The aloe vera plant is well known for its healing power, such as its ability to heal burns, cuts and soothe pain. Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned the aloe plant as having benefits for headaches, ulcers and general cleansing properties, in his Prophetic medicine. Aloe vera gel is now a common ingredient in ointments that heal sunburn, minor cuts, skin irritation, and many other ailments.
Now research has found that aloe vera is also beneficial for teeth and gum health, and is used as an active ingredient in tooth gels. Similar to its use on skin, the aloe vera in tooth gels is used to cleanse and soothe teeth and gums, and is just as effective as toothpaste in fighting cavities, according to the May/June 2009 issue of the journal, General Dentistry.
Aloe vera tooth gel is intended to perform the same function as toothpaste, which is to control or eliminate the bad microflora in the mouth which contribute to poor dental health. This study compared the germ-fighting ability of an aloe vera tooth gel to two commercially popular toothpastes and revealed that the aloe vera tooth gel was just as effective, and in some cases more effective, than the commercial brands at controlling cavity-causing organisms.
Aloe contains anthraquinones, which are chemical compounds that are used in healing and relieving pain because they are anti-inflammatory in nature. But, because aloe vera tooth gel tends to be less harsh on teeth, as it does not contain the abrasive elements typically found in commercial toothpaste, it is a great natural alternative.
However, it must be noted that not all aloe vera tooth gel contains the proper form of aloe vera, as there are more that 300 species of the plant, but only a handful have been used for medicinal purposes. The study authors explained that products must contain the stabilized gel that is located in the center of the aloe vera plant in order to be effective and the aloe "must not be treated with excessive heat or filtered during the manufacturing process, as this destroys or reduces the effects of certain essential compounds, such as enzymes and polysaccharides." They suggest that consumers consult non-profit associations such as the International aloe Science Council to see what products have received the organization's seal of quality.
Research Paper details:
George D, Bhat SS, Antony B, Comparative evaluation of the antimicrobial efficacy of aloe vera tooth gel and two popular commercial toothpastes: An in vitro study. May/June 2009 General Dentistry, Vol 57 Issue 3, p 238-241.