Since ancient times, India has used its rich knowledge of traditional medicine to prevent and cure diseases. Many species of medicinal plants are used, traditionally, to control and cure a variety of dental problems. The various herbs that are used in dentistry are clove oil, Aloe vera, turmeric, sesame, cranberry, Meswak, sesame, red clover, and evening primrose.
During recent times, there has been an increase interest to study medicinal plants and their uses in different parts of the globe to prevent side effects that are often associated with the use of allopathic medicines. A dental health professional needs to be more informed regarding the use, safety, and effectiveness of the various traditional medicines and sale of over-the-counter products. Dental professionals should have adequate knowledge regarding common herbal formulations so that they safely prescribe or use them on their patients, as good alternatives to current preventive and curative treatments for oral health problems.
The use of herbal extracts in various forms is entirely consistent with the primary health-care principles. These aid in healing and are effective in controlling microbial plaque in gingivitis and periodontitis.
As majority of the orodental diseases are due to bacterial infections, it has been well documented that medicinal plants provide significant antibacterial action against various micro-organisms.
Many useful properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, antibacterial, and astringent action have been found in several plants and their parts; which can be utilized to treat dental disorders. Many herbal extracts are successfully used as tooth cleansing and antimicrobial agents.
Even though, studies for assessment of safety and efficacy of herbal remedies are in its infancy, herbal products are expected to be widely used in future. Researchers should be encouraged to conduct controlled studies to prove the effectiveness and safety of natural dental products. The low toxicity and low cost of these herbs should encourage further investigation leading to a better understanding on traditional medicine and their application to oral health.