Ginko May Increase Gum Disease
Thinking of trying an alternative herbal remedy? Be cautious, and before jumping on the herbal products bandwagon, ask your dentist about possible side effects, and report your herbal remedy use to your dentist.
Although sales of alternative products reached more than $2.5 billion in 1996 and are growing by 25 percent per year, many patients do not think about notifying their dentist regarding their personal herbal practices, according to a recent study in General Dentistry, the clinical journal of the Academy.
“Help prevent harmful drug interactions and adverse oral health symptoms by informing your dentist,” says Eric Z. Shapira, DDS, MAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. “Consumers may not understand how the possible side effects of herbal remedies relate to their oral health.”
Gingko affects the platelets in the blood stream that cause the clotting mechanism to occur after an injury. Patients taking gingko may bleed through their gums, and the product may cause uncontrollable bleeding or speed up existing gum disease. Bleeding time is prolonged when ginkgo is used with aspirin.
Herbal anti-anxiety agents, such as St. John’s Wort, may lead to excess sedation when paired with a prescription sedative.
Let your dentist know if you are taking herbal or homeopathic remedies and if you are under the supervision of an alternative therapist, advises Dr. Shapira.
|Alternative Oral Health Remedies **|
|Barberry Bark||Treats bad breath|
|Horehound||For acute or chronic sore throat and coughs|
|Myrrh Gum||Removes bad breath|
|Speedwell||Used as a gargle for mouth and throat sores|
|Ginger Root||Remedy for a sore throat|
|Echinacea Root||Used to treat strep throat|
|**Only limited scientific investigation supports these claims|