In the Middle East and Asia, especially the subcontinent of India, products of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) are traditionally used for dental purposes. Compounds in the leaves, bark, and stems have antibacterial properties, making them useful for oral hygiene. Patients have asked if neem products, such as neem oil, can be used to cure gingival conditions. The answer to this question is “it depends,” says the Sacramento Dentistry Group in Sacramento, California.
While it seems clear from the number of positive studies that neem is useful as part of an oral hygiene regimen, less has been said about its effectiveness for treating periodontal disease. One study published in the Journal of the Indian Society for Periodontology indicates neem mouthwash reduces the effects of gingivitis nearly as well as chlorhexidine, however, the authors concluded their report by saying “neem can be used as an adjunct to mechanical therapy for treating plaque-induced gingivitis.”
While neem mouthwash may help improve oral health, it can only do so if a dentist first removes plaque and tartar buildup, exposing the bacteria to the beneficial compounds contained in the neem tree or other standard medicines.