Aloe vera is always something we have on hand because its list of uses goes on and on. Out of shaving cream? No problem. Need some hair gel? Covered. Sunburned? Relief is on the way.
While you may already use aloe vera to moisturize and soothe skin, a new use for aloe vera is gaining popularity -- oral hygiene.
What causes oral health issues like cavities and gingivitis? It all starts with bacteria and germs building up in the mouth. Without proper oral care, this can cause the buildup of plaque that can lead to the breakdown of the enamel as well as the development of cavities and gum disease. Most dentists recommend brushing twice a day with toothpaste along with flossing and using a mouthwash daily. While this routine has proven results, many have searched for a more natural option -- regular toothpaste may contain artificial ingredients like flavors and colors as well as sugar and harsh abrasives.
Could aloe vera gel be a suitable natural substitute? According to an article published in the July 2009 edition of the medical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, aloe vera gel was just as effective at fighting germs and bacteria as traditional toothpaste. Sometimes, it worked even better. A second study, published in 2011 in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, showed aloe vera was a successful natural treatment for periodontitis, an inflammatory condition. Not only did the aloe vera fight germs and bacteria that can cause this condition, it also combatted the symptoms of the condition like swelling, pain and bleeding of the gums.
Interested in trying it? Make sure to look for an aloe vera gel that it suitable for oral consumption -- make sure it is as pure as possible and free of additional ingredients like alcohol, preservatives or artificial flavors or dyes. There are more than 300 types of aloe vera, which is a type of cactus belonging to the Liliaceae family. The two types used most often for health purposes are Aloe barbadensis and Aloe aborescens, so that's what you'll see on the label. You can try using the gel in place of your toothpaste, as a mouthwash or as a topical ointment to soothe sore gums while treating the infection.
Be sure to let your dentist know if you're thinking of making the switch to aloe vera, especially if you have any diagnosed condition, like periodontitis. Your dentist can help you track your symptoms and the general health of your mouth to see if this treatment is working for you.
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