Prevent gingivitis naturally with traditional Sudanese medicine

One of the most preventable and yet most common health problems in the world is periodontal disease, which is caused by Porphyromonas gingivalis, an anaerobic, Gram-negative bacteria. A study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, looked into the potential of Sudanese medicinal plants to inhibit P. gingivalis growth, as well as on the enzyme matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9).

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a condition wherein the gums and periodontal tissues surrounding the teeth are inflamed. Based on the affected areas, periodontal diseases can be classified into two, gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is when inflammation occurs in the gums, leading to its redness, swelling, and bleeding. Meanwhile, periodontitis is when the bone and tissues of the teeth are inflamed, causing the formation of spaces between the teeth and gums.

Many factors contribute to the development of periodontal disease. These include cigarette use, diabetes, stress, and plaque formation. In addition to these, the enzyme MMP-9 has also been linked to periodontal diseases. MMP-9 is a zinc-dependent endopeptidase that can process cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, which are signaling molecules for inflammation.

In this study, the researchers from the University of Science and TechnologyUniversity of Khartoum, and Gifu University made use of 50 percent ethanolic extracts and methanolic extracts from 24 Sudanese medicinal plants. These extracts were subjected to a microplate dilution assay to determine their minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), which is the lowest extract concentration needed to inhibit bacterial growth. Although all extracts exhibited antibacterial activity, the most potent among them were exhibited by methanolic extracts, specifically, Terminalia laxiflora, followed by Ambrosia maritima, Argemone mexicana (seed), T. brownii (wood), Combretum hartmannianum (bark), and Acacia totrtilis (bark).

Among the extracts that were previously used, only seven were tested for their inhibitory activity against MMP-9. These were selected based on the results of a previous study that implicated them in the inhibition of the glucosyltransferase enzyme. The methanolic extracts that were used for this part of the study were derived from T. laxiflora (wood), Tamarix nilotica (stem) and bark of Khaya senegalensisAcacia seyal var. fistula, Acacia seyal var. seyal, C. hartmannianum, and T. brownii. Results showed that, among these extracts, T. laxiflora and T. brownii (bark) were most effective in inhibiting MMP-9.

In addition to these studies, bioactive compounds were also extracted from the bark of C. hartmannianum, since members of this plant’s family have been shown to have good inhibitory activities against P. gingivalis and MMP-9. The researchers were able to extract flavogalonic acid dilactone and terchebulin from C. hartmannianum. Upon characterization, they observed that both exhibited antibacterial activity, however, the MMP-9 inhibitory activity of terchebulin was more remarkable. The MMP-9 inhibitory activity of terbechulin surpassed that of chlorhexidine, a commonly used antiseptic found in mouthwash and toothpaste that exhibits genotoxic and cytotoxic effects.

Overall, this experiment shows that terbechulin acquired from C. hartmannianum and crude extracts from other Sudanese medicinal plants exhibit antibacterial activity against P. gingivalis. In addition to this, they also as had an inhibitory effect against MMP-9. With further studies, these extracts can be used as substitutes for chlorhexidine and other conventional treatments for periodontal disease. (Related: The dangers of poor oral health and why conventional products and dentists often make it worse.)

Herbs that improve oral health

In addition to the Sudanese medicinal plants that were previously discussed, here are other herbs that improve oral health:

  • Bloodroot — Sanguinarine is the primary active compound in bloodroot. This compound has been shown to improve oral health by preventing plaque formation.
  • Stevia — Similar to bloodroot, this herb also prevents plaque from forming, thereby preventing tooth decay.
  • Wheatgrass — Studies have shown that wheatgrass can eliminate toxins when used as a mouthwash. Additionally, it can also treat bleeding gums, also known as pyorrhea.

Learn more about Sudanese medicinal plants and how they can be used to treat periodontal diseases by visiting today.
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