Products derived from plants may represent a promising strategy in dentistry. Thus, the objective of this paper is to review studies of the popular use of plants in oral diseases, as well as studies evaluating the in vitro antimicrobial activity of plant extracts and isolated compounds in oral pathogens from 1996 to 2011. Forty-seven botanical families were mentioned, with the highest number of referencesfor Anacardiaceae, and Anacardium occidentale L. was the most mentioned specie. The review of antimicrobial activity studies relatedextracts from sixty-six plant species belonging to thirty-eight botanical families, especially Anacardiaceae, being predominant tests with leaves, investigated by the agar diffusion method. Fifty-eight compounds isolated from plants have been evaluated, showing that Terminalia chebula Retz (Combretaceae) represents the plant species with more meaningful in vitro antimicrobial activity, with inhibition zone of 32.97 mm against Staphylococcus aureus, microorganism found in oral infections, while tetra iso-alpha acid isolated from Humulus lupulus L. (Canabinaceae) showed greater inhibition zone for Streptococcus mutans (26.0 mm). The presented results should encourage the development of validation studies, ensuring the safe and effective use of plant species in dentistry.
Medicinal plants; oral health; oral pathogens; in vitro; review