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NEWS AND FILLER  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55-56
Use of herbs in preventive dental care


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Malla Reddy Dental College for Women, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Vishnu Dental College, Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh, India

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Date of Web Publication17-Aug-2016
 

   Abstract 

Most of the Indians live in rural India where modern allopathic medicines are unavailable. Use of herbal medicine has been increased recently. Many of herbal products have medicinal properties that reduce inflammation, irritation, and infection related to oral cavity with minimal adverse effects on health when compared to allopathic medicines. Herbs may be good alternatives to current treatments for oral health problems, but it is clear that we need more research.

Keywords: Aloe vera, gingivitis, oral health, prevention

How to cite this article:
Anitha A, Praveen G. Use of herbs in preventive dental care. J Educ Ethics Dent 2015;5:55-6

How to cite this URL:
Anitha A, Praveen G. Use of herbs in preventive dental care. J Educ Ethics Dent [serial online] 2015 [cited 2017 Oct 21];5:55-6. Available from: http://www.jeed.in/text.asp?2015/5/2/55/188571


"Prevention is better than cure" is best applicable for oral diseases. Most of the oral diseases such as dental caries and periodontal diseases are chronic infectious preventable diseases, but still they are highly prevalent among all chronic diseases. [1] Oral health problems affect the quality of life. The relation between oral diseases and microorganisms of the oral cavity is well established. Over 750 species of bacteria inhabit, the oral cavity and a number of these are implicated in occurrence and progression of oral diseases. [2] Prevention of oral diseases can be done by maintaining proper oral hygiene to reduce disease occurrence bacteria and also by use of antibiotics.

There is an increased resistance to antibiotics, and adverse effects of some antibacterial agents currently used in dentistry lead to nausea, vomiting, sometimes fatal conditions such as anaphylactic reactions and death. However, to maintain oral hygiene with the help of modern toothbrushes, chemical aids such as toothpaste and mouthwashes are considered as economic burden in underdeveloped countries, especially in rural areas; hence, there is a need for alternative prevention and treatment options which are safe, effective, and economical.

In olden days, herbs were used as medicines to cure diseases such as hypertension and also be used as oral hygiene aids for prevention of oral infections. Use of herbal medicine has been increased recently. Modern oral hygiene aids such as toothbrush and toothpicks have been evolved from chewing sticks, which were prepared from a variety of plant species such as Acacia and Azadirachta which have antiplaque and antimicrobial properties, are customarily used for cleaning teeth. More than 60% of the Chinese use herbal therapy and a significant part of the rural population in the Indian subcontinent relies on indigenous medical systems that use herbs, ash, and heavy metals till date. [3] The availability, affordability, and religious or traditional associations of chewing sticks made them popular through modern era. These are effective instead of toothbrush and toothpaste which are not economical when compared to these natural products.

Most of the Indians live in rural India where modern allopathic medicines are unavailable; although these products are less available, they are not affordable by the rural people. Hence, to maintain oral hygiene to prevent oral infections, use of herbal products is being suggested which are readily available in rural India. Peppermint, sage, clove oil, Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) oil, and salt have been used as mouthwash to relieve gum inflammation and bad breath instead of using commercially available mouthwashes which may have adverse effects such as teeth and tongue staining in long-term use. Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) leaves and miswak (Salvadora persica) roots are effective in treating common oral infections and maintaining oral hygiene when chewed. Miswak affects the C3T3 fibroblasts and is an antibacterial agent for Streptococcus mutans. [4] Aloe vera also has medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral which accelerates wound healing and helps in treating various lesions in oral cavity. [5] Many of herbal products have medicinal properties that reduce inflammation, irritation, and infection with minimal adverse effects on health when compared to allopathic medicines. Sharma and Joshi have reported the use of thirty species of medicinal plants in Almora district, with five of these plant species being used by the local people for dental health care. [6]

Among the reported plants, leaves were the dominant parts in oral care uses (25.44%), followed by root (20.17%), seed/nut/fruit (18.42%), bark (14.03%), young stem/stem/rachis (12.28%), whole plant (9.65%), and gum/latex (8.77%). Among the utilization, most of the plants were used to relieve from toothache (29.82%) followed by used as dentifrice/toothbrush (25.43%), mouthwash/gargle (16.66%), against common dental diseases (14.03%), mouth-related stomatitis/ulcer/gingivitis (12.28%), and gum bleeding/disorders (10.53%). The mode of utilization of these plants is either in the form of gargle of decoction of plant parts, powder of dried material, or toothbrush. Disadvantages of using herbs in oral disease prevention can be overcome by dental professional's provision of instructions on use of natural products in their day-to-day practice. [7]

To conclude, it is suggested to educate public toward the usage of herbal products to prevent oral diseases. There is a need to rethink of using herbal medicines in dentistry which is the best alternative to allopathic medicines to minimize the adverse effects of chemicals and antibiotics which have been using to maintain oral health in the modern world.

On the other side, there is an urgent need for a use of evidence-based herbal dentistry and the efficacy and safety of herbal remedies in oral diseases, and also, need for the section on each herbal preparation contains information on uses, pharmacology, evidence, adverse effects, and interactions and cautions, along with dosages, and a summary of herbs that are useful in dentistry. The accumulation of evidence is a dynamic and rapid process with many new clinical trials of herbal remedies being undertaken and published each year. As a result, evidence-based herbal medicine lacks the original contribution of more recent trials on herbal products. Herbs may be good alternatives to current treatments for oral health problems, but it is clear that we need more research.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
   References Top

1.
Benjamin RM. Oral health: The silent epidemic. Public Health Rep 2010;125:158-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Jenkinson HF, Lamont RJ. Oral microbial communities in sickness and in health. Trends Microbiol 2005;13:589-95.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Steenkamp V. Traditional herbal remedies used by South African women for gynaecological complaints. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;86:97-108.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Ayub F, Thomas B, Paulaian B, Emil J. Herbs and dental caries - A review. Univ J Pharm 2013;2:18-21.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Sajjad A, Sajjad SS, "Aloe vera: An Ancient Herb for Modern Dentistry - A Literature Review," Journal of Dental Surgery 2014;2014:6. Article ID 210463, doi:10.1155/2014/210463. [Last accessed on 2016 Apr 14].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Sharma V, Joshi BD. Bio-diversity of medicinal plants in some selected areas of Almora district. J Environ Biosci 2008;22:39-42.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Jiang P, Cui M, Zhao B, Liu Z, Snyder LA, Benard LM, et al. Lactisole interacts with the transmembrane domains of human T1R3 to inhibit sweet taste. J Biol Chem 2005;280:15238-46.  Back to cited text no. 7
    

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Correspondence Address:
Akkaloori Anitha
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Malla Reddy Dental College for Women, Hyderabad, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-7761.188571

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