How to treat gingivitis at home

Sensitive gums and looking to treat your gingivitis at home? Good news is you’ve come to the right place! We’ve done all the research to find the most effective home treatments for gingivitis! First, let’s talk about its causes so we can dive into how to treat gingivitis at home!

What’s gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is a common oral health condition, affecting nearly half of all adults in the United States. Gingivitis is a bacterial infection that causes gum inflammation. This bacterial infection is caused by an imbalance of microbes in the mouth, called oral microbiome dysbiosis.

The bacteria that cause gingivitis are anaerobes, meaning they can only survive in the absence of oxygen, which is how they grow so well at the gumline. As these bacteria grow, they create a biofilm, or dental plaque, which houses them and protects them from the environment. This becomes tartar as it ages and calcifies, leaving a habitat for more anaerobes to grow. The bacteria within the plaque, such as Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Tannerella forsythia grow to high abundances in this dental plaque, leading to worse gum inflammation.

While mild symptoms such as bleeding and irritated gums may be easy to dismiss, gingivitis can quickly progress to periodontal disease, an irreversible stage of gum disease if left untreated. So you’ve come to the right place to treat gingivitis and avoid more severe symptoms in the future!

How can you treat gingivitis at home?

Clinical studies have shown that a few diet, hygiene, and lifestyle changes can improve symptoms of gingivitis and can aid in healing inflamed gums. In some cases, you can completely reverse gingivitis.


Here are some mouthwash ingredients to look out for that have been shown to improve symptoms of gingivitis and improve the oral microbiome.

  • Chlorine dioxide. This is a potent antimicrobial that attacks anaerobic bacteria through oxidation, a chemical process that stresses bacterial cells and kills them.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. H2O2 is also an oxidizer that causes oxidative stress in microbes and has higher activity against anaerobic bacteria.
  • Mouthwash with essential oils may also be effective at reducing gingivitis symptoms and preventing accumulation of plaque. You can read more in our post about the essential oils in mouthwash.

Oral probiotics

You can read more details in our guide to dental probiotics and oral probiotics. Oral probiotics generally can help boost the

In summary:

  • L. reuteri DSM 17938 and ATCC PTA 5289 have been shown to improve symptoms of gingivitis in multiple clinical trials. A few dental probiotics that contain them are: SuperTeeth and Prodentis.

Diet changes

  • Reduce simple sugars. Sugars are easily metabolized by the bacteria in your mouth, and can worsen oral dysbiosis. By contrast, complex starches are not easily metabolized, and microbes require more energy to break them down and use them to grow. Reducing simple carbohydrates and increasing dietary fiber has been shown to improve gingivitis (1, 2).
  • Omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3s are important components of diet because humans are unable to synthesize it themselves. Studies have shown an anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids, and meta-analysis of multiple clinical trials demonstrated an improvement in gum disease.
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common, leading to bone and immune deficiencies. Vitamin D is vital to the immune system, can promote healing. and can decrease risk of gingivitis.
  • Antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids). Antioxidants can limit the damage caused by gingival inflammation, and can restore balance to the microbial community in plaque at the gumline.
  • Increase nitrate (beets, kale, leafy greens). Nitrate is a prebiotic that has been shown to improve the oral microbiome. In some studies, nitrate shifted the microbiome composition from an anaerobic dominated community to more aerobic commensal species.

Oral hygiene routine

  • Floss daily! Research shows that once daily proper flossing significantly improves bleeding gums caused by gingivitis.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking, whether traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes, can worsen gingivitis symptoms by impairing your immune system and causing oral microbiome dysbiosis.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles can worsen symptoms and cause gum recession.

How can you tell if gingivitis is healing?

  • Reduced gum bleeding
  • Reduced redness in gums
  • Reduced bad breath
  • Less soreness in the gums

It’s often very difficult to know whether gingivitis is healing, as symptoms can be light and spotty. Fortunately, there is another way to tell if your oral health is improving! And that’s with oral microbiome testing:

Oral microbiome testing

You can test your oral microbiome to track improvements as you change your diet and oral hygiene routine. Each person’s oral microbiome is unique, and risk for gingivitis is dependent on the microbes in their oral microbiome. Find out which beneficial bacteria you lack, and which harmful pathogens you’re harboring, and specific ways to improve with a Bristle comprehensive oral microbiome test.

The Oral Health Probiotic

6 clinically & scientifically studied probiotic strains proven to help maintain oral health & fight bacteria that cause bad breath & gum inflammation

3.5B CFU for high bacterial concentration & impactful delivery

Xylitol instead of sugar to fight cavities-causing bacteria & lower your risk for tooth decay

All-natural ingredients & flavors to keep it delicious

Are you currently experiencing oral symptoms? Examples include halitosis (bad breath), gingivitis and gum disease.

We recommend taking our probiotic twice daily for 1-3 months to combat the harmful bacteria driving your symptoms. Then you can switch to once daily!

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