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Researchers from Brazil's Paraíba State University have determined that extracts of pomegranate and chamomile can help heal bleeding gums.
The researchers tested 56 patients who had bleeding gums and gingivitis. They were split into three groups and each rinsed twice daily with an assigned rinse for 15 days. One group rinsed with chamomile extract, another group rinsed with pomegranate extract and a third group rinsed with chlorhexidine.
The patients were tested for bleeding gums at the beginning of the study, after seven days and after 15 days. The researchers found that all three extracts acted similarly and reduced gum bleeding significantly.
These included Streptococcus mitis and Streptococcus sangus, which are known to accumulate as biofilm and excrete toxins that produce inflammation, pain and bleeding. These same toxins can also leak into the blood stream where they can damage blood vessel walls, tissues and organs.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita Linn.) contains several flavonoids and terpenoids, which have been shown to be antimicrobial as well as reduce inflammation and spasms.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum Linn.), is also antimicrobial but it is also antioxidant and stimulates the immune system. These are typically attributed to its alkaloid content - including tannins. Pomegranate skin contains the most medicinal properties.
Chlorhexidine is a popular antimicrobial gingivitis treatment that can reduce pathogenic oral bacteria, but comes with negative effects, including staining of the tongue and dental work, increased teeth sensitivity and oral scaling. Chlorhexidine has been linked with allergies. It also tastes bad and can ruin the taste of the next meal or two.
One of the problems with the antimicrobial nature of chlorhexidine is that it also wipes out the beneficial (probiotic) bacteria of the oral cavity. This allows the pathogenic bacteria to regrow without any challengers.
Tests with pomegranate and chamomile have not established whether they also cause probiotic die-off. But other research has shown that plant-based fibers support the regrowth of probiotic colonies.
Batista AL, Lins RD, de Souza Coelho R, do Nascimento Barbosa D, Moura Belém N, Alves Celestino FJ. Clinical efficacy analysis of the mouth rinsing with pomegranate and chamomile plant extracts in the gingival bleeding reduction. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Feb;20(1):93-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2013.08.002.
Adams C. Oral Probiotics: Fighting Tooth Decay, Periodontal Disease and Airway Infections Using Friendly Bacteria. Logical Books, 2012.