Aloe Vera and Oral Health

One of the oldest natural remedies that can be traced historically is aloe vera. This succulent plant has reportedly been used for at least 2,000 years when the Greeks considered it a universal remedy. The plant has been popular worldwide, from Egypt and India to China, Japan, Mexico, and eventually to North America. Over the centuries, people have used it to manage skin conditions (sunburn, burns, rash), digestive problems (constipation, indigestion), wounds, radiation dermatitis, and oral health.

The need for better oral health care is considerable. A 2019 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that 26 percent of adults in the United States have tooth decay that has not been treated. Among adults aged 30 years and older, 46 percent have signs of gum disease. In Canada, the news is better. Eighty-four percent of Canadians say their dental health is good or excellent. However, good oral health requires a commitment to daily care.

In this article, we will explore using aloe vera to manage dental care and maintain oral health.

What is aloe vera?

Aloe vera, or Aloe barbadenis miller, is a succulent with fleshy, serrated leaves found primarily in dry areas of the world, including parts of Africa, Europe, the Americas, India, and Asia. The leaves are made up of three layers:

  • the rind (outer layer) that protects the plant and also makes proteins and carbs;
  • a middle layer composed of a bitter sap called latex, as well as substances called anthraquinones and glycosides;
  • The inner layer is formed nearly entirely of water, amino acids, lipids, vitamins, sterols, and glucomannanas.

What’s unique about aloe vera?

Approximately 75 active substances can be found in aloe vera. Some properties make it a good candidate for helping manage oral health.

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  • Vitamins A and C are potent antioxidants. Vitamin A helps keep mucus membranes healthy and thus aids in preventing dry mouth. Vitamin C is involved in collagen production and contributes to connective tissue health.
  • Enzymes, especially bradykinesia, can help reduce inflammation when applied topically.
  • Calcium, magnesium, and zinc minerals are essential for strong teeth.
  • Polysaccharides, including acemannan (aka glucomammose), have demonstrated an ability to aid in mineralization and dentin formation and thus strengthen teeth.
  • Plant steroids, including cholesterol, campesterol B-sitosterol, and lupeol. These have anti-inflammatory abilities, and lupeol also provides pain-reducing properties.
  • Other substances in aloe vera that may contribute to better oral health include saponins, which have antiseptic properties, and salicylic acid, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities.

Oral health issues

The most common complaints people have concerning their oral health are:

  • Cavities: Also known as caries or tooth decay, they are tiny holes in the hard surface of the teeth.
  • Gingivitis: Accumulation of plaque on the teeth. Too much plaque can result in inflamed, painful, and bleeding gums.
  • Periodontitis (gum disease): Develops when gingivitis is not treated. This gum disease destroys the bone that supports teeth and causes bad breath and receding gums.
  • Bad breath: Foul-smelling breath that can occur because of dehydration, poor dental hygiene, and eating certain foods.
  • Mouth ulcers: Small sores that develop on the lips, tongue, and other areas inside the mouth. They can be caused by factors such as biting your tongue or cheek, wearing braces, using abrasive toothpaste, eating acidic foods, hormonal fluctuations, and stress.

Poor oral health can tremendously impact your overall physical and emotional health. The University of Illinois Chicago School of Dentistry has reported on an association between periodontitis and the development of Alzheimer’s disease, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Poor dental health also has been associated with cardiovascular disease risk, according to a Harvard report. One reason may be that infections of the gums may reach the blood vessels and cause inflammation and damage that results in clots, strokes, or heart attacks. The Harvard report also mentions a connection between poor oral health, rheumatoid arthritis, and pancreatic cancer.

Aloe vera and oral health: research

The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties of aloe vera have prompted people to use it to manage various dental problems. For example, in one study, 45 individuals with gingivitis were asked to rinse with aloe vera mouthwash alone, undergo scaling, or use the aloe vera mouthwash and have scaling. All the patients showed an improvement in gingivitis, but those in the aloe vera and scaling group had the most reduction. In a study of people with periodontitis, using aloe vera gel with scaling and root planing resulted in a better outcome than scaling and root planing alone.

