Coenzyme Q10. In one study, topical application of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to periodontal pockets significantly reduced gingivitis, bleeding gums, and pocket depths after 5 to 7 days of treatment.
Hydrogen peroxide, which is included in many brands of toothpaste, is valuable for its ability to reach bacteria hiding among gingival folds and gaps. Hydrogen peroxide is also added to some mouthwashes to reduce gingivitis and whiten teeth Hydrogen peroxide has been used effectively for years in dentistry.
Essential Oils. Mouth rinses containing essential oils such as eucalyptus oil and menthol significantly reduced both gingival inflammation and bleeding when used in conjunction with fluoride toothpaste. Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is an antiseptic, fungicide, and bactericide that is effective against oral bacteria. Tea tree oil, used as an oral rinse, has been proven to kill bacteria (Kulik 2000). In fact, research has shown that a tea tree oil concentration of 0.6% inhibited 14 of 15 oral types of bacteria. In one study, 49 subjects age 18 to 60 years with severe, chronic gingivitis were divided into groups, one of which was given a gel containing tea tree oil to apply with a toothbrush twice daily. The tea tree oil group had improved gingival index and papillary bleeding index scores attributed to the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Folic Acid. Mouthwash containing folic acid is effective in treating gingivitis and its accompanying inflammation. Among pregnant women, who are prone to gingivitis, folate mouthwash has proven superior to oral folate supplementation in preventing gingivitis.
Green Tea. Green tea extract is rich in a class of antioxidants called catechins. Two in particular, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG), combat oral plaque and bacteria.
Pomegranate. Researchers are finding important applications for pomegranate in the field of dental health. Clinical studies have shown that this popular antioxidant vigorously attacks the causes of tooth decay at the biochemical level. Pomegranate attacks bacteria where they live. Research shows that by interfering with production of chemicals the bacteria use as “glue”, pomegranate extract suppresses bacteria’s ability to adhere to the surface of the tooth.
Cranberry, may offer important benefits for healthy teeth and gums. The berries contain a special chemical that may inhibit and even reverse the formation of dental plaque deposits that often lead to tooth decay. Cranberry constituents may also help reduce inflammation in gingival or gum tissues, which could offer protection against periodontitis. These promising findings suggest that cranberry may soon find a place in dental health care regimens.
Xylitol Pure xylitol, a white crystalline substance that resembles and tastes like sugar, is found naturally in fruits such as plums, strawberries, and raspberries. Xylitol is used commercially to sweeten sugarless gum and candies. Xylitol has also been shown to inhibit the formation of plaque. In a double-blind and controlled study, Swedish researchers had 128 children chew gum containing either xylitol or the sweeteners sorbitol and maltitol, 3 times daily for 4 weeks. While both were effective against the buildup of dental plaque, only the xylitol-sweetened gum eliminated microbes found in saliva, particularly a strain of bacteria implicated in tooth deca. Xylitol could thus be an essential ingredient in a targeted strategy to avert dental disease.
Probiotics have been defined as “living microorganisms which upon ingestion in certain numbers exert health benefits beyond inherent general nutrition”. Scientists have been interested in the makeup of microbes that live in the mouth (oral flora) for decades, seeking to identify factors that promote growth of healthy organisms and reduce growth of those implicated in disease and inflammation. Probiotics improve oral health and can help change the stubborn composition of dental biofilm and plaque Reducing plaque through teeth brushing is always a desirable goal; however, complete elimination is not possible. Therefore, changing the actual composition of plaque from an inflammatory cytokine-rich environment to a more benign environment (dominated by neutral or even helpful organisms) can contribute to overall systemic health.
Lactoferrin. Lactoferrin, a naturally occurring antimicrobial agent, is found in saliva and gingival fluid, breast milk, tears, and other bodily fluids. This protein is a well-known immune system booster involved in the body’s responses to infection, trauma, and injury. Lactoferrin may bind to and slow the growth of periodontitis-associated bacteria. In an animal study, locally applied lactoferrin powder appeared to support the healing of oral lesions.
Aloe Vera. Aloe vera gel packings are sometimes used by dentists after tooth extraction to reduce the incidence of infection and dry socket. They have also been shown to reduce the risk of developing ulcers in the mouth.
Propolis. A 20% ethanol propolis extract was compared to antifungal agents such as nystatin, clotrimazole, econazole, and fluconazole in a study designed to assess the susceptibility of Candida albicans, an oral bacteria. The researchers concluded that the propolis extract could be an alternative medicine in treating candidiasis, but further studies were needed.