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Research studies: effect of Aloe on caries and periodontopathic bacteria

Inhibitory activity of Aloe vera gel on some clinically isolated cariogenic and periodontopathic bacteria (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22466882)

This study published in the Journal of Oral Science in 2012 looked into the effects of Aloe vera gel on pathogens involved in the genesis of tooth decay (cariogenic Streptococcus mutans) and in periodontitis (Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Bacteroides fragilis). Streptococcus mutans was found to be the most sensitive to Aloe vera gel, with the periodontopathic bacteria somewhat less sensitive. The study authors concluded that applied at the right concentration, Aloe vera gel could prevent both tooth decay (dental caries) and periodontal disease.
(free full text available)

Cavity disinfection in minimally invasive dentistry - comparative evaluation of Aloe vera and propolis: A randomized clinical trial. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25821369)

This study out of India compared the effect of two herbal preparations on bacterial populations remaining in cavities after the carious lesions had been manually excavated. Compared to the untreated control group, both Aloe vera and propolis were found to achieve a significant reduction in bacterial load.

Herbal extracts in oral health care - A review of the current scenario and its future needs. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26392704)

This study published in Pharmacognosy Review in 2015 found that due to their antimicrobial efficacy, a number of plants (herbal extracts) including Aloe barbadensis inhibited pathogens (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus mutans) involved in tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Comparative evaluation of the antimicrobial efficacy of aloe vera tooth gel and two popular commercial toothpastes: an in vitro study. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19819812)

While using conventional toothpaste seems to be anything but recommended for people caring about their dental and general health, this study provides interesting research showing (yet again) the value (or rather superiority) of (yet another) natural alternative to toothpaste.2

Published in General Dentistry in 2009, the study compared aloe vera gel against two conventional toothpastes (Colgate Palmolive) for their ability to eliminate oral pathogens. Results: both the aloe vera tooth gel and the dentifrices showed equal effectiveness against Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Candida albicans, Enterococcus faecalis, Prevotella intermedia, and Peptostreptococcus anaerobius. In fact, in spite of being fluoride-free, the aloe gel exhibited stronger antibacterial activity against Streptococcus mitis.

Research studies: effect of Aloe on gingivitis and periodontitis

Aloe vera: Nature's soothing healer to periodontal disease. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22028505)

This study (published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology in 2011) evaluated the effect of subgingival administration of Aloe vera gel plus scaling and root planing versus scaling and root planing alone in fifteen individuals with periodontal pockets. It was found that the periodontal condition of the patients receiving the additional intra-pocket Aloe gel treatment improved.

Effect of Aloe vera mouthwash on periodontal health: triple blind randomized control trial. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24603910)

This study (published in Oral Health and Dental Management in 2014) evaluated the effect of an Aloe vera mouthwash on dental plaque and gingivitis as compared with chlorhexidine and placebo.

The test subjects were split into three groups - one using an Aloe vera mouthrinse, one using chlorhexidine and one simply distilled water, each rinsing twice a day for 30 days.

The Aloe vera mouthrinse was found to be as effective in significantly reducing plaque and gingival indices (such as gingival bleeding) as chlorhexidine, with no statistically significant difference between the two and Aloe vera mouthwash boasting the additional advantage of having (as opposed to chlorhexidine) no side effects.

Aloe vera: It's effect on gingivitis (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24174720)

This study (Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology, 2013) investigated the ability of an aloe vera mouthwash to reduce gum inflammation in patients suffering with plaque-induced gingivitis.

Three groups of fifteen patients each either 1) rinsed with aloe vera mouthwash, 2)received scaling treatment or 3) both rinsed with aloe vera mouthwash and received scaling. The gingival inflammation improved in all three groups but the greatest improvement was seen in those who combined the aloe vera mouthrinse with the scaling, pointing to aloe vera exerting significant anti-inflammatory effects.

Adjunctive Local Delivery of Aloe Vera Gel in Type 2 Diabetics With Chronic Periodontitis : A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26447752)

This study (published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2015) investigated the effect of Aloe vera gel administration in addition to scaling and root planing on a group of sixty diabetic patients with periodontal pockets. While all patients received scaling and root planing, only half of them also received the Aloe vera gel (while the other was treated with a placebo gel). Significant differences were found in the Aloe-treated group which scored higher reductions in plaque index, modified sulcus bleeding index, and probing depth and showed greater gains in clinical attachment levels.

