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Botanicals as promising antimicrobial agents for enhancing oral health: a comprehensive review.

The mouth houses the second largest diversity of microorganisms in the body, harboring more than 700 bacterial species colonizing the soft mucosa and hard tooth surfaces. Microbes are the cause of several health-related problems, such as dental carries, gingivitis, periodontitis, etc., in the mouth across different age groups and socioeconomic/demographic groups. Oral infections are major health problems that affect the standard of living. Compromised oral health is related to chronic conditions and systemic disorders. Microbes responsible for dental caries are acid-producing and aciduric Gram-positive bacteria (Streptococci, Lactobacilli). Gram-negative bacteria (Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Actinobacillus, and Fusobacterium) capable of growing in anaerobic environments are responsible for periodontal diseases. Due to the high prevalence of oral diseases, negative effects associated with the use of antimicrobial agents and increased antibiotic resistance in oral pathogens, suitable alternative methods (effective, economical and safe) to suppress microbes disturbing oral health need to be adopted. Side effects associated with the chemical antimicrobial agents are vomiting, diarrhea and tooth staining. Several researchers have studied the antimicrobial properties of plant extracts and phytochemicals and have used them as indigenous practices to control several infections. Therefore, phytochemicals extracted from plants can be suitable alternatives. This review focuses on the various phytochemical/plant extracts suppressing the growth of oral pathogens either by preventing their attachment to the surfaces or by preventing biofilm formation or other mechanisms.

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