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DIY Dental Care: Can You Treat Gum Disease at Home?

‘Can you treat gum disease at home?’ is a question commonly posed to dentists within the UK. It’s important to visit your dentist if you spot any early signs of gum disease, so you can take steps to rectify the issue as quickly as possible. However, if you’re unable to find an appointment, you may want to consider trying some home remedies in the meantime.

Gum disease (otherwise known as periodontal disease) is one of the most common oral health issues in the UK, with the NHS estimating that most adults suffer from the disease. Because of how widespread the condition is, we’ve created this guide to give you a greater understanding of how you can manage gum disease at home. 

If you’ve already undergone formal treatment for gum disease and you believe your dentist may have acted negligently, you may be eligible to open a dental negligence claim.

To get started, please contact our expert team here or call us for free at 0800 152 2032.

Gum Disease: An Introduction

As gum disease is so common, there’s a possibility that you might have a form of the condition, even if it’s classed as mild gum disease. Advanced stages of the disease can also lead to more serious health issues, with gum disease sufferers being two to three times more likely to have a heart attack than people without the condition.

Gum disease is an oral health issue that leads to your gums becoming swollen, sore or infected. In the early stages of the disease, it’s usually known as gingivitis, developing into a more serious condition called periodontitis if not treated appropriately. Once it gets to a certain point, gum disease can be classed as irreversible, so it’s important to make note of the signs and symptoms as soon as you become aware of them. 

Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate gum disease:

  • Bleeding gums after flossing/brushing your teeth
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Regular gum infections
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Loose teeth and difficulty eating
  • Gum abscesses
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth

Of course, every situation is different and your symptoms may differ from the ones listed above, particularly if you’re still in the early stages of the condition. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, you should speak to your dentist to get a diagnosis. 

If gum disease is left untreated, the following complications can arise:

  • Receding gums
  • Permanent damage to the teeth, jaw and gums
  • Loose or wobbly teeth
  • Serious gum infections
  • Severe pain and constant discomfort
  • Heart disease and other health risks

However, having some of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have gum disease. For example, gum disease pain may feel similar to pain caused by other oral health conditions, so it’s important to try and speak to your dentist for a professional diagnosis.

The Big Question: Can You Treat Gum Disease at Home?

The good news is that you can treat gum disease at home, depending on how advanced the health condition is. In the early stages (such as gingivitis), your dentist may recommend following a strict oral hygiene regimen, including brushing your teeth twice a day with regular flossing.

Companies like Corsodyl manufacture specific gum disease toothpaste and mouthwashes, which may help reduce plaque build-up. However, whilst you can use these remedies at home, it’s still important to speak to your dentist to see what treatments they recommend.

The Importance of a Professional Diagnosis

Whilst you can treat gum disease at home, you should still get a professional diagnosis completed by a dentist if possible. 

Not only will they be able to tell you definitively whether you have gum disease, but they’ll also be able to recommend the appropriate treatment and give you information about which stage of periodontal disease you have. 

Your oral health can also have a major impact on your overall physical health, as people with poor oral hygiene may have an increased risk of:


  • Strokes
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Giving birth to a premature baby

Without proper diagnosis and treatment, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other, more serious health conditions, showing just how important a professional diagnosis is. 

Effective Home Remedies for Treating Gum Disease

Whilst your dentist should always be your first port of call with oral health conditions, there are several home remedies you can use to help with your gum disease symptoms. As previously stated, using specially formulated gum disease toothpaste and mouthwash may help to limit the damage done by periodontal disease.

Home remedies that may help you treat gum disease include:

  • Salt water – Salt water is an effective option for treating oral health conditions as it’s a natural disinfectant. Gargling salt water can eliminate bacteria and heal inflammation, causing fluids to move away from the affected areas.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic, helping to prevent infections and kill off bacteria. 3% solutions can be purchased from many pharmacies, which should be diluted with 50% water. However, as hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous, you must try not to swallow it – specific mouthwashes containing hydrogen peroxide exist, so you may want to consider purchasing them instead.
  • Aloe vera – Research has been carried out to suggest that aloe vera can prevent gum disease. It’s effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis, as well as reducing the chance of bleeding gums. It’s important to purchase the right type of aloe vera, as only a few species of the plant are useful for dental care.

However, whilst these home remedies may help to prevent gum disease, it’s important to speak to your dentist as well, so they can assess the condition and advise whether further treatment is needed.

The Role of Proper Brushing and Flossing

Of course, whilst home remedies can be useful in limiting the effects of gum disease, proper brushing and flossing are much more important. You should brush your teeth twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening), and flossing should also be carried out regularly. 

Both brushing and flossing help to remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth, which is the primary cause of gum disease. Bacteria can reproduce rather quickly, so it’s crucial that you follow a consistent oral hygiene routine.

When Home Care Isn’t Enough: The Risk of DIY Dental Work

There have been rare cases of individuals conducting their own DIY dental work at home to try and treat oral health conditions. Whilst you can follow the steps listed above, we do not recommend conducting surgery of any kind yourself.

You can apply home remedies and cleanse your mouth effectively at home, but you should never attempt anything more serious, such as pulling out a tooth or fitting a crown. DIY dentistry can have incredibly severe ramifications and may lead to more serious issues if surgery is not carried out by a trained professional.

Finding a New Dentist: Our Top Tips

In recent years, concerns have been raised about the current shortage of NHS dentists, leading to a certain proportion of the population going without treatment for long periods of time. Whilst some private dentists have spaces available for new patients, they’re usually more expensive than NHS practices, leading to many people going without adequate dental care each year. 

Certain parts of the country have been classified as ‘dental deserts’, which means that none of the NHS dentists within those areas are taking on new patients. This has led to a prominent decline in oral hygiene in pockets of the UK, with 4/5 dentists noting increased rates of tooth decay across the nation.

If you’re struggling to find a dentist local to you, these tips may help:

    • Don’t change dentists unless you have to – If you’d like to change dentists but you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to find a new one, you may want to consider staying with your current dentist until you source a different one. 
  • Contact NHS England – If you’re unable to find a dentist through the NHS’ online service, you can call NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233. NHS England is the organisation that commissions dentists in England – they have a duty of care to source both routine and urgent dental services for people in their locality.
  • Contact Healthwatch – Your local Healthwatch may also be able to help you source a local dentist.

Have You Suffered from Dental Negligence During Gum Disease Treatment?

We hope that the question, ‘Can you treat gum disease at home?’, has been sufficiently answered for you here. There are several ways in which you can effectively treat periodontal disease at home – particularly if you’re still in the early stages of the condition. 

However, we would still recommend speaking to your dentist if you notice the signs of gum disease, so you can ensure you’re getting the most effective treatment for your needs. If you’ve already had treatment carried out and you suspect you’ve endured dental negligence, you may be able to open a personal injury claim against your dentist.

At the Dental Law Partnership, we’re an experienced team of dentists and solicitors, using our expertise to seek justice for every client who works with us. 

To find out more about how we can help you, please request a callback here.