One of the earliest uses of neem was oral care when ancient Ayurvedic doctors recommended that people chew on neem sticks for healthier gums. With gum disease affecting somewhere between 50 and 80% of Americans, according to the National Library of Medicine, maybe it’s time to reconsider that ancient remedy.
We don’t expect most people to take up chewing on sticks — although we sell thousands of them every year — but we’d really like for you to try the Neem Bark Toothpowder, which is BOGO this month. It’s brown and it doesn’t fizz, but it’s a top-seller because it works so well. We’ve guaranteed that customers see good results for at least 10 years and have refunded three people in that time. (One of them actually wrote back later and apologized, something else was staining his teeth, not the neem.)
It’s been a while since we reviewed the literature on it, so here are some of the highlights:
THIS REPORT IS PROVIDED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. NEEM TREE FARMS DOES NOT SELL PRODUCTS THAT ARE INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE.
The most recent is a report published in the April 2021 issue International Journal of Dental Hygiene, which was actually funded by the Colgate-Palmolive Company. They created a test toothpaste with neem, cloves, aloe, amla, tulsi and honey to compare with their standard fluoride toothpaste over a six-month period. About 150 people in good health but showing some signs of plaque build-up or gingival scores participated.
After six months, the test subjects showed reductions of 23.5%, 25.6% and 73.3% for dental plaque, gingival index and bleeding index outcomes with the herbal toothpaste over the control group. (Our fingers are crossed in hopes of seeing a similar product hit the mainstream market in the U.S. soon.)
Another randomized, double-blind study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences compared a neem gel with chlorohexidine against plaque and gingivitis in young adults. Chlorhexidine is a powerful antimicrobial treatment, but its side effects include stained teeth, an altered sense of taste and irritation. Sixty schoolteachers used either neem or chlorhexidine for 90 days. Both saw reductions in plaque, gingival and microbial counts but no side effects were reported with the neem gel.
A double-blind crossover study, published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice, looked at the impact of a neem gel and chlorhexidine in 40 people, who started with one treatment and then waited a week between treatments to cross over to the other. Both groups showed reductions in plaque levels but there was no statistically significant difference.
I do have to admit that I cherry-picked the reports showing that neem out-performed chlorhexidine rather than those that show it works but not as well. Considering its side effects and the limited time period that most dentists recommend using chlorhexidine, neem is still the better choice for long-term dental health.