Essential oils can sometimes be used as a treatment for gum disease, plaque control, inflammation and bleeding. It can also be used to maintain implants and to prevent cavities.
This approach isn’t solely ‘alternative’ as some medications contain essential oils. For instance, Vicks Vaporub that is used to rub on your chest to ease congestion is made with eucalyptus oil from the eucalyptus tree. It is a form of aromatherapy and may help by opening up your sinuses.
Oils that may help are:
Researchers from the Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry in Japan found that when patients chewed eucalyptus chewing gum it reduced the amount of bacteria on their tongue (and bacteria can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath).
They gave three groups of people either high dose eucalyptus gum, low dose gum or a placebo gum. Both the eucalyptus groups had a significant reduction in tongue bacteria and bad breath, but the placebo group did not. (1)
Another trial found that eucalyptus gum had a significant positive effect on gingivitis and periodontal disease and that it may promote periodontal health. (2)
The College of Pharmaceutical Sciences in India found that Neem leaf extract in a dental gel reduced plaque and bacteria. Of three groups (one treated with neem gel, one with a common anti-bacterial substance used in mouthwashes and one with a placebo gel), the neem gel group had the lowest levels of plaque and bacteria. (3)
Tea Tree Oil
A study in the Australian Dental Journal on 49 people with gingivitis (inflammation and bleeding of the gums) found that a dental gel containing tea tree oil, applied to a toothbrush and given twice daily. After eight weeks, the patients who had had the tea tree-containing gel had a big reduction in the amount of inflammation and bleeding they had. (4)
Essential oils can be used in toothpastes, dental gels and mouthwashes.
Stress has been shown to worsen the outcome of periodontal disease so you can also use other oils for massage and relaxation.