The use of aloe vera also can destroy Streptococcus mutans, bacteria that produce plaque. In a 2019 study, researchers found aloe vera helped inhibit S. mutans growth.

In other research, patients with oral submucous fibrosis were treated with either aloe vera juice or aloe vera gel for three months or hydrocortisone and hyaluronidase for six weeks and antioxidants for three months. The effectiveness of the aloe vera was comparable to that of the other treatment. Experts also have shown that aloe vera gel is effective in speeding up healing from mouth ulcers and also reduces pain and wound size.

Using aloe vera for oral health

You can use aloe vera to support your dental health by using commercial toothpaste and mouthwash that contain the gel, or you can make your own products. Whether you buy products that already have aloe vera or you make your own, buy aloe vera that is all-natural and organic.

Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of natural aloe vera gel and a drop of cinnamon, lemon, orange, or peppermint essential oil to make your toothpaste. Place a small amount on your toothbrush. Store the excess in a glass airtight container.

Homemade aloe vera mouthwash requires a few more ingredients. You will need a clean, empty glass jar with a lid.

  • ½ cup aloe vera juice
  • ½ cup distilled water
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda

Combine the ingredients in the bottle, put on the lid, and shake well until everything has dissolved. Refrigerate the unused mouthwash. To use, swish a small amount in your mouth for 20 seconds, then gargle for a few seconds before spitting out the mouthwash. Do not swallow the mouthwash. If you don’t like the taste, add 1 to 2 drops of peppermint, orange, lemon, or peppermint essential oil.

Oral use of aloe vera gel and juice is generally safe, but some people experience allergic reactions. A 2019 study reported that “topical and oral use of Aloe vera can cause skin irritation, hives, cramping, and diarrhea to those allergic to other plants in the lily family…onion and tulips.” Before using aloe vera, a patch test is recommended. If you experience any reactions, stop using aloe vera immediately. Never use aloe latex orally, as it can cause stomach cramps and irritation. Children and pregnant and breastfeeding women should always check with their physician before using aloe vera.

Other ways to use aloe vera

Aloe vera is also used to help manage other health concerns, including skin irritation and dryness, sunburn, diabetes (which may help lower blood sugar), and digestive issues such as indigestion, constipation, and heartburn (aloe vera juice). Talk to your healthcare provider about how aloe vera may be effective for other symptoms and health concerns.

Bottom line

Aloe vera is a natural, complementary remedy with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that may prove helpful in the management of oral health issues. Along with regular checkups, daily oral care, and teeth cleanings, aloe vera can be a part of your oral care routine.

[Editor's Note: We trust the brand Lily of the Desert for our aloe vera. We've been using it for years for everything from boo-boos to digestion. Learn more about it on their site.]

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Lisa Roth Collins is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and is the Marketing Manager at She is passionate about health and wellness and tries her best to make healthier choices every day for herself and her family. Her journey to natural health was driven by her own struggles with digestive discomfort, depression, and anxiety. Lisa returned to school in 2014 to study nutrition at the Canadian School for Natural Nutrition. She threw herself into her studies so she could learn as much as she could to help herself feel better and thrive. Upon completing the program and being certified as an RHN, Lisa began her work at Naturally Savvy where she has been able to help so many people learn to make healthier choices for themselves. Through her work, she has connected with so many incredible people in the industry whether other authors, influencers, or brands. Plus, she is affectionately known as "Techie Spice" because of her ability to wrap her head around technology. Every day she gets up with a renewed sense of energy and ready to make a difference. You can read all of Lisa's content here. In her spare time, Lisa loves to try new recipes, make delicious and nourishing meals, and she is an avid reader. For more information about Lisa, check out her profile on here.