Effect of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Aloe vera as compared to subantimicrobial dose doxycycline on matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and MMP-9: An in-vitro study. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25364206)

In chronic periodontitis, collagen in the gum tissues (the extracellular matrix) is broken down by enzymes (including so-called matrix metallo-proteinases). This study out of India (published in Ayu in 2014) compared the efficacy of two anti-inflammatory herbs, Neem and Aloe vera, with that of doxcycline in halting (inhibiting or down-regulating) the destructive activity of these enzymes.
Results: the activity of the two metalloproteinases under study was significantly decreased by all three agents tested.

A randomized, double-blind clinical study to assess the antiplaque and antigingivitis efficacy of Aloe vera mouth rinse. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23493442)

This study (published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology in 2012) evaluated the ability of aloe vera to decrease plaque accumulation and gingivitis compared to chlorhexidine and placebo in an experimental setting. Both Aloe vera and chlorhexidine were found to significantly reduce plaque formation and gingivitis (assessed via plaque index, modified gingival index and bleeding index, respectively), making aloe vera mouthwash a potential and cost-effective herbal substitute for chlorhexidine.

Clinical and microbiologic effects of commercially available dentifrice containing aloe vera: a randomized controlled clinical trial. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22087805)

This prospective, placebo-controlled trial (published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2012) evaluated the ability of an aloe vera toothpaste to reduce plaque and gingival inflammation in gingivitis patients and compared its effect to that of placebo and fluoridated toothpaste containing triclosan.

Using the aloe vera toothpaste significantly improved gingival and plaque index scores and microbiologic counts, as did the toothpaste containing triclosan. Triclosan, to phrase it carefully, is however at least controversial when it comes to effects on human health, compare Toothpaste: hazardous to dental and bodily health?: Toothpaste ingredients which could harm your teeth, gums or body.

Research study: effect of an Aloe compound on the incidence of dry socket (alveolar osteitis) after tooth extraction

One of a number of reasons why Aloe has astounding healing benefits is its Acemannan content, a major so-called glyconutrient. For background see Natural Dietary Sources: Which Foods Contain Glyconutrients? and Natural Glyconutrients Recipe.

Alveolar osteitis aka as dry socket.is a dreaded post-surgery complication of tooth extraction involving inflammation of the alveolar jaw bone. The following study (published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgergy in 2002) compared the incidence of alveolar osteitis in patients treated with a "normal" clindamycin-soaked gelfoam or a patch containing Acemannan gel derived from Aloe vera.

Reduction in the incidence of alveolar osteitis in patients treated with the SaliCept patch, containing Acemannan hydrogel. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11928091)

The study found that compared with clindamycin gelfoam, the Acemannan patch applied immediately after extraction significantly reduced the incidence of dry socket.

Research study: effect of Aloe on bacteria found in root-canal-treated teeth

Comparative evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of various root canal filling materials along with aloevera used in primary teeth: a microbiological study (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23855169)

While root canal treatment is anything but recommended by Healing Teeth Naturally and the bacteria developing in teeth treated in this manner are considered among the most "vicious" (virulently pathogenic, producing very potent toxins)[7], this study (published in The Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry in 2013) is interesting since it shows the superior germ-fighting capacities of aloe even in the presence of "superbacteria" as found in root-canal-treated teeth.

For the purposes of this study, eighteen strains of microorganisms were isolated from infected root canals done on children's molars. All six root canal filling materials evaluated showed some antimicrobial activity against the various bacteria, the best three (in descending order) however were Aloe vera plus sterile water (active against most of the test bacteria), zinc oxide eugenol plus Aloe vera, and calcium hydroxide plus Aloe vera, while the remaining three filling materials without aloe vera scored lowest.

Research study: effect of Aloe on canker sores

Evaluation of the therapeutic effects of Aloe vera gel on minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23162576)

This double-blind clinical trial conducted with 40 patients with canker sores appeared in the Dental Research Journal (Isfahan) in 2012. It found that application of a 2% Aloe vera gel significantly lowered wound size and healing time as well as the patients' pain score.[5]

Research study: effect of Aloe on oral lichen planus

The efficacy of aloe vera gel in the treatment of oral lichen planus: a randomized controlled trial (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18093246)

This study compared the efficacy of aloe vera gel vs. placebo in the treatment of oral lichen planus, a chronic inflammatory condition that can be accompanied by painful burning sensations and other symptoms. In the group of 27 patients receiving the aloe gel treatment, 7% experienced complete remission, 33% saw their burning pain completely disappear and 81% showed a good response, with no serious side effects observed. The aloe vera gel was found to be statistically significantly superior to placebo.

