5 Essential Oils for Oral Health
Whether you’ve used them for aromatherapy or have noticed them on the ingredient list of your favorite products, you’re likely familiar with essential oils. In addition to smelling great, many essential oils have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antifungal properties that make them a perfect natural ingredient for a healthy mouth. Let’s look at what exactly essential oils are as well as what essential oils are good for oral health.
Essential Oil Basics
Before we dive into how to use essential oils for teeth, let’s back up and talk about what essential oils are. Likely found in many of your favorite body and beauty care products, home goods like cleaning products and candles, and even food, essential oils have become very popular in recent years.
While it may seem like harnessing the potent botanical compounds extracted from plant fruits, flowers, stems, roots, and leaves is a new idea, humans have been using essential oils for thousands of years. In fact, the first records date back to ancient Egypt, India and Persia in years as early as 2000 BC!
Both historically and in modern use, essential oils have been used in perfumery, flavor-enhancing, and healing capacities. Cedar, aniseed, and even onion essential oils were used in perfume or medicine, whereas ginger, myrrh, and sandalwood were used for healing. Overall, there are well over 100 different types of essential oils, all with different scents and benefits.
As many essential oils have been used for thousands of years to reduce inflammation and treat infection and pain, they’ve been widely embraced for use in oral care—as anyone who’s used clove essential oil to help with pain from emerging wisdom teeth can attest to!
Essential Oils for Oral Health
Now that we’ve covered the basics of essential oils, many are probably wondering how to use essential oils for oral health. In addition to helping someone naturally manage a toothache, essential oils can support oral health by reducing symptoms associated with gingivitis, freshening breath, and minimizing the growth of bad bacteria in our mouths. Ultimately, researchers consider essential oils to be “a key component in oral health management.”
Let’s take a look at just a few of the best essential oils for teeth and gums.
1. Peppermint Essential Oil
We’re no stranger to using peppermint essential oil for oral health and it’s found in Terra & Co.’s entire line. Why are we smitten with mint? Well, the oil from the leaves and flowers of the peppermint plant contains a high concentration of menthol, an analgesic that helps to reduce pain.
Beyond that, peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil freshens breath and even reduces biofilm on teeth! This means that it breaks up the microscopic bacteria on teeth that may be harmful to both teeth and gums. To reduce more of this bacteria, oil pulling with coconut oil can also help to heal cavities.
2. Clove Essential Oil
Likely one of the most popular essential oils for oral health, clove oil or Syzygium aromaticum, is extracted from the flower buds of the clove tree. High in eugenol, a pain-relieving chemical compound, topically-applied clove essential oil is most commonly used for tooth and gum pain.
Clove oil also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and may have remineralizing, enamel-strengthening effects.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil is one of the oldest-used essential oils, and if you’ve ever smelled it yourself you’ll know why! While it hasn’t been studied extensively for it’s potential to support oral health, simply inhaling the fragrant oil has been associated with a reduction in both pain and stress.
In addition, it also contains antifungal and antibacterial linalool, which may be beneficial for plaque-reduction and ultimately, fighting cavities.
4. Frankincense Essential Oil
When it comes to essential oils for gum disease, frankincense is a popular choice. Boswellia carterii, or frankincense essential oil, is derived from tree resin and is equipped with chemical components that reduce pain and inflammation.
Used orally, frankincense also has antibacterial properties that may work to prevent cavities and gum disease.
5. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Used by Australian Aborigines for thousands of years, tea tree oil is sourced from the leaves of the small Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It contains many compounds that have been associated with antibacterial, antifungal, and germ-fighting properties.
In the mouth, tea tree has proven more effective than chemical-based disinfectants, making it one of the best essential oils for cavities by getting rid of plaque-causing bacteria.
Trying Essential Oils for Oral Health
Ready to ease your way into using essential oils to boost the health of your mouth? Start by trying our new Gentle Green Oil Pulling, which contains peppermint essential oil, along with hemp, neem, and moringa oils. Before using essential oils on any part of your body—including in your mouth—it’s recommended that you do a patch test on your arm or leg to ensure that you don’t have a reaction.