Many people use nutritional supplementation to help with their overall health. I am no exception. As you consider what supplements to use, be aware that the best way to get the nutrients that sustain life is to eat CLEANLY. In other words, food is our best medicine. Products with more than 5 ingredients are highly processed. Essential nutrients have been removed during the processing and then added back. When they are added back, they are typically not in the original form that the body uses best.
David Meinz, an expert dietician and nutritionist, tells us that the best way to get the right foods is to shop at our local grocery store along the periphery. The farther we venture toward the interior of the store, the more likely we are to encounter processing. This is probably a good rule of thumb along with reading the labels.
There are a number of supplements and herbal remedies that will interact with medications that people take every day. Here are a few that have an effect on the risk of bleeding:
• Bromelain –
Use: speed recovery from sports and other minor injuries
Interactions: with aspirin, antibiotics, acetaminophen (Tylenol), atropine and carbamazepine
• Cayenne –
Use: as a painkiller, can ease congestion associated with colds and soothe sore throats
Interactions: with acetaminophen (Tylenol), antibiotics and aspirin
• Chamomile –
Use: reduce flatulence, diarrhea, stomach upset
• Feverfew –
Use: Pain relief from migraines, asthma, toothache, insect bites
• Garlic –
Use: Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, prevent colds, flu
Interactions: acetaminophen ( Tylenol), aspirin and general anesthetics
• Goldenseal –
Use: Antiseptic to treat cold and flu, reduce nasal inflammation and soreness
Interactions: Warfarin (Coumadin)
• Vitamin E –
Use: Anti-aging for cardiac health
These are just a few examples of how common supplements can interact with common medications. While there may be benefits to using herbal supplements in dentistry, we really don’t know a lot about them. In our practice, we have seen some beautiful results in the health of gum tissue with the use of essential oils. The herbs aloe vera, bloodroot, calendula, echinacea, goldenseal, and grapefruit seed extract are useful in treating periodontal disease. For toothaches, clove oil, garlic, lemon balm, licorice and propolis can be useful.
All of this information is meant to stimulate your thinking and encourage you to examine what you eat, drink and supplement with. As additional research is done, we will find a definite niche for herbal treatments in dentistry.