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Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) extracts have been found to be rich in polyphenols specifically, including flavonoids, that have been found to exhibit beneficial properties to human health. Considering the recent inclination in the preference of people towards herbal based products and remedies, and taking into account the possible side-effects of chlorhexidine, the current study was undertaken to comparatively evaluate the antimicrobial efficacy of Vaccinium macrocarpon and chlorhexidine mouthwash on the Streptococcus mutans count in the dental plaque of caries, active children. The study follows a parallel design involving 50 children divided into two groups of 25 each - Group 1: chlorhexidine mouthwash; Group 2: cranberry mouthwash. The initial plaque samples and the samples were taken after 14 days were evaluated using a digital colony counter for determining the streptococcal colony count/ml. A statistically significant difference was found in both the groups with respect to the Streptococcal colony count when the intra-group comparison was made comparing the baseline values to the values after 14 days. However, no significant difference was seen in the percentage of reduction in the microbial CFU/ml between the two groups. Cranberry mouthwash can be considered to be an effective alternative to Chlorhexidine mouthwash, given its additional systemic effects apart from local beneficial effects in the oral region. Future scope in research should be aimed at evaluating its long term health benefits and any possible adverse effects.
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