Using Essential Oils for Oral Health
Can Essential Oils cure or prevent gum disease? Can they help keep decay at bay?
We know from visits to the dentist that bacteria in the mouth cause all sorts of disease and ill effects, but we also know that not all bacteria are bad. So, antiseptic mouthwashes that kill everything on contact are out of the question since we need our good bacteria. Can essential oils be the answer or will they also kill off too much oral bacteria?
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. According to some, "there is no reason to believe that essential oils will destroy your oral flora. Essential oils tend to work to maintain balance rather than upset it, making them a much more reliable choice for oral health than harsh antiseptic formulas." Dr. Eric Z.
If you are concerned that Essential Oils will kill too much of your Oral Bacteria (Flora) all you need to do is be sure you are ingesting a probiotic such as Milk Kefir or taking a good probiotic supplement.
Essential Oils in Dentistry
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 theJournal 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 oil 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 cleaning dentures: When essential oils, notably Melissa and lavender, are applied to dentures, they have been shown to limit the amount of biofilm produced. Simply brush dentures with a paste of baking soda and essential oil then rinse. Your are ready to go with a fresh mouth!
- Act as a natural preservative: Typically, the ability essential oils have to out perform 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.
So, how does one use essential oils for their oral health? Quite simply really!
- Make a solution of baking soda with a drop of essential oil and some water or hydrogen peroxide and brush at lease 2x a day being sure to concentrate on your gum tissue. The baking soda will not only whiten teeth and help keep them white but helps shrink swollen gum tissue (gingivitis).
- Or, you can brush with essentials by placing 1 drop of oil on toothpaste and brush as suggested above.
Here’s a rundown of some essential oil facts that will help you apply them in holistic oral health preparations:
- When brushing is contraindicated – as can be the case with severe 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...
- Clove and lavender to battle canker sores – dilute 1 drop with 2 drops of a carrier oil and apply twice daily.
- To make your own tooth powder for both cleaning and whitening your teeth simply mix your favorite essential oil listed in a paste of Baking Soda & Hydrogen Peroxide (or water if peroxide is too strong). You can also add stevia or xylatol if you want a little sweetness. I prefer the taste of cinnamon or fennel.
- Peppermint to temper halitosis – add 1 drop with toothpaste, and gargle with peppermint infused water daily. I also love to carry a peppermint/clove mouth freshener spray where ever I go.
- Clove and orange to soothe sensitive teeth – apply 1 drop each neat (straight) on affected tooth and gums.
- Cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, rosemary, and orange to whiten teeth – add 1 drop of each oil with toothpaste or baking soda.
- Lavender to relieve blood blisters – dilute 1 drop with 2 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!
"I spent almost 30 years in dentistry and have witnessed many oral health issues. I was also blessed, in my first few years of dentistry, to be able to work under a dentist that used a natural non-surgical method to cure gum disease. (I will touch on that in another blog). Using EO's and other natural means can cure gum disease and help keep decay at bay." Deborah Stauss, ND