Home Remedies For Mouth Infection

home remedies for mouth infection

Just like any part of your body, infections can affect your teeth, gums, soft tissues and the tongue.  Home treatments are often sought for infections in the mouth. 

Globally, it is estimated that

  • 2 billion people suffer from caries of permanent teeth (1) 
  • 520 million children suffer from caries of primary teeth (1)
  • Severe periodontal diseases are estimated to affect around 14% of the global adult population, representing more than one billion cases worldwide (1)

This post aims to explain the home remedies for some of the common oral infections and when to seek help. 

Dental Caries

When plaque forms on the surface of a tooth it converts the sugar in foods and drinks into acids. These acids destroy the tooth enamel and subsequently the inner tooth layers over time resulting in tooth decay. 

Failure to disrupt the plaque each day, inadequate fluoride exposure and continuous exposure to excessive sugar lead to dental caries, pain and in some cases infection and tooth loss. 

Periodontal Disease

This inflammatory disease often referred to as an infection, is characterised by red, swollen, inflamed gums which may bleed. The main causes of periodontal disease are poor oral hygiene, diabetes and tobacco use.

An accumulation of harmful bacteria causes irritation of the gums in its early stages (gingivitis). 

If left untreated the gums separate from the teeth and the bacteria further initiate the gums as well as cause inflammation of periodontal ligaments (attach tooth roots to bone) and destruction of the alveolar bone which holds the teeth securely. At this stage, the disease is called periodontitis. 

If left untreated periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. 

Treatment Options for Decay and Periodontal Diseases

As dental caries and gum disease are both caused by bacteria which is allowed to build up on the teeth and along the gum line the best way to treat and prevent these ailments is with daily self-performed care at home treatments in combination with treatment from an expert dentist. 

At-Home Remedies for Mouth Infections

Developing and maintaining oral hygiene that is first-class is the most important home treatment in the fight against dental caries and periodontal disease at home. Self-care treatments at home not only help prevent disease but are essential if dental treatments are to be effective. 

Here’s how to treat the most common mouth infections at home

  • Use a Gum Pocket Brush to reach into the periodontal pockets harbouring harmful bacteria
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes
  • Use a small-headed soft toothbrush. An electric toothbrush may be more effective at removing plaque than a manual brush
  • Replace the brush head or toothbrush every 3 months
  • Clean the spaces between the teeth and under the gumline with a Gum Pocket Brush, interdental brushes, floss or water flossers each day
  • Avoid rinsing with water and mouthwash after brushing to increase exposure to fluoride
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You may see natural remedies such as oil pulling promoted on some sites online, however, there is no scientific evidence that these remedies work. If you choose to use a natural remedy they should only be used in combination with excellent oral hygiene and not used instead. 

Risk Factors

As well as ensuring you have excellent oral hygiene a number of lifestyle choices can increase your chances of developing decay periodontal disease. Risk factors include

  • Smoking, tobacco and vaping
  • Frequent consumption of free sugars (all sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices)
  • Uncontrolled blood sugars
  • Hormones (pregnancy, menopause, puberty)
  • Unhealthy diets
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

 Reducing or eliminating these risk factors and making healthy dietary choices can reduce your risk of developing dental caries and gum disease. 

Dental Treatments

Whilst home treatment and healthy lifestyle choices are vital in the prevention of both dental caries and periodontal disease, dental experts are necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of infections. 

Periodontal disease – Professional treatments include scaling and root planning to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and along the gum line. These treatments give your gums a chance to heal and recover. If the disease is more advanced you may require surgical procedures such as flap reduction, as well as bone and tissue grafts.

Dental Cavities –  Fluoride treatments may be prescribed to reverse early decay. If there is a hole in the tooth a filling may be required. If the decay is more advanced a root canal may be required. 

Home Remedies for Other Mouth Infections

Other mouth infections include oral cancer, thrush, hand foot and mouth disease, canker sores and oral herpes are other mouth infections.  

Here’s how to treat them at home.

Oral thrush – is usually treated with gel or liquid antifungal medicines that you apply directly inside your mouth (2)

Hand foot and mouth disease – this usually doesn’t require treatment as it gets better on its own within 7-10 days (3)

Canker sores –  treatment is not usually required as they often get better on their own within a couple of weeks. Over the counter treatments and some home remedies such as saltwater rinses, alum powder, baking soda, honey and milk of magnesia have been recommended online (4).

Oral Herpes / Cold Sores – essential oils, a cold compress and vitamin C are suggested online as home remedies (5) although oral and topical antivirals are effective over the counter medicines prescribed by medics to alleviate symptoms (6). 

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In Summary

There are a number of mouth infections and the home remedies available to treat them will depend on the infection you have. 

The most common oral health conditions that people seek help for are dental caries and periodontal disease. The best home remedy for these mouth infections is good oral hygiene, brushing the teeth twice a day and cleaning the interdental spaces with the correct technique. 

Sources – Home Remedies For Mouth Infection

  1. GBD Results
  2. Oral thrush in adults – Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform.
  3. Hand, foot and mouth disease – NHS
  4. Canker Sores: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Remedies
  5. https://www.everydayhealth.com/cold-sores/treatment/
  6. Oral Herpes | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Gareth Edwards image

Written by Gareth Edwards

Co-Founder & GDG Dentist

Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS (RCPS Glasgow) is GDG Co-Founder and Gum Disease Expert.

He is a practicing dentist based in Bournemouth, UK and has treated thousands of patients with gum-related diseases.

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