Are Essential Oils Safe To Use Orally?

Nowadays, more and more people are incorporating natural products such as essential oils into their everyday life. These products are becoming increasingly popular not just because of their powerful benefits for overall health but also for how safe they are. Essential oils are primarily used as soothing agents for pain and anxiety. In dentistry, essential oils are gradually being used owing to their antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties. 

However, before elaborating on essential oil use in dentistry, first, let us look at what these oils are and how to use them in a safe way.

Properties of an essential oil

There are more than a hundred types of essential oils, and each has its unique properties and benefits. Their use in traditional medicine systems goes back by almost 5,000 years. Interestingly, their use has only increased with time, and they continue to gain popularity among the masses.

What is an essential oil?

Several plants are known to have therapeutic properties. They have phytochemicals and other structural components that benefit their growth and enhance human health and well-being. Essential oils are nothing but concentrated extracts from the roots, bark, leaves, or rinds of these plants. There are several ways of doing it. The most common method is simple distillation. It involves boiling water with the parts of the plant and allowing it to condense in a collection vessel.

Another method is steam distillation, where high-pressure steam is passed through biomass so that the steam releases volatile and non-volatile essential oil compounds.

Cold pressing is another common method. The biomass is pricked or scraped before pressing and rinsing the oil with water. The oil is then separated from water for use. 

How is essential oil different from flavor extracts?

Though often used interchangeably, there is a considerable difference between flavor extracts and essential oils. While extracts are mainly used for their fragrance in perfumes and cooking, essential oils have medicinal properties. They are primarily used in aromatherapy and medical settings.

Traditional uses of essential oil

Essential oils have been used across cultures for centuries. Their earliest adopters included countries such as Egypt, France, China, India, and Greece. Traditionally, essential oils are used for disinfection, personal care, improving immunity, and more.

Why are people shifting to natural products for oral care?

With more and more people moving toward clean and sustainable living, essential oils have emerged to be a popular choice. They are safe when used correctly. This makes them perfect for long-term use. Essential oils have no additives that make them harmful to humans.

Though they are safe, you must never start using them without consulting your doctor. For instance, if you want to use oil for toothache or any other dental problem, talk to your dentist first.

Essential oils and oral health 

There has been an increasing interest with incorporating essential oils in dentistry. This is mainly because of their antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties. According to the Journal of Oral Healthessential oils are used for the following processes.

  • Oils such as tea tree oil are widely used for dental cleaningand plaque removal. They keep the teeth free from cavities and stains for a longer time. They also promote teeth cleaningby preventingbiofilm formation on the teeth. 
  • Essential oils like lavender impact mood by stimulating parasympathetic activity in your autonomic nervous system. This helps control dental phobia by calming the mind and reducing anxiety when administered just 15 minutes before your appointment. 
  • Toothpaste made with peppermint essential oil keeps your breath fresh and prevents gingivitis because of its antibacterial properties.
  • Clove oil has strong antibiotic properties and acts as a painkiller. It is often used to cure toothaches. It also helps remove bacteria settled in deep gum pockets and reduces the risk of gum diseases.
  • Cinnamon oil prevents fungal infections in the mouth. 
  • Eucalyptus oil is often used to strengthen gums and fight gum diseases and gingivitis. 
  • Rosemary oil is a natural disinfectant, removes cavity-causing bacteria, and heals sporadic toothaches.

Safety First

Although many essential oils are found to be suitable for a thorough dental cleaning and other purposes, they should still be used carefully. Here are some precautions when using essential oils:

  • Never ingest essential oils. It may cause irritation and burns and may even lead to toxicity. If you ingest it by mistake, immediately spit it out and gargle. 
  • Never start using essential oils without talking to your doctor. Or, use it under the advice and supervision of a professional who has experience dealing with these oils. They are best used in skin care products or diffused unless your dentist advises a few treatments.
  • Essential oils like tea tree oil are an excellent disinfectant for your toothbrush. All you need to do is combine 8-10 drops of the oil with a full glass of water. Let your toothbrush soak for 10-15 minutes.
  • Never use concentrated essential oils directly. Always dilute them before using them.

The Bottom Line

When used correctly and under the supervision or guidance of a holistic practitioner, dentist, or health professional, essential oils can be an investment in your oral health. As a powerful alternative medicine, they are generally safe (unless there are allergies or other medical issues, which is why it is recommended to consult a professional before using). However, they are not meant to be a replacement for the course of treatment advised by your doctor.

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Simrit has been working at Torbram Dental since 2001. She started her career with Assisting/Treatment co-ordinating and then moved on to becoming the Hygiene Co Ordinator in 2005. In 2012 she took on a new role as the Marketing Director. Though she loved being the Marketing Director, in 2015 she became the Office Manager of Torbram Dental. She completed her Level 1 Dental Assisting program with Career Canada in 1996 and then went on to complete her Level II Dental Assisting Diploma with Southwestern Medix in 1999. That is when she received NDAEB Certification. Simrit has been and still is an active member of the Ontario Dental Assistants Association since 2000. She enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband and two kids and loves to explore new restaurants, especially high-tea venues.

