January 18, 2024
Microorganisms cause various infections and diseases in the human body and are largely pervasive in the nature of contamination, directly or indirectly leading to the transmission of infectious agents. A considerable number of bacterial species have been identified as inhabitants of the oral cavity. Infection control is a major topic of interest in both medical and dental healthcare settings. Although there are many procedures for sterilizing or disinfecting endodontic instruments, they still have some shortcomings. Herbal products have been used in folk medicine since ancient times, spanning both Eastern and Western healing traditions. According to the World Health Organization, herbal medicine is considered a plant material or preparation that consists of raw or processed components from one or more plants with therapeutic values. The presence of phenolic compounds attributed to the antimicrobial activity of several essential oils. Two of my favorite essential oils to support oral health and cleanliness are tea tree and myrrh. A recent laboratory study showed that tea tree essential oil significantly reduces endodontic bacterial colonies, suggesting it helps promote oral cleanliness.
Melaleuca alternifolia, more commonly known as tea tree oil (TTO), is a stand-out essential oil with broad-spectrum antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Native only to Australia, true tea tree oil is produced as a distillate of leaves from the melaleuca alternifolia shrub called a paperbark tree. Its medicinal properties were first discovered in the 1920s by Dr. Penfold who found it to be twelve times more potent than the current antiseptic of the time. The antibacterial properties in tea tree essential oil can help control bacteria in the mouth. This can help keep mouths healthy, avoiding tooth decay and plaque buildup. Plaque buildup is related to periodontal disease, which can lead to complications like receding gums
Homemade tea tree oil mouthwash with peppermint make a great combo to fight against germs and other harmful pathogens, while also freshening breath. This simple but effective mixture will keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh.
However, you don't need to ingest tea tree oil. Here there are two more ways to use tea tree oil as a holistic remedy:
- Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil into 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or any other edible carrier oil and swab this mixture directly onto gums using your finger or a Q-tip.
- Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to a glass of water. Swish around your mouth for a minute or two and expel.