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Principal Proposed Natural Treatments
Other Proposed Natural Treatments
Beta-Glucan ; Bloodroot ; Calcium ; Caraway ; Coenzyme Q10(CoQ10) ; Cranberry Juice ; Essential Oil Mouthwash ; Eucalyptus ; E. linza (Green Algae) Extract Mouthwash; Folate Mouthwash ; Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) ; Green Tea Chew Candy ; Herbal Mouthwash Containing Chamomile, Echinacea, Hops, Myrrh, Mint, Sage, and Ratania ; Honey Leather ; Lycopene ; Magnesium ;Mangosteen; Macleaya cordata (Plume Poppy) and Prunella vulgaris; Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs) ; Propolis ;Sea Cucumber; Tea Tree Oil ; Vitamin B12 ; Vitamin C ; Witch Hazel ; Xylitol ; Zinc
Periodontal disease begins with gum inflammation and progresses to pockets of infection, bone loss, and loosening of the teeth. It is present in 90% of individuals over the age of 65.
Conventional prevention and treatment include regular flossing, using mouthwash that contains extracts of the herb thyme (such as thymol, found in Listerine), and using special toothbrushing appliances. If the condition becomes advanced, special deep-cleaning techniques and even surgery may be necessary.
According to one small, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the supplement lycopene, taken at a dose of 8 mg per day, may be helpful for the treatment of periodontal disease, whether taken alone or used to augment the effectiveness of standard treatment.22
One double-blind study of 89 people tested a European herbal mouthwash (used with a special gum irrigator) containing chamomile, echinacea, myrrh, mint, sage, and ratania.12 The herbal preparation proved more effective than a conventional mouthwash at reducing gingival inflammation.
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A 14-day, double-blind, placebo-controlled trialof 40 people evaluated the potential benefits of a chewing gum product containing 5 mg of OPCs from pine bark.9 Use of the OPC gum resulted in significant improvements in gum health and reductions in plaque formation; no similar benefits were seen in the placebo group.
A double-blind study of 30 people found weak evidence that use of borage oil (a source of GLA) at a dose of 3,000 mg daily may reduce gingival inflammation.13 The study also examined fish oil at a dose of 3,000 mg daily, or combined fish oil and borage oil at the dose of 1,500 mg each, but failed to find significant benefits with these treatments as compared to placebo.
Other natural dental products that have shown promise in small double-blind studies include a toothpaste containing Macleya cordata (plume poppy) and Prunella vulgaris(also known as heal-all or self-heal),14 a chew candy containing green tea,7 an irrigation fluid containing propolisextract,15a toothpaste containing sea cucumber,16 and a gel containing tea treeoil.17
Preliminary studies suggest that folatemouthwash may help in periodontal disease. Oral folate supplementation does not appear to be especially effective.1-4 However, one small double-blind study found potential benefit with a mixed B-complex supplement (containing 50 mg of each of thiamin, riboflavin, niacinamide, pantothenate, and pyridoxine; 50 mcg each of biotin and vitamin B12; and 400 mcg of folate) .18
One test tube study suggests that cranberryjuice might be useful for treating or preventing gum disease.5 However, there is one kink to work out before cranberry could be practical for this purpose: the sweeteners added to cranberry juice are not good for your teeth, but without them cranberry juice is very bitter.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar that appears to help suppress the development of cavitieswhen it is used in gum, candy, or toothpaste. Highly preliminary evidence suggests that it may help prevent gum disease, as well.8
A thorough review of 11 randomized, controlled trials found that the use of mouth rinses containing essential oilsis effective against gingivitis and dental plaque formation when used in combination with regular oral hygiene.23In one double-blind study, chewing gum containing eucalyptus extract was more beneficial for moderate gingivitis compared to a placebo gum.24
A study failed to find that an herbal mouthwash containing the herb mangosteen significantly improved gum health.20
A mouthwash containing a type of green algae called E. linzaproved to be similar to the commercial product Listerine in reducing gum bleeding, swollen gums, and plague in patients with gingivitis.25
Other treatments sometimes proposed for periodontal disease, but that lack meaningful scientific support, include beta-glucan, bioflavonoids, bloodroot, calcium, caraway, magnesium, vitamin C, witch hazel, and zinc.
Last reviewedJuly 2012by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.