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Jessica, one of our receptionists, is one of the smiling faces you see when you arrive at the office. She graduated with honours from Medix College with a diploma as a Level 2 Dental Assistant. When she is not happily helping our patients, Jessica enjoys spending quality time with her friends and family, going to church on Sunday mornings, gardening and going on hikes.

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Naudia has been working at Torbram Dental for many years and is a valued member of our administrative team: as a dental receptionist and in our marketing team . She graduated from Everest College with honours level 1 and 2, with a diploma in Dental Assisting. Naudia is always there for our patients, making sure that they receive the care and attention they deserve. When not at the office, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking and indulging in civil court TV shows.

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Ramandeep has been a part of Torbram Dental for the past 10 years as certified dental assistant. She obtained her level 1 certification from Everest college in Brampton in 2013, and then her level 2 certification in 2014 from Medix college. Her career path through the clinic has been recognized by staff at all levels who admire her work ethic and dedication to million dollar smiles. In her spare time, Ramandeep enjoys cooking and gardening, and spending time with her husband and 2 kids.

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Sana is a valued member of our dental hygiene team. In 2008 she completed her education at George Brown in Dental Assisting and in 2016 she earned her diploma in Dental Hygiene from the Canadian Academy of Dental Health and Sciences. Sana has been working in dentistry since 2008 and enjoys taking care of our patients and helping them with their oral health. She is married and is busy with her 2 young children. In her spare time, Sana enjoys going out with the family, trying out new places to eat and is looking forward to travelling with them in the future.

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Sanaria has been working at Torbram Dental for many years as a valued member of our Dental Assisting Team. She completed her level 2 dental assisting certification and previously obtained a degree in Education and worked as a quality control officer in the pharmaceutical industry. When not at work Sanaria loves to bake and cook. She also loves story time and enjoying the outdoors with her children. She always sees the positive side of life, believes that nothing is impossible and that if you set a goal and work at it, that you will make your dreams come true.

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Carrie has been working at Torbram Dental since 2001. She graduated from George Brown College in 1998 with a Dental Assistant Diploma and continued to further her education by completing a Dental Hygiene Diploma in 2001 at Durham College. Carrie is a highly trained and experienced Registered Dental Hygienist who continues to learn and grow by updating her knowledge to provide her clients with the best Oral Health Care techniques and information. Carrie is passionate about Dentistry and is known for her gentle and compassionate manner. She feels strongly about building lasting relationships and trust with her clients to help them understand that good Oral Health leads to good Overall Health. Carrie enjoys travelling, dabbling in decorating and a good Netflix series in her time off. Carrie resides in Halton Hills with her husband and two children.

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Daniela's interest in Dentistry began in Gr.6 when she wrote a speech entitled "My Life as a Toothbrush".
A Registered Dental Hygienist with 22 years of clinical experience, Daniela still has a great passion for her career. The most rewarding aspect for her is building lasting relationships with her patients, and seeing them through to a healthier smile.
Her thorough yet gentle touch will ensure a comfortable visit every time.
Daniela is a total Foodie and loves to cook and enjoys all types of cuisines. She loves Florida, Cruises, organizing things, and most of all spending time with family and friends.

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Stephanie Enjoys getting to know all new patients at Torbram Dental and catching up with long standing Patients. Stephanie enjoys spending quality time with her family. One of her favorite things to do with her daughter is teach and play the piano. Stephanie likes going on walks with her husband and enjoys spending as much time with him as he is an Active Member of the Canadian Army. On Sundays, Stephanie enjoys going to Church and looks forward to Sunday Dinner with her entire family. Stephanie's Favorite thing to do to start her day right is head to her local Starbucks and Grab her favorite drink, an iced black tea with light lemonade on warm days and a blonde vanilla latte on those cold winter days.

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As a dedicated Dental Hygienist at Torbram Dental, Aalisha brings recent knowledge and experience to ensure the best oral health for our patients. She holds a Diploma in Dental Hygiene from the Toronto College of Dental Hygiene and Auxiliaries and has further enriched her education with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo. Beyond her professional qualifications, Aalisha has a zest for life that extends beyond the dental chair. She cherishes quality time with family and friends, thrives on outdoor adventures, and has a passion for hiking and water-based activities, especially during the sunny summer days. She is an avid traveler, exploring tropical paradises and historic destinations while immersing herself in diverse cultures and indulging in delicious culinary experiences."

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Supreet was born and raised in Punjab, India and came to Canada in 2016. She graduated from Sheridan College as an Environmental Lab Technician but later decided to change her career to dentistry. She completed her Level I and II Intra-Oral Dental Assisting course from George Brown College and graduated in 2023. In July 2023, Supreet joined the team at Torbram Dental where she enjoys working. In her free time, she loves to read books.

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