Lora Cook, RDH
Recently several of my patients have asked me some questions about essential oils. To be honest I have a very limited knowledge of the subject. I hate when I don’t have all the answers for my patients. So I thought what better way to learn more about the subject then to write about it. However, let me preface this information with a reminder that while these essential oils can provide effective preventive and palliative care, it is not a substitute for dental care. If you have a cavity or a toothache please do not hesitate to give us a call. Periodontal disease and cavities left untreated will only become worse over time.
As dental professionals we rely on tested clinical research and published blinded research studies to substantiate any therapeutic claims and demonstrate effectiveness. However with essential oils there is little published research, because several problems present in trying to conduct research on essential oils. First, essential oils are not standardized. Synthetic Pharmaceuticals are reproduced to be identical, where as essential oils cannot be produced to be identical. Second, while conducting research on essential oils it is difficult to gage for individual differences in how the oils affect people. Also little funding is provided for research on homeopathic remedies. More research studies are done for synthetic therapeutics because these follow the usual scientific research path.
The Essential oils that I would like to talk about are:
1.) Cinnamon oil
A.) Cinnamon bark oil
B.) Cinnamon leaf oil
2.)Tea Tree oil
1. Cinnamon Leaf Oil: Leaf oil is primarily useful for palliative care. It may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation
Cinnamon Bark Oil: bark oil has antibacterial qualities, has been shown to effectively destroy 21 different types of bacteria.
How to use: You can rinse with diluted cinnamon oil after brushing, or put some on your tooth paste. Cinnamon oil is very strong and should not be ingested. Also some people have been known to have allergic reactions to cinnamon oil, so test in a small area of your mouth first.
2. Tea Tree Oil: This oil is effective for antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties.
If you have a allergy to celery or thyme, you should not use this oil. Also just like the cinnamon oil, tea tree oil is very strong and should not be ingested.
How to use: There are wooded toothpicks that have been impregnated with tea tree oil. These can be found at a health food store, or purchased on-line. You can also mix a small amount with your toothpaste, then brush.
3. Myrrh: This is effective for mouth sores.
How to use: Mix 1 to 2 drops in eight ounce glass of warm water, swish for thirty seconds then spit.
4. Clove Oil: This is effective for toothaches, also known to sooth sore gums.
How to use: Mix one drop with a plant based carrier oil, olive oil wood be a good carrier oil to use. Then apply with a cotton swab.
For gum tissue and other oral tissues mix 1 to 2 drops in eight ounce glass of warm water, swish for thirty seconds then spit.
5. Peppermint Oil: This oil is effective in treating bad breath, it also has mild anesthetic properties.
How to use: Mix two drops of peppermint oil with two cups of distilled water. Shake we’ll before each use, swish a mouthful for one minute then spit.
There are other essential oils that are effective for oral health that I did not include in this overview: basil, almond, and lavender, just to name a few. I hope that these basic guidelines can shed a bit more light on the subject. All essential oils should not be ingested, and always consult your medical physician before starting any type of therapy at home.
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