In recent years numerous studies on aloe vera have indicated that it might be the next big anti-plaque product in our medicine cabinets. Besides its natural skin-hydrating and healing properties, aloe vera may also contain properties to control plaque, reduce gingivitis and even decrease the pain from canker sores.
Aloe vera has been used since the first century and today it’s used mainly in cosmetics, sunburn medications and many herbal and alternative medicines. Some 6000 years ago stone carvings from ancient Egypt show images of aloe vera where they refer to it as the “plant of immortality.” In the 1990s, research resulted in conflicting and contradicting studies about the use of aloe vera for medicinal purposes. But recent research and a cumulative review reveal there may be more to this popular succulent plant than first thought.
Why Aloe Vera in Important to Dentistry
Perhaps of more interest to the dental community than any other property of aloe vera is its potential to reduce gingivitis or plaque. Published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology in 2012, this double-blind study had all the 120 subjects participating abstain from oral hygiene for two weeks. The researchers divided the subjects into three groups; group A who received a solution of 100% pure aloe vera, group B received a placebo of distilled water and group C who received a solution of chlorhexidine. After the 7th, 14th and 22nd days, the researchers assessed plaque accumulation and bleeding. The aloe vera mouthwash showed significant reduction of plaque and gingivitis to be considered quite effective.
An earlier study of 15 participants with moderate periodontitis revealed the effectiveness of aloe vera on the reduction of periodontal pockets on patients who have completed rooting and scaling procedures. The results of this 2011 study indicate that aloe vera reduced the bleeding, inflammation and swelling of the gum tissue. As a mouthwash agent, researchers concluded that it was effective in reaching areas of the gum pockets where cleaning was difficult. With its natural antibacterial properties, aloe vera accelerated the healing process, and researchers found no long-term or short-term adverse effects in its use.
But Aloe Vera as a potential mouthwash wasn’t the only dental product under consideration. How does aloe vera tooth paste sound to you? Can it compare with the commercial OTC toothpastes?
In 2009 a peer-reviewed study in General Dentistry, published by Academy of General Dentistry, researchers put aloe vera to the test. They compared a concoction of aloe vera gel against two popular toothpastes to reveal that the germ-fighting aloe vera was just as effective in reducing plaque. Since aloe vera in its gel state is less abrasive; it would be a great alternative to people who suffer from sensitive teeth or gums.
Not all Aloe Vera Toothpaste Gels Are Equal
If you’re considering an herbal toothpaste alternative and would like to give aloe vera a try, be aware that not all products with aloe vera are the same. To be truly effective, the aloe vera gel toothpaste must adhere to very specific manufacturing standards. Any heat or filtration procedures applied to the aloe vera component can cause it to breakdown and destroy the essential elements that make the gel a great anti-plaque fighter. If you’re unsure of a product be sure to check out the ADA website at www.mouthhealthy.org, where you can look up any of the products currently on the market to check if it’s been approved by the American Dental Association. And never ever purchase a dental product without the ADA seal of approval.
At Dr. Mark Langberg, DDS MAGD PC, your dental health is why we’re in business. We love to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have about your dental regimen. Don’t put off getting the help you need. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a very big difference in your oral health. If you should have any questions about the dental products you’re using, give us a call at 248-356-8790 and discover the difference a great dentist can make!
Until Next Time,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790