As your family dentist in West Linn, our team at Dugger Dentistry is always looking for the latest breakthroughs in dental care that promises to improve the future of patient care. The field of dentistry has come a long way over the last 75 years, and future breakthroughs offer the promise of everything from teeth that repair themselves to the possibility of one-day having the ability for dentists to actually regrow teeth.
One area researchers constantly look towards to find inspiration and the ability to improve our oral health is nature. This was recently true for a group of South Korean researchers that examined the ethanol extracts produced from the fruit of the Terminalia chebula tree, more commonly known as the Indian walnut. Researchers believe that this extract may offer an effective way to prevent the development of oral inflammation and bone resorption, reports the results of a new study.
Better Oral Health Through Nature
The Indian walnut plant is commonly found throughout South East Asia. Over the years, the properties the various extracts produced by the tree have been commonly studied by researchers, and include antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant effects. As a result, the Indian walnut ranks as one of the most commonly used plants in traditional Indian medicines.
As part of the study, researchers examined the effect of an Indian walnut extract in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. The plant’s antibacterial effects were examined using the disc diffusion method, and the anti-inflammatory effect was identified using molecular biological analysis of cultured cells mediated by the oral bacteria most commonly associated with the formation of dental plaque. Additionally, the prevention of osteoclastic bone resorption by the plant extract was explored using pit formation and osteoclast formation assays.
The results of the study found that the extract actually limited the growth of harmful oral bacteria and suppressed the kind of inflammation most closely associated with the development of gum disease. Furthermore, the extract prevented osteoclast formation, thereby preventing bone resorption, discovered researchers.
In more basic terms, the extract successfully exhibited properties that inhibited the growth of harmful oral bacteria that causes tooth decay, while also preventing the bone loss typically associated with advanced cases of gum disease.
As a result of the study, ethanol extracts from the Indian walnut may offer an effective natural preventative agent for the treatment of gum disease and tooth decay. However, researchers caution that further study is needed to identify and isolate the beneficial chemical compounds in the extract that could be used for pharmaceutical purposes, such as in an oral hygiene product like toothpaste or a mouthwash.
The results of this latest study were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Improving Your Oral Health
While extracts from the Indian walnut may be a few years away from providing any protection to your oral health, you can help maintain and improve the health of your teeth and gums by practicing the basic components of preventative oral care. This includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling regular exams and cleanings with your family dentist in West Linn.
The future of dentistry and patient health appears bright, but it’s still important that patients take care of their oral health today to enjoy a great looking smile for a lifetime.