Date: 15 Apr 2013

Recent Trends in Prevention and Treatment of Dental Caries and Periodontal Disease by Natural Plant Products

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Abstract

Dental caries and periodontal disease are the most common oral diseases showing striking geographic variations, socio-economic patterns and severity of distribution all over the world. These diseases pose challenges when it comes to determining their microbial etiology. Dental caries is a localized, progressive demineralization of the hard tissues of the crown and root surfaces of teeth. The demineralization is caused by acids produced by bacteria, particularly Streptococcus mutans and lactobacilli that ferment dietary carbohydrates. This occurs within a bacteria-laden gelatinous material called dental plaque that adheres to tooth surfaces and becomes colonized by bacteria Periodontal disease is a group of illnesses in the form of gingivitis and periodontitis, located in the gums and dental support structures (ligament and alveolar bone) and are produced by certain bacteria encountered in subgingival plaque. In the present clinical scenario globally, there is a great interest in the use of antimicrobial agents for prevention and treatment of plaque-related oral diseases due to the spread of antibiotic resistance in oral cavity microorganisms. There has been an extensive research on the effectiveness of minimum inhibitory concentration of agents for cariogenic and periodontopathogenic microorganisms. Among antibiotic alternatives are therapies derived from complementary and alternative medicine to cope with the wide-spread problem of antibiotic resistance. A view to the past indicates that in ancient times, India was probably the most advanced country in dental health services in the world. In the old ayurvedic literature of India, details of gum diseases have been described and forms of treatment have also been described. The practice of oral hygiene was included in daily rituals. Ancient scriptures such as vedas and puranas proposed that the natural dentition could be preserved by appropriate periodontal treatment. In the present times, ayurvedic treatment is still very popular amongst rural and uneducated people in India. For the treatment of periodontal disease, massaging of gums with oils and ointments prepared from herbs is still advised. There are an overwhelming number of studies on the antimicrobial activities of plant and natural products derivatives. The prevention and management of dental caries and periodontal disease historically has been the dominant focus of most dentists’ professional efforts. As the putative dental caries and periodontal pathogens are developing resistance against the commercially available antibiotics, the need of hour is to explore novel drugs from natural products that can be used in the prevention and treatment of not only the dental infections but also of other dreadful diseases for which there has been no optimal drug yet discovered.