Aloe vera is a tropical plant that has been used in a variety of herbal medicine traditions. While most proven uses of aloe vera relate to its efficacy as a burn treatment and skin ointment, some alternative medicine practitioners suggest using it to treat a variety of additional symptoms. Despite the lack of clinical evidence concerning aloe’s use as a teeth whitener, some manufacturers suggest it as a natural method for bleaching or whitening your teeth. Pregnant women should never take aloe products orally, as they may cause uterine contractions that may trigger miscarriage.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aloe has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years and remains one of the most commonly used herbs in the United States today. Most applications of aloe gel relate to burns and skin conditions such as herpes. The bitter, yellow liquid derived from the skin of the aloe leaf has also been used as a powerful albeit unsafe laxative.
The process of teeth whitening typically involves bleaching the outer enamel layers of your teeth. Most products used to whiten your teeth use chemical bleaching agents such as carbamide peroxide, according to the American Dental Association. While aloe gel may seem an attractive natural option for limiting your exposure to abrasive chemicals, there are no peer-reviewed studies pointing to its benefits in teeth whitening. Aloe gel is typically not harmful when applied topically to the teeth or mouth, but deliberately swallowing aloe vera gel can cause severe intestinal cramps or diarrhea.
Although no evidence has linked the use of aloe gel to effective teeth-whitening, aloe’s natural anti-inflammatory effects may offer benefits for individuals with health conditions that can have a detrimental effect on teeth appearance, such as gum disease and infected oral cavities. MayoClinic.com records aloe’s possible effectiveness in treating lichen planus, an inflammatory condition in the mouth. Also, gingivitis is among the list of conditions that aloe has been used to treat traditionally. For best results, talk to your doctor about the possible benefits of applying aloe gel to your teeth or using aloe-fortified toothpaste.
Avoid aloe products if you have an allergic reaction to garlic, tulips, onions and other plants of the Liliaceae family. According to MayoClinic.com, prolonged use of aloe gel may result in allergic reactions such as hives and an eczemalike rash. In addition to intestinal cramping and diarrhea, oral aloe may result in lower blood sugar levels and electrolyte imbalances. To avoid these and other negative side effects, talk to your doctor before adding aloe gel to your routine.