Essential Oils in Dental Care

Essential Oils have a number of clearly beneficial uses in health and wellness. But are they helpful in Dental Care?

Many people believe that essential oils have a place in dental care that is the equivalent of many traditional mouthwash formulas. Others see the use of essential oils in dental care to be more of a “mixed bag” in terms of efficacy.

I am not talking about using oils of flowers and herbs, such as lavender, to sooth patients in the office. We have tried that in our essential-oils-pixabay cco free commercial use - 1433694 640office. But we found that some people were allergic to lavender, and there were also some who did not like lavender.

Essential Oils are concentrated oils from plants (rosemary, lavender, rose, peppermint, cedarwood, and cypress, for example). These oils are the “essential oils” of the plants from which they are extracted. However, because they contain no lipids, they are not oils technically speaking. These extracted oils are then mixed with any of a number of components of oxides, alcohols, ethers, ketones, phenols, aldehydes, and terpenes. The oils extracted from the plants fulfill a role as a plant’s equivalent of an immune system, protecting the plants from pests and harmful substances.

When used in your mouth, these oils can serve an important function and kill bacteria. In fact, some research found that essential oils may be just as effective in killing bacteria in your mouth as mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine, a widely-accepted anti-microbial element of mouthwash. Essential oils taste better and do not stain your teeth. There are, however, some drawbacks in using essential oils in daily dental care.

Positives and Negatives of Essential Oils in Dental Care

One negative is that some essential oils, when used in high concentration, may (like chlorhexidine) kill all bacteria, including useful and necessary bacteria. The bacteria may actually damage gum tissues (like chlorhexidine).

On the positive side, some studies have demonstrated that certain essential oils when used in dental care can kill bacteria that is associated with infection of the gums. The oils also appear to reduce bleeding and inflammation. This suggests that both essential oils and chlorhexidine could be helpful in treating serious oral infection.

A concern about the use of essential oils in dental care is that it is extremely difficult to be certain how pure and potent the oils are. If people less knowledgeable than experts attempt to combine oils, they might not fully understand exactly what is in their final mixture and how effective it might be.

Some research has found that both chlorhexidine and some essential oils can damage tissue surrounding the teeth and prevent them from effectively reproducing to protect the teeth. Some oils will kill all bacteria it encounters. This is not desirable because you need healthy plaque to balance acids in the mouth. Further, the tongue needs certain types of bacteria in order to change nitrates in food to nitric oxide (needed for the cardiovascular system and the health of the gums).

Some of the companies that create and sell essential oils claim that the oils will kill only bad bacteria. However medical research indicates that some oils kill every kind of bacteria in the mouth – good and bad equally. It is thus important that before using essential oils in dental care you know which oils will kill only bad bacteria and know the concentration and potency of the oils being used.

The Bottom Line

Essential oils may have a role to play in dental care on an occasional basis or in treating severe oral infections. They should be used regularly only with extreme care and knowledge of the concentration and purity of the oils.

Whether considering antibiotics or essential oils, the important part of dental care is prevention of problems and infection. Daily dental care should include careful and effective brushing and flossing (twice daily). Good oral health also requires a healthy diet and regular visits to your dentist.

If you have additional questions about essential oils in dental care, please send a message, give me a call or schedule an appointment and come to the office.

At Complete Dental Care in Salem Virginia, our goal is to promote oral health and general health and wellness. To that end, we provide a full range of dental care for people of all ages. Call today to schedule your appointment.