Healing bleeding, tender gums

I skipped going to the dentist for three years, and when I finally went, I had a few molar fillings that had decay underneath. They were old, from back when I was a teenager.

I also had several deep pockets. The worst one measured 6. One or 2 is considered good.

I got a couple of crowns to replace those decayed molars, and I got my teeth cleaned. My next appointment for cleaning was in 4 months. I was told to floss once daily and brush twice daily.

I vowed that I would floss every day. And I did. (I still usually just brush once, and again only if needed.)

Working with nutritionist/acupuncturist Olivia Honeycutt at Merritt Wellness, who was having me take Organically Bound Minerals, I also tightened my diet up — no grain, dairy,  or sugar.

When I went back four months later, the hygienist barely had any scraping to do because I had hardly any tartar.
I told her I’d stepped up to the plate on the flossing and was working with a nutritionist to reduce inflammation throughout my body.

The pocket that measured 6 now measured 4. Others had decreased as well, and none had increased. The hygienist was impressed enough to let me skip the scaling I was scheduled for. I’ve never had this done, but it didn’t sound appealing at all, so whew. Close call. I also saved $60.

I go back in four months. I vowed to do all I can to get all my pockets in the 1-2 range. That means flossing every day, of course, and continuing to work on reducing inflammation with my diet.

I added something new to my strategy: I put a drop of tea tree oil on my finger and run the floss through it, except for the ends. Then I floss. I make sure that I’m using clean floss between each pair of teeth and behind the back molars, so as not to spread bacteria.

Tea tree oil (melaleuca) is an essential oil that has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. You can buy tea tree floss, toothpicks, mouthwash, and dental picks. I just happened to have some tea tree essential oil on hand and decided to make my own tea tree floss.

I can tell a difference already. One pocket that bled when I flossed did not bleed the next day. Other pockets that felt a bit tender seem to have healed. I take extra care to floss more where the gum feels tender or bleeds.

The only precaution is not to swallow tea tree oil. It is considered safe for oral use, but it probably kills some of the good gut microbes. It tastes rather medicinal. You could also put a drop on your toothbrush or on top of your toothpaste.

From a magazine for dental hygienists:

It was found that tea tree oil showed significant adhesion-inhibiting activity against P. gingivalis and was one of the oils to show strong antibacterial activity against periodontopathic and cariogenic bacteria. It was also found to be safe on cells that line the mouth.

I also use a special toothbrush I got from OraWellness. It’s called the Bass toothbrush. It’s a bit softer and smaller than most toothbrushes sold now and is good for brushing along the gum line, brushing those bad bacteria away. (Do you remember those red tablets they gave out in grade school way back when, so you could see where to brush? All along the gumlines.)

I use the traditional technique hygienists teach for brushing, followed by the Bass technique of brushing along the gumline.

I’ll post after my next dental visit to let you know how well my strategy worked.

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