Essential Oils

People have used essential oils for oral health for centuries, and clinical studies are finally proving reeeir safety and efficacy. Unfortunately, there's not much funding for plant-based therapies, and there is relatively little research on the subject, compared to studies funded by Big Pharma. But that's another story for another day… 😉

Essential Oils for Oral Health in Dentistry

We know from childhood visits to the dentist that bacteria in the mouth cause all sorts of disease and ill effects, but we also know from growing interest in holistic oral health that not all bacteria are bad. So, antiseptic mouthwashes that kill everything on contact are out of the question, and in turn, essential oils for oral health are often suspect as well.

Natural products are, thankfully, much less concerning than man-made, over-the-counter products, giving us little reason to be concerned about broad elimination of oral bacteria. In the words of Robert Tisserand, “Whether [essential oil] constituents might then negatively affect the bowel flora is pure speculation.”

Along this same line of thinking, there is no reason to believe that essential oils will destroy your oral flora. Essential oils for oral health tend to work to maintain balance rather than upset it, making them a much more reliable choice for oral health than harsh antiseptic formulas.

People have used essential oils for oral health for centuries, and clinical studies are finally proving their safety and efficacy. Unfortunately, there's not much funding for plant-based therapies, and there is relatively little research on the subject, compared to studies funded by Big Pharma. But that's another story for another day… 😉

One recent – and thorough – example comes from a 2014 study published in the Journal of International Oral Health, entitled “Possible Use of Essential Oils in Dentistry.” If you're looking for a one-stop shop for information, this is it! (1) The full text is available for free, but there are a few key points about essential oils for oral health use that I will highlight here:

  • Supports oral hygiene. Compared with fluoride, essential oil rinses achieve just as much plaque inhibitions, and act against subgingival periopathogens (a cause of gingivitis) as well. As a bonus, they won't stain teeth as chlorhexidine rinses have been known to do.
  • Relieves anxiety. Lavender essential oil has been shown, in a variety of circumstances, to lessen mild anxiety and calm heightened emotional states. Utilizing it in dental waiting areas has been shown to calm nervous patients and even lessen perceived pain during needle insertions. Another anxiolytic, orange essential oil, can be useful for anxious children, with inhalation reducing cortisol levels in saliva and slowing anxious pulse rates.
  • Protects wounds. Wound dressings that include protective essential oils, clove in particular, were shown to improve healing time and therapeutic effects in one prominent study.
  • Aids in dental implants. When essential oils for oral health, notably Melilissa and lavender, are applied to dental implants, they have been shown to limit the amount of biofilm produced.
  • Act as a natural preservative. Typically, the ability essential oils  have to outperform methylparaben and other extracts as a preservative is utilized in cosmetic preparations. For oral health, they can be utilized to preserve dental products without the use of methylparaben or other preservatives.

Essential Oils Starter Kit

Essential Oils for Oral Health Applications

So, how does one use essential oils for oral health and to clean their prosthetic devices of biofilm? Quite simply really!

  1. Make a solution of distilled water and EOs (1 cup of water per 10 drops of oil) and allow to soak for a few minutes.
  2. Or, you can rub/brush dental implants with essential oils for oral health by placing 1 drop of oil on toothpaste and clean like you would a conventional cleaner.

The same strategy can be done for people without implants, however, just swish your mouth out the EO solution or add EO toy your toothpaste.

Here's a rundown of some essential oils for oral health facts that will help you apply them in holistic oral health preparations:

  • When brushing is contraindicated – as can be the case with severe fever, indigestion, asthma, coughing, vomiting, and mouth ulcers – you can achieve a deep clean by oil pulling with essential oils blended in coconut oil, preventing bad breath and gingivitis. (2, 3, 4)
  • Hospice patients diagnosed with terminal cancer have been helped with peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and geranium blended for oral health purposes. (5)
  • Clove essential oil is an antimicrobial standby. (6)

When filling your oral health natural medicine cabinet, you have several oils to choose from.

Three of the most effective and commonly used essential oils for oral health are peppermint, orange, and clove. Combinations often found in traditional remedies utilize these oils heavily, with others added for synergy and added benefits. Here are some blends of the best oils to use for oral health:

  • Clove and lavender to battle canker sores – dilute 1 drop with 4 drops of a carrier oil and apply twice daily.
  • Peppermint to temper halitosis – add 1 drop with toothpaste, and gargle with peppermint infused water daily.
  • Clove and orange to soothe sensitive teeth – apply 1 drop with 4 drops of a carrier oil on affected tooth and gums.
  • Cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, rosemary, and orange to whiten teeth – add 1 drop of either oil with toothpaste, mix before applying to toothbrush.
  • Lavender to relieve blood blisters – dilute 1 drop with 4 drops of a carrier oil and apply twice daily.
  • Blend your favorite oils to fight plaque, ward off infections and make the most of their antimicrobial effects!

Resources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109163/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911944
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19336860
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20820114
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21397894