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Periodontal disease affects structures around your teeth, including your gums, making it painful to chew food and increasing your risk of systemic diseases. Studies have shown that natural compounds such as green tea and kiwi fruit can help alleviate the symptoms of this common dental challenge
With poor diet and inadequate brushing and flossing habits, plaque can build up on your gum line and teeth. When plaque hardens, it becomes tartar and can cause trouble in the form of an infection, which can then lead to periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease, is linked with low levels of vitamin C.[i]
Approximately 47% of U.S. adults suffer from periodontal disease.[ii] Left untreated, periodontal disease has been associated with systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.[iii]
There are various treatment options to control the spread of periodontal disease in your gums. Brushing your teeth daily will help eliminate plaque buildup, while flossing will help remove plaque that's stuck between your teeth. For smokers, quitting is important as smoking is a leading risk factor for gum disease.[iv]
Likewise, there are natural substances that may help improve periodontal disease. Natural compounds may be preferable to antibacterial chemicals because they may cause fewer harmful side effects. Here are six natural substances to pay attention to in the battle against gum disease.
1. Green Tea
Thanks to its antioxidant properties, green tea may reduce oxidative stress as well as the formation of fat cells -- known as adipocytes -- in your body.[v] The quercetin found in green tea contains antimicrobial properties that can inhibit the onset of periodontal disease.[vi]
A study has shown that when quercetin solution was applied to bacteria called Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) and Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), which both signify periodontal disease in the mouth, and incubated for one to 24 hours, it led to a significant decrease in the bacteria.
With its wide spectrum of properties, researchers believe green tea is effective in controlling the damaging reactions of periodontal disease.[vii] It is also one of the most well-researched natural compounds, with over 925 abstracts on GreenMedInfo.com.
2. Aloe Vera
In one study, researchers discovered that aloe vera gel can be used to alleviate the symptoms of periodontal disease. The gingival index and plaque index of 15 subjects were investigated, followed by scaling and root planing. The study found that administering aloe vera gel in the periodontal pocket, a space between the tooth and gums where bacteria may flourish, can improve periodontal condition.[viii]
3. Borage Oil
Extracted from the Borago officinalis plant, borage oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can provide benefits for adults with periodontitis. When participants of a study received 3,000 milligrams of borage oil daily, a significant improvement in periodontal inflammation was noted.[ix]
4. Acacia Arabica
Researchers investigated the effects of acacia arabica gel and acacia arabica powder on 120 subjects with chronic generalized gingivitis. Compared to placebo, both acacia arabica gel and powder led to significant improvement in gingival and plaque index scores. Their effects were comparable to 1% chlorhexidine (an antibacterial chemical) gel.[x]
5. Carica Papaya Leaf
In a randomized, single-blind parallel-design study, researchers compared the effects of Carica papaya leaf toothpaste/mouthwash with that of sodium lauryl sulfate-free dentifrice with and without essential oil mouthwash. Less bleeding was observed among all the participants, showing the Carica papaya leaf products were an effective natural alternative.[xi]
Eating kiwi fruit twice daily for two months can have positive effects on those with periodontal disease. A study revealed that the bleeding score of those who ate kiwi decreased significantly, by 6.67%. There were also lower values of bleeding, plaque and attachment loss among participants who ate kiwi.[xii]
To find further natural treatments for periodontal disease, check out the list of 140 abstracts on GreenMedInfo.com
[i] Brand A J et al "Severe Gingivitis Associated with Ascorbic Acid-Deficiency in a Pediatric Patient." J Dent Child (Chic). 2019 May 15 ;86(2):125-128. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31395119
[ii] Nielsen SJ et al "Dietary Fiber Intake Is Inversely Associated with Periodontal Disease among US Adults." J Nutr. 2016 Oct 26. Epub 2016 Aug 26. DOI: 10.3945/jn.116.237065
[iii] Zeng X T et al "Periodontal Disease and Incident Lung Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies." J Periodontol. 2016 Oct ;87(10):1158-64. Epub 2016 Jun 13. DOI: 10.1902/jop.2016.150597
[iv] National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/gum-disease/more-info
[vi] Geoghegan F et al "Inhibitory effect of quercetin on periodontal pathogens in vitro." Phytother Res. 2009 Dec 2. Epub 2009 Dec 2. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.3014
[vii] Forouzanfar A et al "The potential role of tea in periodontal therapy: An updated review." Curr Drug Discov Technol. 2020 Jan 26. Epub 2020 Jan 26. doi: 10.2174/1389200221666200127114119.
[viii] Bhat G et al "Aloe vera: Nature's soothing healer to periodontal disease." J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2011 Jul ;15(3):205-9. DOI: 10.4103/0972-124X.85661
[ix] Rosenstein ED et al "Pilot study of dietary fatty acid supplementation in the treatment of adult periodontitis." Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2003 Mar;68(3):213-8. DOI: 10.1016/s0952-3278(02)00272-7
[x] Pradeep AR et al "Clinical and microbiologic effects of commercially available gel and powder containing Acacia arabica on gingivitis." Aust Dent J. 2012 Sep ;57(3):312-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2012.01714.x
[xi] Saliasi I et al "Effect of a Toothpaste/Mouthwash ContainingLeaf Extract on Interdental Gingival Bleeding: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 11 27 ;15(12). Epub 2018 Nov 27. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15122660
[xii] Graziani F et al "The effect of twice daily kiwifruit consumption on periodontal and systemic conditions before and after treatment: A randomized clinical trial." J Periodontol. 2018 Mar ;89(3):285-293. Epub 2018 Feb 27. DOI: 10.1002/JPER.17-0148