As herbal medications and supplements are becoming more popular, some dentists have incorporated them into their practice. Herbs have potent effects on the body. Herbal supplements contain essential extracts of a plant source, in a concentrated manner placed most often in a liquid, capsule or tablet. Most prescription drugs are the synthetic chemical forms of what was originally derived from a plant. If you are taking any herbal and vitamin supplements, make sure to let your dentist know. The following are some herbs and their importance in oral care:
- St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum) is a mild antidepressant and sedative. This herb may intensify the effects of local anesthetic for dental treatment and cause problems. However, it has sedative properties and may help to decrease anxiety of a dental appointment.
- Lavender extract placed on a handkerchief and inhaled before a dental treatment will help with anxiety.
- Valerian has similar effects as lavender and acts as a sedative and muscle relaxant.
- Aloe Vera contains antibacterial and antiviral properties and can help shrink cold sores and fever blisters.
- Arnica may be used for those suffering with TMJ (jaw disorder). It comes in creams and ointments that can be applied to sore jaw.
- Oil of calendula has shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful in wound and tissue repair such as mouth sores or after an extraction of a tooth.
- Blood thinners such as ginkgo biloba can produce serious bleeding problems if taken before surgery in the mouth such as extractions of teeth.
- Clove oil is used for inflammation of the mouth and for toothache. It can be used as a mouthwash or a paste and placed in a tooth.
Before taking any herbs, consult with a licensed professional knowledgeable in the field. They can help you take the proper herbs in the right dosages.