Essential oils
Essential oils can help to maintain oral health and fight viruses and bacteria of all kinds. Courtesy photo

Essential oils for oral health

Essential oils are both popular and therapeutic for maintaining oral health and fighting viruses and bacteria of all kinds. This article summarizes just a few of our favorites:

 “On Guard” by Doterra or “Thieves” by Young Living are two kinds of toothpaste we like. 

The story behind Thieves is that perfumers turned grave robbers used this blend during the Black Plague in Europe to resist getting infected. On Guard has a similar formula with clove oil added, which is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.  

Oregano oil is a well-known antioxidant. It fights bacteria and fungi, helps gut health and may help with inflammation. As a mouth rinse, use only a drop or two of high-quality oil mixed with enough water to avoid the strong taste and smell. Oregano oil can also be taken in soft gel or pearl tabs.

Myrrh is a traditional oil for promoting healthy gums. It is a good choice to add to your carrier oil for oil pulling, see below.

German or Roman Chamomile help with canker sores.

Peppermint and Rosemary Oils are versatile oils that can also be used as simple mouth rinses. Always use high-quality oils!

 Essential oils can be put in a diffuser to add aromatherapy benefits to the air. A drop or two of oils like lavender or sandalwood on the bottom of the feet or in a bath can support a restful night’s sleep.

There are many more essential oils that are both relaxing and energizing.

 If you need to wear a mask, putting a drop or two of your favorite essential oil or blend on it is a great way to uplift your mood and boost your immune system.

Oil Pulling.  An ancient Ayurvedic practice adapted for dental health and wellness, it is best done first thing in the morning before brushing. Oil pulling works by emulsifying and oxygenating teeth and gums, making it harder for bacteria and other microbes to stick to the teeth and colonize.

Recommendations: Use 1-2 tbs. organic oil. Coconut oil is good to use because it also has anti-microbial properties (another choice is organic, cold-pressed sesame oil). You can also add one or two drops of myrrh to tonify the gums, coriander or cilantro for heavy metal detox, or tea tree oil (melaleuca), because it also creates a surface where plaque is less likely to adhere.

Swish through teeth for 3-5 minutes. Do not swallow. The oil will mix with the saliva in your mouth – and the enzymes within the saliva – until it is watery.

 Spit into a cup or other receptacle, not into the sink or toilet as the oil will start to build up and clog the drain. Rinse and gargle with warm salt water or Tooth and Gum, an herbal mouthwash. Spit out completely.

Dr. Carey O’Rielly, DDS is a holistic dentist practicing at Integrative Dentistry in Encinitas. Visit or contact us at 760-632-1304.

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