Herbal toothpastes effective in reducing inflammatory markers, study finds
SANGLI, India: When it comes to harmful ingredients, herbal oral care products, which usually do not contain artificial substances such as sweeteners, colourants or preservatives, are considered a safer alternative to most conventional dentifrices. However, to date, sufficient research on the efficiency of plant-derived oral care products has been sparse. Aiming to change that, researchers from India have now compared the effect of three different herbal toothpastes on salivary enzymes that are important for maintaining oral health.
It is estimated that about 80 per cent of people in developing countries still rely on plant-derived traditional medicine for primary health care purposes. In the Western world too, herbal products are increasingly considered a healthier and safer alternative to products containing chemicals. However, when comparing the oral health benefits of conventional and plant-derived dentifrices, existing research mainly focuses on the antimicrobial properties of herbal toothpastes. Expanding on this approach, the Indian researchers investigated changes in the levels of salivary alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and salivary acid phosphatase (ACP) with the use of herbal toothpaste over the course of four weeks.
ALP is an inflammatory marker that promotes the inflammatory process and ultimately periodontal disease and ACP is a salivary factor associated with calculus formation and hence inflammation, lead author Dr Mahesh Khairnar told Dental Tribune Online.
The toothpastes evaluated in the study were Dant Kanti (Patanjali), Complete Care (Himalaya Herbals) and Vicco Vajradanti (Vicco). The study was conducted among 45 dental students, who were grouped (15 subjects per group and toothpaste) and instructed to brush twice daily with the respective toothpaste. Saliva samples, consisting of an unstimulated saliva sample taken first thing in the morning and one after brushing, were obtained on a weekly basis on Day 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28.
All three toothpastes showed significant reductions in salivary APL and ACP levels after brushing at each interval. When the dentifrices were evaluated individually, the Dant Kanti and Vicco Vajradanti toothpastes were found to be more effective in reducing the levels of salivary ACP and ALP than the Complete Care toothpaste was, the researchers wrote.
While all herbal toothpastes tested inhibited ALP and ACP activity in the saliva of the participants, long-term clinical trials are needed to quantify the efficacy of herbal toothpaste, the researchers emphasised. Moreover, they suggested that future studies assess the combined effect of herbal toothpastes and herbal mouthwashes.
The study, titled “Comparative evaluation of efficacy of three different herbal toothpastes on salivary alkaline phosphatase and salivary acid phosphatase—A randomized controlled trial”, was published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research.
The preliminary results of a similar study by the same research group corroborate these findings on the oral health potential of herbal toothpastes. In the study, the findings of which are yet to be published, Khairnar and his colleagues evaluated the effect of herbal toothpastes on pH values and glucose levels in saliva—both of which are factors that influence oral health. Increased salivary glucose is responsible for increased caries incidence, and acidic salivary pH values can facilitate caries formation.
According to Khairnar, the results thus far indicate that herbal toothpaste is effective in reducing salivary glucose levels, while salivary pH values increased and shifted to the alkaline range, which is considered most beneficial for oral health.