Why wash your mouth with chemicals, when natural, time-tested herbal remedies have been proven to work at least as well?
According to the American Academy of Periodontology , “one in every two adults age 30 and older is suffering from periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease.” That’s close to 65 million Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis can be prevented with proper daily oral hygiene.
When undergoing surgical dental procedures as part of treatment for gingivitis or periodontitis, a chlorhexidine based mouthwash or rinse might be prescribed. Chlorhexidine kills bacteria and reduces plaque, while being active long enough in the mouth to be effective . However, it stains teeth and the tongue after long-term use, it eliminates beneficial bacteria in the mouth, and can cause mouth or throat irritation .
How Could Herbs Compete?
Herbs have been employed to maintain oral health in traditional societies for thousands of years. The chemical complexity that a single herb delivers, let alone an herbal formula containing multiple herbs, is staggering. A single herb contains thousands of different phytochemicals, orchestrating a suite of effects in the body in subtle ways. This is why herbs tend to have an extensive list of different actions associated to them.
A number of studies have come out comparing herb-based mouthwashes against chlorhexidineacross a variety of standard metrics that measure plaque levels, inflammation, and other attributes relevant to gum diseases.
According to a study published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice ,
“…it can be concluded that chlorhexidine gluconate as well as turmeric mouthwash can be effectively used as an adjunct to mechanical plaque control methods in prevention of plaque and gingivitis.”
The study measured 3 metrics:
- Plaque Index (PI) which assesses the level of plaque
- Gingival Index (GI) assesses severity of gingivitis
- Total Microbial Count, which assesses the level of microbes
While it seemed like turmeric was not able to compete, with respect to the Plaque Index, it was as good as chlorexdine with respect to the Gingival Index and the Total Microbial Count. This is yet another way to use the colorful Indian spice turmeric.
The turmeric mouthwash consisted of 10mg of curcumin extract dissolved in 100ml of water. Curcumin is one of the main active ingredients in turmeric and a tremendous amount of research has been conducted on it.