Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


Natural Remedy for Swollen Gums

I’ve been counting myself pretty lucky throughout my pregnancy.   I’m into my third trimester.  Aside from being tired and some mild swelling in my feet, life is pretty good.  That is, it was until last week.

Attack of the Swollen Gums

One night last week, I was flossing my teeth.  I noticed that my gums on my bottom row of teeth on the right hand side were very sore.  I didn’t think too much of it.  After all, I take good care of my teeth and I figured it was nothing to worry about.

The next night, as I was flossing, the discomfort had spread all the way up to my front teeth.  I took a look in the mirror and sure enough, my gums were inflamed and red.  Really, they looked quite angry.  Even worse, my teeth felt a little bit loose.

A quick look in my pregnancy book and I confirmed that this is a normal symptom of being pregnant.  Gums can swell and bleed, all as a result of raging hormones.  Apparently, that can happen even if you take great care of your teeth!  Ack!

Of course, the recommendation was to visit the dentist and let them deal with it before the infection spread. The only thing is, I really didn’t like the idea of going to the dentist.  It was bound to be a painful visit as they dug around, poking and prodding at my poor gums.  Surely, I could come up with a less painful and easier way to handle this?

How About a Natural Remedy?

The next day, I did a quick search online for natural remedies.  I found a couple of things, ranging from swishing salt water or warm lemon water around in my mouth to applying clove oil.  I wasn’t surprised to see any of these remedies listed.  Since then, here’s what I’ve been doing:

– gargling/swishing salt water every chance I get.

– gargling/swishing lemon water (One of my favorite drinks anyway!).

– changed out my toothbrush and swapped toothpastes (I had just started using a new one a couple of weeks ago) to one that I had used before.

– drinking lots of freshly pressed green juice!


Did it Work?

Yes!  It worked and I avoided the painful dentist visit!  After gargling with salt water a few times a day for the past week, and also having a few doses of lemon in warm water, the swelling disappeared and my gums feel great once again.  The most immediate indication that I was making progress was that my teeth stopped feeling loose almost immediately.

What A Great Feeling!

I don’t write this to advocate dentist-avoidance. Rather, I just wanted to share a successful home remedy that worked for me.  It’s a such a relief to be able to handle my own minor ailments, without being completely dependent on someone else.  Of course, had my gums gotten worse (or even stayed the same), I would have made that appointment to see my trusty dentist.


Tea Tree Oil – Nature’s First Aid


Tea Tree Oil is indigenous to eastern Australia’s tea trees.  It’s Latin name is Melaleuca alternifolia and it is also known as Australian tea tree oil or Melaleuca oil.

This oil has a strong camphor-like smell.  To be honest, it’s not my favorite scent.  However, it works great to clear a stuffy nose!

The oil itself is clear.  If you purchase it, be sure to get it in a dark glass bottle to  protect it from light that can reduce its potency.


Tea Tree Oil has long been used a natural remedy.  It has been used to treat acne, athlete’s foot, dandruff, and skin infections.  It should always be used in a diluted form and should not be ingested.

Tea Tree Oil is used in creams, shampoos, lotions and other skin care products. It’s even found in some toothpastes and mouthwashes.  These are considered safe since you should not be swallowing either the toothpaste or the mouthwash.

Tea Tree Oil is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Continue reading

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My mouth guard – one of my highly valued possessions

About 6 months ago, I started wearing a hard plastic mouth guard at night.  I was clenching my teeth at night and it was causing all kinds of pain in my jaw and on my front teeth.  There are many events that lead to the point when I had to get the mouth guard.  Those events took place over a seven year period and are the reason that today, my mouth guard is one of my highly valued possessions.   Today, I’m going to share that story with you.


Once upon a time, about seven years ago…

About seven years ago, I had a root canal on one of my front teeth.  The dentist I was seeing at the time told me that the root was dead and therefore, the tooth had to be removed immediately.  I believed him and scheduled the surgery immediately.  He put a cap on the tooth.  It took months to get the color right and I was relieved when he finally got rid of the temporary cap and installed the permanent one.  Little did I know that was the just the end of the beginning of this saga.

