Dental caries, which affect over 50% of school-aged children, is a common disease caused by a multitude of factors, like diet and oral hygiene.1 While bacteria (Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli spp.) are the most common culprit, fungi (Candida albicans) may also play a role in its development and progression.
Routinely used sodium fluoride mouth rinses are effective, but could potentially become hazardous for children if accidentally ingested. Therefore, natural alternatives with antimicrobial herbs, such as garlic, green tea, and lime, are highly sought after.
Researchers of this clinical trial evaluated the antimicrobial effects of green tea and garlic with lime on dental caries in comparison to sodium fluoride mouth rinse.
It was a randomized clinical trial conducted at the Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry of the A.J. Institute of Dental Sciences in Karnataka, India. The results were published in the International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry.
There were 45 children - between the ages of 4 to 6 - participating in the trial. They were diagnosed with severe early childhood caries.
Researchers divided them into three groups, each with a different formulation of mouth rinse to be used once a day for two weeks:
- Group 1: green tea mouth rinse
- Group 2: garlic with lime mouth rinse
- Group 3: 0.05% sodium fluoride (NaF) mouth rinse
Salivary samples were collected before and after the intervention for microbial analysis, including the number of colony-forming units (that is, of bacterial and fungal cells).
After two weeks of treatment, all three groups showed a significant decrease of colony-forming units in both tested bacterial species, S. mutans and Lactobacilli spp. No improvements were seen in the number of fungal colonies of C. albicans.
What Does this Mean?
Researchers of this trial showed that mouth rinses with green tea as well as garlic with lime can benefit oral health as effectively as the sodium fluoride formulation. As such, they can be treated as an alternative herbal treatment for preventing and treating dental caries.
Other herbs beneficial for oral health are calendula, eucalyptus, and goldenseal.
- International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry, Comparison of Antimicrobial Efficacy of Green Tea, Garlic with Lime, and Sodium Fluoride Mouth Rinses against Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacilli species, and Candida albicans in Children: A Randomized Double-blind Controlled Clinical Trial, 2017
- International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. (2020). Family Impacts of Severe Dental Caries among Children in the United Kingdom. Retrieved February 16, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6981411/