7 Natural Remedies for Healthy Gums

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Neem, tea tree oil, and cranberry are a few remedies that may help you improve your gum health naturally.

If you try them, they should be added to an oral hygiene routine that also includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing often, and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups.

This article reviews the causes of gum disease and discusses some of the natural remedies and lifestyle strategies that can help keep your gums healthy, according to some studies.

Keep in mind that these are not replacements for standard oral care. They also require consistent use; no remedy can strengthen your gums overnight.

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Causes of Gum Disease

In your mouth, bacteria are constantly forming a sticky substance called plaque on your teeth. Brushing and flossing can help you get rid of plaque, but the substance can also harden and, in turn, form another substance called tartar.

In many cases, the buildup of plaque and tartar can lead to the development of gingivitis, a condition marked by inflammation of the gums.

When left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis (inflammation around the teeth). Periodontitis can cause tooth loss and has been linked to heart disease in a number of studies.


Neem extract from an evergreen tree native to India has been found to possess antibacterial properties. Research on neem and gum health includes a small study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2014.

For this study, 105 children (ages 12 to 15) used mouthwashes containing neem, mango, or chlorhexidine (CHX), an antiseptic found in many types of mouthwash, twice a day for three weeks.

Results revealed that all three types of mouthwash were effective in reducing plaque and inhibiting gingivitis.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil may aid in the treatment of gingivitis, according to a 2022 review of existing literature. The researchers concluded that tea tree oil is superior to CHX in reducing inflamed gums, while CHX was more effective at inhibiting plaque formation.

If you're thinking of using tea tree oil for gum health, choose a toothpaste that contains this essential oil as an ingredient. Ingesting undiluted tea tree oil (or using homemade tea tree oil tooth remedies) can be toxic.


Some research shows that cranberry may help thwart gum disease by preventing bacteria from sticking to your teeth.

A 2018 study in the journal Nutrition Research, for example, found that consuming a liquid containing cranberry extract improved gum health in people with gingivitis who were also undergoing treatment by a periodontist.

In addition, the researchers noted that the drink did not promote dental cavities.

Vitamin C

There's evidence that vitamin C could play a role in protecting gum health, according to a 2019 review of existing studies that looked at the relationship between blood levels of vitamin C and periodontitis.

The patients with lower blood levels of vitamin C showed a greater progression of periodontal disease than those with higher vitamin C levels.

For help filling up on vitamin C, include foods such as grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, mango, papaya, strawberry, red pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe in your diet.

Ask your healthcare professional for advice on whether you should take supplements.

Oil Pulling

A remedy long used in Ayurveda, oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (such as coconut oil or sesame oil) around in your mouth for about 15 minutes at a time.

A 2019 study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that oil pulling with coconut oil seems to inhibit plaque growth as effectively as CHX. In addition, it caused less tooth staining than CHX.

A 2022 meta-analysis, however, concluded that oil pulling with coconut oil had no significant effect on gum health or plaque prevention.


Along with using good oral hygiene practices, you can preserve your oral health by following a diet high in calcium-rich foods and low in sugary foods and beverages. Sugary foods attract bacteria that can lead to gingivitis.

Drinking water with and after a meal can help reduce this bacteria buildup.


Avoiding smoking (and any other form of tobacco use) can significantly lower your risk of developing gum disease. Smoking and tobacco have negative effects on all aspects of dental and oral health, including contributing to receding gums.

There's also some evidence that managing your stress can help keep your gums healthy. It is believed that stress can alter the immune response and affect the body's ability to fight bacteria buildup.


Some research has shown that some natural substances, including tea tree oil and vitamin C, can contribute to healthy gums and help prevent gingivitis and periodontitis.

However, these methods should not replace tried-and-true oral hygiene habits, such as brushing twice daily, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Periodontology. Gum disease information.

  2. Sanz M, Marco Del Castillo A, Jepsen S. Periodontitis and cardiovascular diseases: Consensus report. J Clin Periodontol. 2020 Mar;47(3):268-288. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.13189

  3. Sharma R, Hebbal M, Ankola AV, Murugaboopathy V, Shetty SJ. Effect of two herbal mouthwashes on gingival health of school children. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014;4(4):272-8. doi:10.4103/2225-4110.131373

  4. Singh N, Puzhankara L, Kedlaya MN, Ramanarayanan V. Effectiveness of tea tree oil versus chlorhexidine in the treatment of periodontal diseases: a systematic review. Evid Based Dent. 2022 Jul 12. doi: 10.1038/s41432-022-0259-6

  5. Woźniewicz M, Nowaczyk PM, Kurhańska-Flisykowska A, et al. Consumption of cranberry functional beverage reduces gingival index and plaque index in patients with gingivitis. Nutr Res. 2018 Oct;58:36-45. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2018.06.011

  6. Tada A, Miura H. The relationship between vitamin C and periodontal diseases: A systematic review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jul 11;16(14):2472. doi:10.3390/ijerph16142472

  7. Sezgin Y, Memis Ozgul B, Alptekin NO. Efficacy of oil pulling therapy with coconut oil on four-day supragingival plaque growth: A randomized crossover clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Dec;47:102193. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102193

  8. Peng TR, Cheng HY, Wu TW, Ng BK. Effectiveness of oil pulling for improving oral health: A meta-analysis. Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Oct 11;10(10):1991. doi:10.3390/healthcare10101991

  9. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Healthy nutrition for healthy teeth.

  10. American Dental Association. Tobacco use and cessation.

  11. Goyal S, Gupta G, Thomas B, Bhat KM, Bhat GS. Stress and periodontal disease: The link and logic!!Ind Psychiatry J. 2013;22(1):4–11. doi:10.4103/0972-6748.123585

Additional Reading
  • Asokan S1, Rathan J, Muthu MS, Rathna PV, Emmadi P; Raghuraman; Chamundeswari. "Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study." J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2008 Mar;26(1):12-7.

  • Deinzer R1, Hilpert D, Bach K, Schawacht M, Herforth A. "Effects of academic stress on oral hygiene--a potential link between stress and plaque-associated disease?" J Clin Periodontol. 2001 May;28(5):459-64.

  • Peedikayil FC1, Sreenivasan P2, Narayanan A3. "Effect of coconut oil in plaque-related gingivitis - A preliminary report." Niger Med J. 2015 Mar-Apr;56(2):143-7.

By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.