This article written by Dr Eric Zielinski give the reader an introduction to the concept of using Essential Oils for the purpose of supporting your overall oral care and wellness strategy. The uses highlighted in this article will allow you to imagine ways to bring a more holistic approach to your Oral Care.
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For hundreds of years, people have been using essential oils to maintain oral health and clinical research and studies are now finally showing evidences of their safety and efficacy. However, plant-based therapies are not receiving enough financial support and there are only a handful of studies being conducted about them as compared to clinical trials being funded by Big Pharma.
Essential Oils in Dentistry
We've known since we were young that bacteria in the mouth causes all sorts of oral diseases. However, we also know from our growing awareness of holistic oral health that not all bacteria have ill effects. Therefore, antiseptic mouthwashes that eliminate all types of bacteria must be avoided.
Natural products have less alarming effects than their man-made, over-the-counter counterparts. This gives us few reasons to worry about the widespread elimination of oral bacteria. As Robert Tisserand puts it, “Whether [essential oil] constituents might then negatively affect the bowel flora is pure speculation.”
Following this logic, there's no point in believing that essential oils will completely damage your oral flora. Essential oils usually work by maintaining balance in your mouth, making them a more reliable option for oral health than those strong antiseptic solutions.
There are a number of essential oils you can choose from to fill your natural oral health medicine cabinet. Three of the most effective and most popular essential oils for oral health are peppermint, orange, and clove.
One recent and comprehensive source of the uses of essential oils for oral health is a 2014 study features in the Journal of International Oral Health entitled "Possible Use of Essential Oils in Dentistry." If you're looking for a great source of information, this is the one you're looking for. (1) You can view the full text for free, but there are a few important points about essential oil that will be discussed here:
- Supports oral hygiene. When put side by side with fluoride, essential oil rinses prevent as much plaque buildup and combat subgingival periopathogens (a cause of gingivitis). In addition, they won't causes stains on your teeth, unlike chlorhexidine rinses.
- Reduces anxiety. Lavender essential oil has been found to reduce mild anxiety in different circumstances and to provide a calming effect. Using it in dental waiting areas has been shown to ease the nervousness of patients and even reduce perceived pain during needle insertions. Another anxiolytic, orange essential oil can be quite a help to anxious children. Inhaling it helps minimize cortisol levels in saliva and slows restless pulse rates.
- Safeguards wounds. Wound dressings infused with protective essential oils, particularly clove, have been found to speed up the healing process and strengthen their therapeutic effects.
- Serves as a natural preservative. The capabilities of essential oils to do better than methylparaben and other extracts as a preservative are usually used in cosmetic preparations. For oral health, they can be used to prolong the lifespan of dental products without the aid of methylparaben and other preservatives.
Essential Oil Applications
So how do you make the most of essential oils for oral health and how do you use them to free prosthetic devices from biofilm? It's very simple actually.
- Create a solution of distilled water and essential oils (1 cup of water for every 10 drops of oil) and allow it to steep for a few minutes.
- Alternatively, you can use them to rub or brush dental implants. Add 1 drop of oil to your toothpaste and clean your implants as usual.
You can use the same method if you don't have implants. Simply swish the EO solution inside your mouth or add EO to your toothpaste.
Here are some essential oil facts that you can use to ensure holistic oral health:
- When brushing is contraindicated—which is usually the case with severe fever, indigestion, asthma, coughing, vomiting, and mouth ulcers—you can conduct a deep cleanse via oil pulling with essential oils mixed with coconut oil. This can help prevent bad breath and gingivitis. (2, 3, 4)
- Hospice patients with terminal cancer can benefit from peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and geranium essential oils mixed together for oral health purposes. (5)
- Clove essential oil can serve as antimicrobial support. (6)
There are a number of essential oils you can choose from to fill your natural oral health medicine cabinet. Three of the most effective and most popular essential oils for oral health are peppermint, orange, and clove. Blends used in traditional remedies often use these oils in generous amounts, with others added for synergy and extra benefits. The following are blends of the some of the best oils used to maintain oral health:
- Clove and lavender to prevent canker sores – water down 1 drop with 4 drops of carrier oil and use twice every day.
- Peppermint to reduce halitosis – mix 1 drop with toothpaste and gargle with water mixed with peppermint every day.
- Clove and orange to calm sensitive teeth – apply 1 drop with 4 drops of carrier on affected tooth and gums.
- Cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, rosemary, and orange to whiten teeth – place 1 drop of any of these oils on toothpaste and then mix before applying to toothbrush.
- Lavender to alleviate blood blisters – water down 1 drop with 4 drops of carrier oil and apply twice daily.
- Combine your favorite oils to combat plaque, prevent infections and take advantage of their antimicrobial effects.