Phytodentistry in Africa: prospects for head and neck cancers

Background Orthodox dentistry has undergone significant changes in recent times with the introduction of various omics and molecular targeted therapies both at the experimental/trial and clinical implementation level. Although, significant milestones have been achieved in the molecular dentistry field in the past decade, there remains a dearth of application of phytopharmacological innovation in personalized and targeted therapies for dental diseases. Main body From time immemorial, plant products have long been an integral aspect of dental practice ranging from chewing sticks/herbal kinds of toothpaste to dental/impression materials. The current era of precision medicine seeks to apply a multipronged molecular and bio-computational approaches to solve fundamental medical problems that have hitherto remained difficult. Remarkable changes in the molecular/omics era, have transformed empirical therapies into personalized/individualized ones. Furthermore, the combinatorial application and the widespread introduction of high-throughput molecular tools such as pharmacogenomics, phytopharmacology, metabolomics, mathematical modelling, and genetic engineering inter alia, has tremendously improved the diagnostic and therapeutic landscape of medicine. Additionally, the variable molecular epidemiology of diseases among different population and emerging molecular evidence warrants the use of customized novel theranostic techniques. Unfortunately, the footprint of such emerging application is sparse in dental diseases such as maxillofacial cancers. Conclusion Hence, this review seeks to evaluate the potential application of phytopharmacological approaches to head and neck cancers in a resource-limited environment, such as Africa.