India is the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices. We use spices in culinary art to impart taste but do you know that these spices also aid in maintaining oral health? Let us quickly go through few of them and spice up our knowledge!!

Turmeric :

  • Acts as a pit and fissure sealant (forms a mechanical barrier between tooth and oral environment).
  • It also detects the plaque adhered to the tooth surface.
  • Applying a paste made from 1 TSP of turmeric with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of mustard oil provides relief from gingivitis and periodontitis.

Ginger :

  • As a sialogogue to promote salivation.
  • For treatment of toothache and gingivitis.
  • Ginger extracts can be used in treatment of oral candidiasis (ethanol extract of ginger was effective on Candida albicans at concentrations of 1:5).
  • It has antimicrobial effect against Lactobacillus & to an extent against Streptococcus mutans.

Black pepper :

  • For treatment of oral abscesses, tooth decay and tooth aches.
  • Brushing with a herbal toothpaste containing black pepper showed a significant reduction in the gingival bleeding, salivary anaerobic bacteria count and overall improvement in oral hygiene.

Cardamom :

  • To treat infection of teeth and gums.
  • The extract of cardamom exhibits broad spectrum antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus mutans, Propionibacterium, Pytyriosporum ovale, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, microorganisms that cause dental caries, acne, dandruff.

Cinnamon :

  • It possesses a strong anti-candidal effect at concentrations of 25 to 50 mg/l.
  • It also increases the salivary pH and flow.
  • Studies also showed that it has high activity against Streptococcus mutans and decreased the viable count.

Clove :

  • Extract of clove inhibits the growth of periodontal oral pathogens, including Porphyromonas gingivalis & Prevotella intermedia.
  • Eugenol has a scavenging effect – helps to prevent cell and tissue damage that could lead to disease, also acts as an enzyme activator and this property is effectively used in treating toothaches.

Fenugreek :

  • Astringent, demulcent, carminative, stomachic, diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient, expectorant
  • An infusion of Fenugreek leaves is used as gargle for recurrent mouth ulcers.

Nutmeg :

  • Routine teeth cleaning with Jaiphal powder benefits dental and gum problems.
  • It has an effect on different types of oral sores and anti-inflammatory activity and antimicrobial properties.
  • It can be incorporated in floss, wedges and root canal irrigants.

Corriander seeds :

  • It shows anti-cariogenic property
  • These seeds increase the pH of the saliva which, in turn, will counteract the effect of the acids produced by bacteria and this neutralize them.
  • It is effective against Bacillus cereus.

Holy basil :

  • Useful in pyorrhea and other gum disorders.
  • Chewing its leaves helps clear ulcers and infections of the mouth.
  • As a mouthwash, it is useful against bad breath and for maintaining healthy gums.

Rosemary :

  • Has power to inhibit the formation of dental biofilm by reducing the adherence of pathogens to dental surfaces, thereby avoiding the pathologies caused by it’s formation.

Herbs such as green tea (prevents dental caries, gum diseases and also prevents halitosis), neem (antimicrobial, antioxidant, prevents dental caries and oral infections), sage (antibacterial,antiviral, antifungal), thyme (antiseptic,antifungal) and peppermint leaf (in low concentrations produces cooling sensation, in higher concentrations produces local anaesthesia and irritation; chewing leaf makes a very effective reliever to dental pain) also get added to the list of those help in maintaining dental hygiene.

Source : ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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