Miscellaneous observations reported by dentists regarding aloe vera application in dentistry

Dentist Dr James Harrison wrote an article on his personal and professioal experiences with the application of whole-leaf Aloe vera in dentistry. Not only was he healed from multiple personal health issues (a previous attempt with a non-whole-leaf aloe product had yielded no results), but he also saw amazing results in the patients in his dental practice. This included a first patient (undergoing wisdom tooth surgery) who had his socket irrigated with whole-leaf Aloe vera concentrate, and (after suturing) filled with a concentrated aloe gel. The patient was completely free of pain and discomfort and continued to apply the whole-leaf Aloe vera for a week. Upon removal of the sutures, the surgery area appeared to have healed over.

All subsequent surgeries where Aloe vera was used yielded the same results - the patients felt no pain and suffered no discomfort after the surgery, including one case where numerous teeth were removed and other surgical procedures performed in one long session. Pain medication became a thing of the past.

Holistic dentist Dr. Bill Wolfe reports on a number of studies done by professor Eugene Zimmermann of Baylor College of Dentistry (Dallas, Texas) which showed that Aloe vera gel was nontoxic and, used at at least a 70% concentration, worked against a broad range of micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungi), as well as extended cellular life (see inter alia the study "The effects of prednisolone, indomethacin, and Aloe vera gel on tissue culture cells" published in Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine and Oral Pathology in 1969 and the "Report on effect of aloe vera on growth of certain micro-organisms" from the same year co-authored by Sims and Zimmermann). Successful studies on aloe's bactericidal action included research on the five strains of Streptococcus mutans most often found colonizing dental plaque. The aloe gel also killed Candida albicans (the cause of oral candidiasis[3]).

Dentist Dr. Timothy E. Moore confirms both the above observation and study that with aloe vera application, extraction sites appear to heal problem-free and will not develop into "dry sockets". (By extension it could be reasonably speculated that aloe might prevent the formation of the dangerous cavitations.so frequently developing after adult extractions.)

Additional benefits and areas of aloe application that promote healing according to Dr. Moore include

  • post-treatment after gum surgery
  • gum tissue damaged by sharp toothbrushes, abrasive toothpastes, toothpicks, certain foodstuffs (including too much sugar), flossing etc.
  • used around dental implants[4], aloe helps to keep inflammation due to bacterial contamination under control
  • aspirin burns
  • various oral lesions including canker sores (aphthous ulcers, see above study) and cracks at the corners of lips
  • soreness in denture patients from ill-fitting dentures and partials
  • dry mouth (xerostomia) caused by medications[6]
  • gum abscesses
  • desquamative gingivitis
  • chronic oral diseases such as benign pemphigus and Lichen planus
  • AIDS and leukemia patients with gum problems
  • inflamed tongue, geographic tongue
  • burning mouth syndrome
  • oral candidiasis

Which aloe to use

If you have your own aloe vera plant(s) you can take fresh gel from the leaf and apply it straight or mix it with water for mouth rinses. If you do use commercially available aloe products, make sure they contain a whole-leaf extract. The above-mentioned dentist Dr Wolfe has developed his own range of aloe-based dental products, see Herbal products for dental problems.

Even more powerful than aloe vera seems to be aloe arborescens to which many cancer cures have been ascribed, see this Homemade Aloe arborescens & honey syrup recipe which uses the entire leaf.

Some background on Aloe

See Natural Dietary Sources: Which Foods Contain Glyconutrients? and Natural Glyconutrients Recipe.

Footnotes

1 See for instance Stinging nettle medicinal effects ff. and the research proving the outstanding benefits of cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant (medical marijuana).

2 A long list of natural non-toxic toothpaste alternatives which don't damage your teeth, gums and/or health can be found here. These include plain water, salt, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), dry brushing, hydrogen peroxide, MMS, self-made toothpaste based on healing earth (white clay), soap, tooth powder and more.

3 For perhaps the simplest and cheapest DIY remedy for this affliction, see Oil pulling with olive oil against oral candidiasis.

4 Healing Teeth Naturally cautions about dental implant surgery.

5 Compare Canker sores (aphtous ulcers or stomatitis): Possible causes, natural and home remedies.

6 More causes and remedies at Dry mouth (xerostomia): On causes, remedies & treatments of inadequate natural production of saliva.

7 See Healing Teeth Naturally's dedicated Root canal treatment section.

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