Nature's Smile Savers: Botanical Mouth Rinses vs Fluoride for Orthodontics

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When toxicity lurks behind a bright smile, nature's solutions shine through

With over 60% of children and teens getting braces, keeping pearly whites intact throughout orthodontic treatment remains a challenge.1 Metal brackets create plaque traps often Progressing to permanent white spot lesions and decay without diligent care. While fluoride rinses aim to remineralize vulnerable enamel, potential long-term downsides like fluorosis exist.2 Hence testing safer botanical alternatives merits attention.

The Trouble with Treatment-Related Tooth Troubles

Beyond misaligned teeth, orthodontics poses unique oral health burdens. Brackets physically impede cleaning, allowing virulent plaque bacteria like Strep mutans to quietly colonize and demineralize susceptible enamel. This breeds white spot lesions in over 50% of braces patients within six months if not controlled.3 Such preventable damage too often progresses to permanent unsightly scarring or tooth decay - an ironic consequence of elective tooth straightening.4

Standard of care calls for fluoride rinses during orthodontics to inhibit bacterial metabolism and reharden subsurface lesions before cavitation develops.5 But concerns over daily fluoride exposure include dental fluorosis, microbiome disruption and poor antimi-crobial potency as microbial resistance continues rising.2 Botanical mouth rinses avoiding such issues present promising alternatives.

 

Putting Nature to the Test

This first-of-its-kind trial recruited 90 Indian orthodontic patients to use aloe vera juice, probiotic or fluoride rinses twice daily for one month alongside braces. Researchers analyzed plaque samples before and after the trial for S. mutans levels and asked patients to report on side effects like tooth staining.6

Excitingly, all three rinses substantially reduced plaque bacteria counts by at least 67% over four weeks. No statistically significant differences emerged between the botanical products and fluoride gold standard - all worked excellently. Additionally the natural rinses delivered comparable antibacterial punch minus fluoride's propensity for tooth discoloration over time.6

Probiotic and aloe vera's multifaceted mechanisms likely bolster their robust antimicrobial effects. For example, prebiotics in aloe nourish protective oral microbes which then crowd out and cell-wall kill pathogens like S. mutans.7 Aloe also inhibits bacterial adhesion and neutralizes acidity from sugar metabolism contributing to erosion.8 These varied actions sum a greater benefit than isolated fluoride delivery.

Integrative Options to Enhance Orthodontic Outcomes

Beyond reducing white spot lesions, probiotic and aloe rinses support whole-body health lacking risks fluoride carries when ingested daily. With braces shifting teeth for 12-24 months on average, safe soothing solutions that also guard enamel make sense. Patients can readily source quality aloe juices and oral probiotic supplements for cost-effective home use.

Still, properly standardized rinses should deliver consistent potencies to confer clinical-grade protection. Pairing these with baking soda and xylitol toothpastes plus chlorhexidine treatments in high caries-risk kids optimizes outcomes. As dentistry expands bite correction practices globally, integrating cavity-thwarting botanicals bows to evolution's wisdom and the precautionary principle. Aligning modern interventions with nature's balanced supports sustains health amidst intense bustling change. For the dazzling smile lies just behind healing's humble door.


References

1. Weintraub JA. Oral health disparities in orthodontics. Semin Orthod. 2017;23(4):319-326.

2. Breaker RR. New insight on the response of bacteria to fluoride. Caries Res. 2012;46(1):78-81.

3. Lucchese A, Gherlone E. Prevalence of white-spot lesions before and during orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances. Eur J Orthod. 2013;35(5):664-668.

4. Heymann GC, Grauer D. A Contemporary Review of White Spot Lesions in Orthodontics. J Esthet Restor Dent. 2013;25(2):85-95.

5. Benson PE, Parkin N, Dyer F, Millett DT, Germain P. Fluorides for the prevention of white spots on teeth during fixed brace treatment. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 20042020;(4):CD003809.

6. Nisha DS, Sebastian B, Kalappurakkal R, Kirubakaran R. Efficacy of aloe vera and probiotic mouthwashes vs fluoride mouthwash on Streptococcus mutans in plaque around brackets of orthodontic patients: a randomized clinical trial. Angle Orthod. Published online May 3 2023.

7. Bhat G, Kudva P, Dodwad V. Aloe vera: Nature's soothing healer to periodontal disease. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2011;15(3):205-209.

8. Prabhakar J, Senthilkumar M, Priya MS, Mahalakshmi K, Sehgal PK, Sukumaran VG. Evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of Aloe vera and its effectiveness in decontaminating gutta percha cones. J Conserv Dent. 2013;16(4):303-307.

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