Over the next 18 months, the cap came off at least twice.  Once, it came off after I had taken a bite of a very soft samosa right before a day long hike.  I quickly glued it in with some toothpaste and then proceeded along with my day, determined not to let this tooth get the better of me.  Another time, it came out while I was spending the day in Banff, enjoying the mountains.  I had to go to the dentist for emergency visits both times.  After the last time, he told me that he made a more permanent solution, but didn’t really tell me what he had done (or perhaps I simply didn’t understand).  A few weeks after the “better” solution, the cap felt loose, again. That was the last straw for me and I finally switched dentists.

My new dentist quickly identified the problem with the cap.  There’s wasn’t enough of the original tooth to anchor the cap.  He suggested that we put in a bridge.  I wasn’t a huge fan of this because it meant shaving down two other teeth.  But, it was the only option I had (the space was too small to consider an implant).  We did that.  This process took a whole summer.  Without proper front teeth, I was limited to soup and other drinkable foods.  I can tell you, I certainly developed my soup making skills!

At the end of the summer, I was rewarded with a permanent cap.  It looked great and you’ve never know that I’d had so many issues with this tooth.  It took about two months for my gums to heal after it was put in.  Once again, I was relieved to have reached the end of this journey.

Just as I was transitioning back onto solid foods, I noticed that I was having a lot of pain in my jaw and my gums.  I was convinced that I had an infection in my gums and of course, I went straight back to my dentist.  He confirmed quickly that there was no infection. Rather, I had started to clench my teeth at night and this was causing the pain.  He made me a mouth guard to wear at night. Honestly, it was instant relief.  I wore it for a few months and everything seemed to be working.  I really thought that I was past my dental concerns.  Then, I noticed one morning that there was a space between my two front teeth.  It was gone by the end of the day, but back every morning, right after I took off the mouth guard.  Seriously?! Back to the dentist I went.  It seemed that the mouth guard wasn’t fitted quite right for my teeth and it was remodelling them each night!

Now, I have a new mouth guard.  It’s made of hard plastic. I’ve been wearing it for about 6 months and all is good.  In fact, I just had my very first issue-free check up (first time in 7 years) with my dentist last month.  It felt great.  Dare I say it…will I finally move on to happier dental times?

It’s been a long road, but the fact is, this mouth guard is now an integral part of my dental routine and general well-being!  It protects my jaw and my front teeth from significant discomfort.

My dentist advised not to brush it with toothpaste, but rather to soak it in mouthwash to clean it.  I’ve been soaking it in a regular mouth wash for a few minutes every morning to keep it clean and fresh.  My dentist had also recommended using Polident tablets.  Yet, after everything I have learned about more natural alternatives, I have since set out to find a simpler way to clean my very valuable mouth guard.

There are a few reasonable options available to you with items in your own home.  They include a mixture of water with any of vinegar, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide.  All seem to work well and better yet, do not contain things like thymol or methyl salicylate, both of which only get a Fair rating on the Skin Deep site.  The lovely part of making my own mouth wash is that I can flavour it with a couple drops of essential oil just the way I want.  Instead of using a product that simply lists, “flavour” as the ingredient, I know exactly what ingredients I have used to give it that fresh and clean smell and taste.

…and they (Alia and her mouth guard) lived happily ever after with no unnecessary chemicals…

If you made it through this whole saga, I applaud you.  After all the dentist visits I have made due to the infamous root canal of seven years ago, this mouth guard is a highly prized possession.  It ensures that all of the work that was done in my mouth to fix up my front tooth was worth it and comfortable.  Knowing that, I have a strong interest in keeping it clean and intact and not infusing it with extra unnecessary chemicals.  Does that mean buying bottles of mouth wash from Costco in bulk? Of course not.   There are far more inexpensive and natural ways to take good care of my mouth guard!