Ayurvedic Herbal Remedy Helps Prevent Periodontal Disease and Tooth Decay

Triphala periodontal diseaseStudies from multiple dental schools have confirmed that an ancient Ayurvedic herbal remedy prevents dental decay by naturally reducing oral bacteria that cause plaque, gingivitis and tooth decay.

The remedy, called Triphala, has been used medicinally for intestinal issues, immunity problems and other conditions for thousands of years within the Ayurvedic medical system – the oldest known medical system.

Researchers from India’s DAPMRV Dental College tested a 6% Triphala mouthwash using 60 student volunteers, aged between 18 and 25 years old. The volunteers were divided into three groups. One group was given the Triphala mouthwash, another group was given a chlorhexidine mouthwash – an antibacterial mouthwash often prescribed by conventional dentists and doctors for gingivitis and other oral infections – and a third group rinsed with water only.

All three groups used their mouthwashes twice a day for seven days.

Before and after the testing period, and two days into the testing period, the subjects were tested for their levels of oral bacteria, specifically the types known to cause periodontal disease, dental decay and gingivitis, such as mutans streptococci. The colony forming units (CFUs) of each were measured and compared.

Those using the Triphala mouthwash had an average 17% reduction in dental decay bacteria after 48 hours, and 44% reduction after seven days. The chlorhexidine group had similar reductions, with an average 16% reduction in dental decay bacteria, with a 45% after seven days. The control group had little change in decay bacteria.

The researchers concluded:

“Triphala has been used in Ayurveda from time immemorial and has many potential systemic benefits. The promising results shown by Triphala call for further investigations of its antimicrobial effects against the numerous oral microorganisms.”

Triphala is made by combining three traditional medicinal herbs: Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica or Emblica officinalis). The name “Triphala” means “three fruits.”

This is not the first study that has indicated Triphala’s ability to reduce oral bacteria. In a study from India’s Kannur Dental College, another clinical trial compared Triphala mouthwash with a chlorhexidine mouthwash and two brand name commercial antibacterial mouthwashes advertised as able to inhibit plaque formation.

This study used 30 human subjects that were tested in a crossover design with all four mouthwashes. The study found that the Triphala mouthwash reduced oral decay bacteria similarly to the chlorhexidine mouthwash and one of the brand name mouthwashes.

In another study, this from India’s National Dental College, 50 human subjects were tested. They were given a Triphala-containing mouthwash or a chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash. In this study the Triphala-containing mouthwash was found effective in significantly reducing plaque formation among the subjects, at only a slightly less rate than that achieved from the chlorhexidine gluconate. The subjects also preferred the herbal mouthwash to the chemical mouthwash.

This particular mouthwash also contained neem, tulsi, pudina, clove oil and ajwain.

In another study from the DAPMRV Dental College, Triphala mouthwash was found to reduce pathogenic oral bacteria by up to 83% over a 15 day period.

There is yet another reason to consider Triphala for helping to reduce dental decay and periodontal disease:

Chlorhexidine has been shown to be toxic to aquatic organisms and has been linked to neurotoxicity and acute toxicity in humans. It is also considered a potential carcinogen. While mouthwash products containing chlorhexidine maintain very small quantities – such as 0.2%, certainly there is reason to avoid such a toxin even in low doses.

In addition, the dumping of chlorhexidine and other chemicals into our waterways through our sinks, toilets, bathtubs and manufacturing facilities can serve to strain our ability to maintain clean drinking water supplies.

Triphala, on the other hand, has been known to provide an array of healthy, medicinal effects. These include having anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, analgesic, adaptogenic and anti-anxiety effects. It has been shown to help prevent cancer from radiation. It has been shown to relieve gastric hyperacidity, constipation and appetite problems. It has been shown to increase wound healing and it has adaptogenic capabilities.

Sounds like a better mouthwash choice!

Learn more about natural ways to reduce oral decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease.


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Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.” Case connects with the elements by surfing, hiking and being a beach bum.

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