Posted on: Wednesday, September 16th 2015 at 8:15 pm
Written By: Case Adams, Naturopath
Face it - conventional mouthwashes are full of chemicals. Aloe vera provides a better solution, one that reduces plaque and periodontal disease without the chemical side effects.
Frankly, most conventional mouthwashes are full of some unhealthy stuff. From alcohol to artificial sweeteners and synthetic colors, mouthwash can be pretty awful.
For example, the Scope Outlast® ingredient label contains the following:
Active ingredients: Cetylpyridinium chloride, domiphen bromide, denatured alcohol. Inactive ingredients: Glycerin, polysorbate 80, sodium saccharin, sodium benzoate, benzoic acid, Blue 1, and Yellow 5.
One of the worst ingredients in many mouthwashes – especially many dentist-prescribed mouthwashes – is chlorhexidine. This is an antibacterial ingredient that chemical manufacturers have come up with to kill bacteria in the mouth – both the good bacteria and the bad bacteria.
So yes, chlorhexidine can beat back plaque because of its antibacterial qualities. But unfortunately, this antibiotic chemical also leaves the mouth open to new potential invasions of all sorts of bacteria.
It also has a number of side effects. Chlorhexidine side effects include oral rashes, redness, blistering, burning, swelling and general irritation. Other side effects have included staining of the teeth in chlorhexidine users.
Natural antibacterials from ancient Ayurveda
The most ancient medical science continually practiced offers nature's option for reducing plaque: Aloe vera. This succulent plant has many medicinal properties, including skin and wound repair and gastrointestinal benefits.
But aloe vera also offers a great option for a mouthwash: Not only will it improve the health of our mucosal membranes. It will also repel infective bacteria yet support friendly bacteria.
Such is the benefit of nature's solutions.
Proven by research
These claims are not being made haphazardly. They come with scientific evidence.
For example, researchers from India's KD Dental College along with Pradesh's Department of Public Health Dentistry studied the use of aloe vera in a clinical setting.
The researchers studied 300 healthy people. They divided them into three groups, and 100 of them used a 100% pure aloe vera juice as a mouthwash. Another 100 people used a chlorhexidine mouthwash, and another 100 people rinsed with saline water (placebo). Each of the subjects rinsed twice a day for our days with their respective mouthwashes.
The subjects were tested for gingival index and plaque index before and after the testing period.
The results found that the aloe vera mouthwash reduced plaque as effectively as the chlorhexidine – and both of these groups had significantly reduced plaque compared to the control group.
The researchers concluded:
"The results of the present study indicated that Aloe vera may prove an effective mouthwash due to its ability in reducing dental plaque."
Aloe reduces periodontal diseases
This is not the first study to show that aloe improves the health of the oral cavity, gums and teeth. Research from India's Teerthankar Mahaveer Dental College and Research Center studied 345 people in 2014. Again they divided them into three groups of 115 each. The first group rinsed their mouth twice a day for a month with a mouthwash containing aloe vera. The second group rinsed twice a day for the same period with a chlorhexidine-containing mouthwash. The third group rinsed twice a day for the month using distilled water.
The researchers tested all the subjects before the study, at 15 days and after the 30 days. They tested them with the plaque index and the gingival index. They also noted occurrences of bleeding of the gums during exams among the subjects.
The researchers found the aloe vera group had significant reduction of plaque and gingivitis compared with the placebo group. This reduction was the same as seen among the chlorhexidine group.
However, the aloe group did not experience some of the side effects seen among the chlorhexidine group.
Gupta RK, Gupta D, Bhaskar DJ, Yadav A, Obaid K, Mishra S. Preliminary antiplaque efficacy of aloe vera mouthwash on 4 day plaque re-growth model: randomized control trial. Ethiop J Health Sci. 2014 Apr;24(2):139-44.
Karim B, Bhaskar DJ, Agali C, Gupta D, Gupta RK, Jain A, Kanwar A. Effect of Aloe vera mouthwash on periodontal health: triple blind randomized control trial. Oral Health Dent Manag. 2014 Mar;13(1):14-9.