MENTHA PIPERITA L. - A PROMISING DENTAL CARE HERB MAINLY AGAINST CARIOGENIC BACTERIA
Oral diseases are considered from the major health problems and are not limited to dental caries and periodontal diseases but to various autoimmune conditions. Itsayurvedic therapy includes different plants used in management of toothache, sore throat, mouth sores, abscess, broken tooth and jaw, tooth sensitivity, mouth thrush, dental caries, gingivitis, tooth bleaching, dental anxiety, dental phobia and plants used for dental extraction. Peppermint (Menthapiperita L.), a sterile hybrid of the species M. aquatica L. and M. spicata, L. is considered one of the important aromatic herbs containing high amount of volatile oil used in dental care. The peppermint leaves have a characteristic, aromatic, strong odor and an aromatic, warm, pungent taste followed by a cooling sensation.The medicinal parts are the essential oil extracted from the aerial parts of the flowering plant, the dried leaves, the fresh flowering plant and the whole plant. M. piperita L.is a perennial 50–90 cm high, normally quadrangular and a prototypical member of the mint family. The essential oil of M.piperitaL.leaves is characterized by the presence of high percent of menthol (29-48%) in addition tomenthone (20-31%), and the different isomers of menthol in addition to other constituents.M. piperitaL. is one of most promising species with antibacterial potential against cariogenic bacteria as Streptococcus mutans. Peppermint oil and leaves posses several other biological effects as antiseptic in oral preparations, antibacterial,antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and antispasmodic effects. It is also used as a flavoringagent in food and pharmaceutical industry and oral preparations.