Purpose: The aim of the present study was to assess the effectiveness of Terminalia chebula aqueous extract rinse on salivary pH and Streptococcus mutans. Mouthrinses have been in use from time immemorial as a supplement for routine oral hygiene practice. Although a large number of mouthrinses are currently available, many of them possess certain drawbacks, which has necessitated the search for alternate agents. Materials and Methods: Ten per cent of T. chebula extract was prepared. A purposive sample of 30 subjects was selected and randomly divided into extract and control groups. Baseline salivary sample was collected. The freshly prepared extract rinse and control were given to the respective groups. Distilled water was used as a negative control. Salivary samples were collected at 5 and 60 min after rinsing and were subjected to pH and microbiological analyses. An acceptability questionnaire was given to all of the participants. Statistical analysis was done using paired and unpaired t tests. Results: There was a significant reduction in the S. mutans count at 5 and 60 min after rinsing the extract. Salivary pH remained alkaline for a period of 1 h after rinsing the extract. Results of the acceptability questionnaire indicated that the mouthrinse was acceptable to 80% of the subjects. Conclusions: The results of the present study indicate that T. chebula may prove to be an effective anticaries mouthwash owing to its ability to increase salivary pH and inhibit S. mutans. This may also be a valuable public health intervention as it is economical and has multiple health benefits.
Keywords: herbal mouthrinse, salivary pH, Streptococcus mutans, Terminalia chebula, total Streptococcus