A windowsill is a sunny spot for an aloe vera plant to thrive. Whenever the need arises to treat an injury like a minor scrape or burn, the succulent aloe vera plant's soothing sap is ready to give natural relief. Aloe vera possesses antiseptic and antifungal properties and offers soothing relief. How simple it is. Just break off the aloe leaf, slice it open, and let the comfort gel ease the area without any sting. What's more, the plant will continue to grow, as plants do, and repair itself.
Aloe vera is incorporated as a natural ingredient in hand soaps, waterless hand sanitizers, and towelettes used in dentistry. Hand soap is a basic step in infection control; however, repeated handwashing can make the skin excessively dry.
Traditional soaps may add aloe vera to promote healing. Mydent International incorporates aloe vera into the Defend line in their OmniCare lotion soap along with other natural nonirritating ingredients. In addition, this hand soap is pleasantly scented with a hint of baby powder.
Waterless sanitizers are ultra convenient when a sink is not in sight. Crosstex offers its SaniTyze antimicrobial gel, which has aloe vera and leaves hands feeling smooth prior to donning gloves. They also have a nongreasy lotion, AloeCare Plus 3, and SaniCare Barrier cream with triclosan. HealthLink brand has an instant sanitizer, GBG AloeGel, that does not leave a sticky residue as expected from aloe vera’s jelly-like juice. The AloeGel moisturizes the skin while concurrently killing a broad spectrum of microorganisms and can be dispensed in a wall mounted unit.
Antimicrobial towelettes decontaminate hands and add aloe vera to maintain moisture and prevent dry hands. Sani-Dex ALC gel wipes from PDI reduce bacteria and is dispensed in a pop-up canister or individual packages. Safetec's p.a.w.s., which stands for personal antimicrobial wipes, also contain aloe vera.
Gloves with Aloe Vera
Another way to keep the hands nourished is through donning examination gloves with aloe vera added. The routine wearing of gloves in dentistry can have a drying effect on hands and can become uncomfortable. Standard untreated gloves may become an irritation for tender skin and possibly cause the hands to lose moisture when they really need the protection.
Aloe vera is safe and latex compatible to reduce moisture loss caused by multiple handwashings in an average dental day.
Several gloves integrate aloe vera instead of using the more traditional powders. Dash's AloePRO powder-free gloves are coated with aloe vera on the inside and have a slight textured touch on the outside. They are available in latex or synthetic/latex free. The latex-free product is light green in color. Glove Club has the AloeSoft glove. Aloe vera gel coats the inside of the glove to moisturize the hand. This latex, powder-free glove has a textured finger grip so instruments will not slip.
Medline’s Aloetouch lineup is available in latex, non-latex, nitrile, and sterile surgery type gloves, all in powder-free formulas. Plus, the nitrile glove is green in color and is inner aloe coated. Medline also has the new Aloetouch 3G, which is a stretch, synthetic powder-free glove. Medline also recently introduced the Aloetouch Natural, which is a sterile, latex, powder-free surgical glove with an inner aloe vera coating. The company’s Sensicare aloe vera glove is a sterile surgeon latex type.
Lotions that add aloe vera are designed to be nongreasy and not compromise the integrity of the gloves. Ideally, hand lotions are required to absorb quickly and at the same time effectively moisturize. VioNex lotion from Metrex encourages tissue repair, germ killing, and is delivered in a pump-action bottle or wall mounted. Minnesota's Ecolab has an amino lotion named Accent Plus that is aloe enriched and fragrance free. Sultan Dental's Glove Relief moisturizing cream is a water-based absorbent without irritating dyes and is available in a flip-top tube.
Other Oral Products with Aloe Vera
Aloe vera also finds its way into oral products that are recommended for daily homecare. Products such as mouthrinses, toothpaste, and floss can use aloe vera as an effective ingredient. Since aloe vera is a natural healer, mouthwashes incorporate it naturally into products used daily. Tom’s of Maine produces Natural Anticavity Fluoride Mouthwash that includes aloe vera leaf juice in a spearmint-flavored swish. The alcohol-free mouthwash incorporates fluoride ions for remineralization of demineralized tooth structure. The Natural Dentist sells its Healthy Gums herbal rinse that is also designed for daily use.
Aloe vera gel is a component of a natural peppermint flavored rinse that temporarily relieves mouth irritations and protects gum tissue. Optima Health Inc. manufactures alcohol-free Aloe Dent mouthwash, which is minty fresh and suggests antibacterial protection. Aloe Dent therapy extends to a complete line of products incorporating aloe vera from mouthwashes, toothpaste, breath fresheners, and floss. Aloe Dent’s nylon and shred-resistant floss contains aloe vera in a minty, natural, and beeswax coating. Aggressive flossing may lead to trauma, and the aloe vera incorporated into the floss is ready to soothe the tissues. The ergonomic floss container is slightly larger in size.
Toothpaste manufacturers also make use of aloe vera in their formulas. The Shane brand toothpaste includes fluoride and a concentrate of patented aloe vera formula for better oral hygiene. Shane toothpaste is gentle and should be considered for patients who suffer from sensitive teeth and gums and who desire a natural toothpaste without artificial dye ingredients. Shane’s toothpaste is not a newcomer to the preventive oral hygiene arena; the products have also been accepted by the American Dental Association.
AloeDyne — a whitening, organic, aloe vera toothpaste by Kiss My Face — is a low-abrasive paste free of fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate. Allergic patients should not experience irritation because this certified organic aloe vera formula has been dermatologically and allergy tested.
Whether looking at products for use in the office or recommending home-care items for daily use, aloe vera is integrated into products to ease tender tissues. Aloe vera is a wound-soothing stimulator that, when applied to areas of irritation, may reduce itching, lessen mild inflammation, and has antibacterial as well as antifungal properties naturally.
The author did not receive compensation for the products mentioned. For more information, visit the Web: www.mydent.com, www.crosstex.com, www.safetec.com, www.precisiondental.com, www.dashmedical.com, www.kerrdental.com, www.cardinal.com, www.tomsofmaine.com, www.thenaturaldentist.com, www.optimah.com, and www.drwolfe.com.
About the Author
Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis' Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected].
Am J Infect Control. 2003 Feb;31(1):40-2m Evaluation of aloe vera gel gloves in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure. West DP, Zhu YF. Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill 60611-2923, USA