Mother (Nature) Knows Best?

Maki, Allison, and Abby Wojcik

Purpose

Interest in natural-based products has increased in recent years and the purpose of this table clinic is to compare the effectiveness of ingredients in natural dentifrices with conventional dentifrices. They will be evaluated on plaque and gingival inflammation reduction, product availability, cost and possible adverse reactions. It is critical for clinicians to provide scientific evidence to educate patients on the misconception that natural, herbal or organic products are safer and more effective than conventional products.

Summary

There are countless companies that cater to the millions of Americans that purchase natural-based products, but only two carry the America Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Data from recent studies have shown that natural ingredients such as Aloe vera, propolis and Echinacea are as effective as conventional ingredients such as triclosan, fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate, but exhibit more side effects.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our research has supported our hypothesis that natural dentifrices are as effective in treating gingivitis as conventional dentifrices. However, more side effects are documented with natural ingredients. This research is relevant to dental hygiene practice to convey the importance of scientifically-based patient education. While fluoride is a controversial topic, clinicians must be able to relay scientific evidence to dissolve common misconceptions regarding the dangers and illustrate its preventive benefits. It is important for patients to find the right dentifrice that they are comfortable with in order to get them to brush at least twice daily, but this comfort should not be based on false information. As an evidence-based professional, it is our job to sift through the controversial information available in order to provide not only the most effective, but also the safest treatment options for our patients.