Environment & Economy 143 Views

Ditch your toxic-laden toothpaste! Here’s a natural way to control dental plaque

Science has consistently linked oral health to overall well-being. How you take care of that hole in your face affects how well you feel in general. It seems strange, then, that people take care of such an important body part by filling it with toxic chemicals.

Most people have heard of chlorhexidine, the most common mouthwash ingredient in the market today. The media would have you believe that this chemical is completely safe, aside from having a powerful antimicrobial effect. However, several clinical studies have suggested that the effectiveness of this chemical in promoting oral health is limited at best.

The controversy surrounding the use of chlorhexidine as a means of promoting oral hygiene has led researchers to look for alternative natural ways – that is, ingredients that can kill bacteria, prevent plaque, and protect the mouth without (or very little) side effects.

The answer may lie in a natural mouthwash containing both green tea and Miswak (Salvadora persica L.). Researchers examined the effects these two items had on plaque formation, following an earlier clinical trial performed by the same team that showed the pair’s efficiency in reducing plaque adherence and bacteria growth in the mouth.

As part of the double-blind, randomized, crossover study, 14 participants were rinsed with: the test formulation (containing 0.25 mg/ml green tea and 7.82 mg/ml Miswak), 0.12 percent chlorhexidine (control group), and a placebo mouthwash for 24 hours. During the trial, participants were rinsed with 15 ml of a randomly allocated mouthwash twice daily without any other type of oral hygiene measure. Then, a plaque index was scored after 24 hours. Participants entered a six-day washout period in which they could perform regular oral hygiene measures. The same protocol was repeated for the next two types of mouthwash.

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The results showed that the test mouthwash significantly reduced plaque formation compared to the placebo wash and chlorhexidine rinse. Furthermore, the test mouthwash retained its anti-plaque effect for 24 hours.

Surprisingly, the authors noted that there was no difference in plaque formation in participants who used the placebo and chlorhexidine. This suggests that chlorhexidine may not be useful in promoting oral health.