The antibacterial properties of essential oils make them a great ally in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease (gingivitis and periodontitis).
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue. It is caused by an immune response to the mass of bacteria attached to the tooth’s surface (plaque). This disease is reversible with good oral hygiene. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a set of inflammatory diseases that affects the tissues that surround and support the teeth. This includes the gums, the roots, the cementum, and the bony sockets that anchor the teeth (alveolar bone). It is also caused by an immune response to the mass of bacteria attached to the tooth’s surface (plaque). In this case, the plaque has calcified and become tartar. Periodontitis can lead to tissue death and tooth loss. Periodontitis has been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Cronic inflammation can lead to increased risk of stroke, heart attack and hardening of the artery walls (atherosclerosis).
Causes of Periodontal Disease
- Poor or ineffective oral hygiene
- Dental plaque and tartar
- Poor nutrition (diet low in antioxidants)
- Genetic susceptibility
- Diseases and syndromes that lower the body’s immune defenses
- High alcohol consumption
- Hormonal changes
- Medications that dry out the mouth
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
There are very few symptoms of periodontitis and they are painless. Because of this, many people seek treatment after the disease has progressed significantly.
Symptoms may include:
- Redness or bleeding of gums while brushing and flossing teeth
- Persistent swelling of the gums
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Persistent metallic taste in the mouth
- Receding gums (which can also be caused by hard brushing or brushing with a stiff toothbrush)
- Pockets between the teeth and the gums
- Lose teeth (in later stages)
To find out if you have periodontitis, your dentist will examine and x-ray your mouth to see how much bone loss there is around your teeth. There are specialists that treat periodontitis. They are periodontists and their field, periodontology or periodontics.
Prevention of Periodontal Disease
Daily oral hygiene
Excellent daily oral hygiene is a must to prevent the development of gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Brushing properly at least twice a day directing the toothbrush bristles underneath the gum line to prevent the formation of plaque
- Flossing daily
- Using interdental brushes
- Using an antiseptic mouth wash
- Regular dental check-ups
- Professional teeth cleaning
Essential oils, when used daily as an antiseptic mouthwash, prevent the development of gum diseases.
Clove essential oil
The clove oil is one of the most important essential oils to treat gum diseases. A study has shown that clove oil inhibits the development of bacteria and also complements periodontitis treatment. It works as effectively as the antiseptic Chlorhexidine to eliminate bacteria.
- Add two drops of clove essential oil to a cup of lukewarm water. Wash your mouth with it for 1-2 minutes once a day to inhibit bacterial growth.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
To treat periodontal disease, the hygienist must first treat the inflammation of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. That means the hygienist, dentist or periodontist must remove all plaque and tartar (calcified microbial plaque) above and below the gum line. In some cases, periodontal surgery might be necessary.
Because of their antimicrobial properties, essential oils aid and complement the treatment. However, essential oils cannot reverse any attachment loss caused by periodontitis.
The most important essential oils to prevent and treat periodontitis
- Tea tree
Gum Strengthening Blend Recipe
- 10 drops Manuka
- 10 drops Myrrh
- 10 drops Niaouli
- 10 drops Tea Tree
- 20 drops Peppermint
- 5 ml Propolis tincture
Add all ingredients to an amber or blue bottle. Shake to combine all ingredients.
- Put some medicinal clay on your toothbrush
- Add 1 drop of Gum Strengthening Blend to the medicinal clay on your toothbrush
- Brush your teeth once a day with this instead of regular toothpaste
Don’t use this mixture if you have plastic dental fillings. Essential oils can damage plastic.