Essential Oils for Oral Health

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Essential Botanical Oils for Healthy Smiles: Why use them?   Botanical oils are antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. They improve blood circulation to the gums, reduce inflammation, and many oils have other individual benefits as well.

How can we apply botanical oils?   There are many ways to include these helpful oils in your home care routine! Here are a few of our favorite options:

  • Add a few drops to the water in a Waterpik or other water flosser
  • Add a couple drops when oil pulling (mix into the oil before putting it in your mouth, or drop the botanical oils onto the oil rather than directly on the tongue, as some can cause discomfort when not diluted)
  • Apply a drop or two to your toothbrush (with or without toothpaste; diluting first if needed) and brush your gums gently)
  • Put a drop of the oil on your floss before flossing between teeth – this is a great way to get the oil into deeper pockets in the gums that your toothbrush may not reach
  • Dilute the oil with water or a carrier oil and use as a refreshing and healing mouthwash

Which oils should we use?   The following are some of the best options for oral health – select based on your goals, taste preference, or even on what is most available in your stores. Always select high quality oils distilled from organically grown plants for maximum benefits. 

Peppermint (Mentha piperita): 

  • Helps with digestion
  • Analgesic, cooling, and anti-inflammatory effect
  • Ingestion reduces levels of oxidized fats in body tissue and reverses declines in glutathione caused by radiation exposure 
  • Potent antioxidant, inhibits bacteria that cause tooth decay

**Not to be confused with artificial flavoring (menthol), which does not offer the above benefits 

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia):

  • Antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial
  • Used therapeutically in Australia
    against chronic gingivitis and
  • Anti-inflammatory, contains plant chemical cineol and propanol, which can decrease gingivitis and reduce plaque
  • Astringent and antiseptic
  • Shown in studies to be effective against gingivitis and 162 oral bacterialisolates, including streptococi, when applied in concentrations of less than 2%

Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus):

  • Helps maintain connective tissue in oral area
  • Good at removing tooth plaque
  • Contains antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial compounds
  • Potent antiseptic, which inhibits oral bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers
  • Supports immune system and increases tissue defenses, especially between teeth & gums

Clove bud (Eugenia caryophyllata):

  • Analgesic with extremely high ORAC value
  • Traditionally used to relieve toothaches and freshen breath
  • Antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal
  • Boosts immune system & stimulates blood flow
  • Antiparasitic, helps gum infections, toothaches, and tonsilitis

**Dilute before use**

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

  • Antiseptic, analgesic, and antibacterial
  • According to Gerald Smith, DDS, oregano basically works like an antibiotic
  • Antimicrobial activities effective against fungi, viruses, and bacteria, including E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. 
  • Destroys plaque-causing bacteria and reduces risk of gum disease

**Dilute before use**

Thyme linalool(Thymus officinalis ct. linalool):

  • Rare variety of thyme species
  • Antiseptic and gentle
  • Balances oral salivary secretions
  • Stimulates immune system
  • Acts as a decongestant
  • Tonifying and immunostimulating with antibacterial agents.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum ceylanicum):

  • Antiseptic, antibacterial
  • Stimulates blood circulation to gums
  • Anesthetic and antiseptic properties that increase production of white blood cells
  • Cinnamon bark oil is effective against 98% of all pathogenic bacteria according to Drs. Franchomme and Pénoël

**Dilute before use**

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum): 

  • Stimulates and tones digestive tract
  • Antiseptic properties that stimulate immune system
  • Supports nervous system
  • Anti-infective, antibacterial

Neem (Azadirachta indica):

  • Fungicidal, miticidal, and antibacterial
  • Ideal remedy for periodontal and tooth infections – can be applied locally around the teeth and gums
  • Anti-inflammatory, vasodilating, and pain relieving compounds can reduce toothache
  • Prevents cell adhesion and kills bacteria that causes tooth decay
  • Alkalinizes saliva, gums and mouth
  • Kills bacteria that cause pyorrhea and gingivitis, as well as calcium-forming organisms and organisms that cause cavities 

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens):

  • Contains capsaicin, which is a topical vasodilator and stimulates blood circulation
  • Catalytic, antibacterial, antiseptic, and stimulating

**Dilute before use**



Artemis, N. (2013). Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.


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