toothache must never be put off.
Gumboil: Besides an antibiotic treatment, fig or other plant poultices may be applied to accelerate the ripening of the abscesses or boil.
Pyorrhea, Gingivitis, and Parodontosis: From an etymological standpoint, pyorrhea means “pus flow,” though it is only used to name the discharge of pus from the gums. Gums are separated from the teeth, and the teeth loosen and fall out.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums, usually caused by pyorrhea.
Parodontosis is a broader term that includes all conditions able to alter the adherence of teeth to the jaw bone, the most frequent of which is pyorrhea.
These conditions demand specialized periodontal treatment. Mouth rinses with these herbs serve as a hygienic complement to such treatment.
Herbs for Stomatitis
Stomatitis is the inflammation of the mucosal tissue that covers the interior of the oral cavity. Mouth rinses with any of these herbs may contribute to the treatment of stomatitis. To completely heal this disease, its causes must previously be eliminated. All these plants have astringent (dry mucous membrane), anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic actions in local application.
|Herb Robert||New Jersey tea||Clove tree||Bennet|
|Licorice||Myrtle||Common plantain||Garden violet|
|White dryas||Black alder||Chestnut||Willowherb|
|Garden raspberry||Black elder|
Rinses with infusions or decoctions of plants rich in tannins are beneficial for oral hygiene, such as, for instance, the infusion of leaves and flowers of garden raspberry or a decoction of leaves and the root bark of guava tree.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 186, 187, 188, 189. Print. [herbs for teeth and gums]