Several essential oils possess antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, analgesic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and other such properties. And they have been utilized as folk medicines in diverse cultures across the world for multiple health problems. Many scientific studies have been conducted to conclude about their effects on different health conditions. Although the chemical composition of essential oils varies depending on the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the plants, batch, sunlight, season, altitude, and soil characteristics, certain constituents remain the same in more or less quantities and produce similar effects.
Essential Oils For Dentistry
As per their properties, essential oils are used for wellness purposes. One of the domains which extensively uses essential oils and holds the potential for usage of essential oils is Dentistry. Many Indian spices have been used for dental problems since ancient times. They do not cause any side effects like today’s antibacterial treatment. Also, they do not show any bacterial resistance. Multiple clinical trials have revealed the safety and efficacy of essential oils (source-Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry). Traditional medicines, including essential oils, have more scope as therapeutic agents to avoid adverse effects and high costs associated with widely accepted standard therapeutic agents. The essential oils are useful in the following ways for dental problems.
1. Lavender Essential oil (extracted from Lavandula stoechas L) displays good antimicrobial activities against most bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. It means that it inhibits the growth of these microorganisms.
Use in Dentistry– It can be diffused in the patient waiting area to reduce anxiety. Its application reduces the pain of needle insertion.
2. Eucalyptus Essential oil (extracted from Eucalyptus globulus) possesses strong cytotoxic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties against harmful oral bacteria. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory agent and stimulates an innate mediated immune response. It can boost the immune response to generate more antibodies in conditions of infectious diseases and tumors.
Use in Dentistry – It is suitable to be used as an anti-cariogenic agent to inhibit oral pathogens (An organism causing disease).
3. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil inhibits the growth of staphylococci proliferation. It stops the growth of azole-resistant & azole-susceptible and candida fungus and removes them. It also blocks the growth of biofilm plaque to reduce pathogenesis and drug resistance.
Use in Dentistry – It is effective against common oral pathogens associated with dental caries and periodontal disease.
4. Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Its gel prevents the bacterial colonies and dental biofilm growth and eliminates them. It also works against oral pathogens.
Use in Dentistry – It helps reduce the resistance of C.albicans to the known antifungal drugs and treat oral candidiasis. It is a suitable ingredient in prophylactic oral hygiene products.
5. Lemon Essential oil is an effective anti-fungal remedy against candidiasis. Its antioxidant properties help prevent and treat periodontitis (an inflammatory condition caused due to oxidative stress with microbial toxins).
Use in Dentistry – Its application acts against candida, plaque, and bacteria. It is widely used in making toothpaste and mouthwashes.
6. Clove Essential Oil contains eugenol that is widely known for its therapeutic properties and uses in dentistry. It acts as an antioxidant and prevents unstable molecules made during regular cell metabolism. It reduces ergosterol in fungal cell membranes, inhibits Staphylococcus bacteria, and stops germ tube formation by C.albicans.
Use in Dentistry – Clove oil acts as a natural anesthetic that numbs and reduces pain & swelling.
7. Cinnamon oil obtained from the bark of Cinnamomum zeylanicum contains cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, and linalool. Its oral administration works against melanoma and prevents cell mutations. It has antimicrobial, antiparasitic, and free radical scavenging properties.
Use in Dentistry – It is safe to be used in oral candidiasis for healthy patients with dentures.
The combination of peppermint, cinnamon, and lavender essential oils modifies and reduces antibiotic resistance in multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Several essential oils with distinct odors and chemical composition are available. The suitability of essential oils depends on the symptoms for which you are looking for a remedy. The following combinations are effective based on scientific studies.
- Tea tree oil for Skin Problems – Tea tree oil is also called melaleuca in Australia and was originally used for healing wounds. Nowadays, it is applied to treat acne, insect bites, and athlete’s foot.
- Lavender Oil for Calmness – Lavender is known for its exotic scent that reaches the nervous system and produces calming effects. It relieves stress and helps in sound sleep.
- Peppermint Oil for Digestive issues – When peppermint oil is taken in an enteric-coated capsule, it helps relieve stomach upsets and irritable bowel syndrome. Its topical application eases headaches.
- Lemon Oil for Rejuvenation – The citrus smell of lemon oil works as a mood uplifter. It is widely used in skin cleansers & toners. Its application is also extended to cleaning products.
Other Research-backed facts about Specific Essential oils
- Thymus vulgaris (Thyme) essential oil is used as antiseptic (preventing infection), carminative (preventing gas formation), and antimicrobial (stops the growth of microorganisms) in different health conditions. The research has shown that it is effective in conditions of acetaminophen (paracetamol)overdose.
- Lavender, orange, and peppermint essential oils help treat nausea, anxiety in surgical patients. Eugenol constituents in essential oils inhibit planktonic and biofilm formation on different surfaces.
- Garlic essential oil lowers serum cholesterol and triglycerides and raises the level of high-density lipoproteins.
- A combination of cinnamon, fennel, oregano, myrtle, and cumin essential oils enhances insulin sensitivity in type II diabetes and lowers glucose circulation. The combination also reduces systolic blood pressure.
- Curcuma (Turmeric) oil is useful in liver cancer, and tea tree oil is effective in skin disorders such as melanoma.
- Clary sage oil helps correct hormonal imbalances and control high estrogen levels. It prevents cancer risk.
- Rosemary Oil is effective for alopecia, hair loss conditions.
- If essential oils are used for clinical purposes, make sure that they are not oxidized or expired.
- Use it under the supervision of a healthcare expert.
- Use appropriate dilutions as and when required.
- Rely on established essential oil manufacturers for getting natural products.