I’ve always found oral hygiene tricky. I know I’m not the only one who’s been disappointed at some point by a mouthwash brand. Either they don’t live up to their “longer lasting fresh breath” promise, or they do nothing for gum health (hello again, sensitive gums), or they just don’t feel all that clean in the mouth. I’ve experienced these several times with mouth rinses that weren’t exactly cheap and were overflowing with synthetic chemicals. Boo hiss.
So it was a minor miracle when I learned that I could use essential oils as alternatives for oral hygiene. If you’ve been browsing our site, you may be aware that I use EOs for pretty much everything (especially helichrysum oil), and there’s one big reason for that: the effectiveness of essential oils is life-changing. This is true for teeth and gum care, too.
We’ve carefully done our research and formulation experimentation, and now, I’m proud to share our Refreshing & Restorative Mouth Drops with you. As the benefits of essential oils get more and more recognized in mainstream healthcare, our mouth drops are an up-and-coming product that you’ll be happy to switch to. Here’s why.
Essential Oils Are Just As Effective As Mouthwash Chemicals
Most prescription mouthwashes on the market today rely on a chemical called chlorhexidine, which destroys bacteria in the mouth so you get cleaner breath and lower risk for infections. However, chlorhexidine is notorious for staining teeth! Imagine using that as a daily mouth rinse. Plus, there’s plenty of medical evidence showing other side effects of this chemical, including tartar accumulation and a burning sensation in the mouth. Yikes.
It’s no wonder why even experts have begun looking at essential oils as viable ingredients in lieu of chlorhexidine. The astonishing thing is, essential oils have been found to be just as powerful as chlorhexidine in antibacterial activity! This means that you can ditch your drugstore mouthwash and replace it with a healthier, organic EO product that works just as well.
The Best Essential Oils For Oral Health, And Their Benefits
As I’ve mentioned, we’ve put a lot of careful work in deciding which EOs to use for our mouth drops. Here are our top essential oils for oral hygiene:
- Cinnamon leaf
- Clove bud
- Tea tree
Let’s look at these essential oils’ benefits for our mouth care.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Putting peppermint oil in a mouth drop is a no-brainer, but there’s more to this essential oil than just its tingly-cool flavour. Dentists recognize that peppermint eliminates anaerobic bacteria -- the microbes responsible for gum disease. This oil is also powerful in preventing biofilm development on our teeth. Biofilm is that slimy layer of bacteria and fungi that can cause cavities, so it’s great news that our favourite breath freshener also fights it.
You can also feel an immediate benefit of peppermint when you have tooth or gum pain: this oil has a soothing, numbing effect on the surface you apply it to.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
We didn’t stop at just one mint! Spearmint has very similar antiseptic properties as peppermint, and it also contains an excellent amount of antioxidants that protect from free-radical damage. So that’s extra freshness, extra bacteria-fighting, plus a nice bonus of antioxidants.
Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
It’s baffling to me how cinnamon oil isn’t a headliner in oral care already, because it’s incredible! For one, there are studies showing that among other essential oils in the market, cinnamon oil is THE strongest fighter of two kinds of oral bacteria: Streptococcus mutans, which causes tooth decay, and Lactobacillus plantarum, one of the culprits in gum disease.
This strong antibacterial activity is paired with antifungal properties, which is why cinnamon oil is also used to heal various types of sore throat. Basically, cinnamon oil is a powerful, all-around oral cleanser -- teeth, gums, and throat covered!
Clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum)
You’ve probably heard of the advice to apply clove oil as relief for toothache. There’s actually a science to it. The active ingredient in cloves is eugenol, which is regarded by experts as a local anesthetic and analgesic. Aside from this, clove has been found to be rich in tooth- and gum-friendly compounds such as calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin A, and hydrochloric acid.
Let’s not forget that clove oil is also antimicrobial and antiseptic, reducing oral infections and inflammation. No wonder our grandmas recommend this organic remedy!
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea tree oil is in everything these days, and one of its known effects is cleansing out oral bacteria that causes bad breath. But even more amazing is that it can also combat gum disease and oral infections. Diseases like gingivitis (bleeding gums) and periodontitis (receding gums) result from the buildup of bacteria and plaque, and tea tree oil just happens to be a potent antibacterial EO that stops those.
How potent? Various studies have found that tea tree compounds (primarily terpenoids) can eradicate even bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant!
Doctors have been finding other ways to harness this essential oil’s ability. For instance, the University of Michigan Health System is one of those that report on the power of tea tree oil in treating oral thrush (oral candidiasis).
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
When we hear ‘myrrh’, we immediately think of the Three Wise Men’s gifts in the Nativity story. We don’t think of it as an antimicrobial oral treatment -- but that’s exactly what it is!
Like tea tree oil, myrrh oil contains terpenoids which stop the growth of halitosis-causing microbes and of oral thrush-causing candida. In addition, this natural oil also helps heal mouth sores and wounds by ridding them of bacteria and promoting tissue repair. I think this wound-healing quality is particularly important because cuts and sores in the mouth can open up our bodies to a host of infections. With myrrh oil, that infection gateway closes up fast!
Frankincense (Boswellia serrata)
Maybe the Three Wise Men were really on to something, because another one of their nativity gifts -- frankincense -- has been found to be medicinally valuable today. Multiple studies show that frankincense oil is significantly effective in reducing plaque-induced gingivitis. It also improves other aspects of oral hygiene, including breath and gum health. Most of these are thanks to a strong anti-inflammatory compound in the oil, called boswellic acid.
Oregano (Origanum compactum benth)
Yes, the same oregano plant that’s sprinkled in pasta dishes also produces an essential oil that does wonders for oral health! Oregano oil is another powerful antimicrobial that tackles the buildup of bacteria around teeth and gums. Dentists now name this essential oil in preventing gingivitis and periodontitis, and in minimizing streptococcus bacteria that causes tooth decay.
As a bonus, oregano oil also relieves toothaches and helps stop them from recurring (via the reduction of bacteria).
Thyme (Thymus satureioides)
It may be another common kitchen herb, but did you know that thyme is highly beneficial for dental health? Thyme oil has been clinically documented as a strong antiseptic, as it kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the mouth. This makes it a powerful oral cleanser that prevents tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral infections.
That makes our list of nine amazing essential oils for oral care, and we’ve put all of them in our Refreshing & Restorative Mouth Drops. Yep, we didn’t scrimp on this one! You get complete oral care in one product: you’ve got organic ingredients that improve gum health, help prevent tooth decay and cavities, fight various oral infections, and of course, give you minty fresh breath.
We’ve even diluted the essential oils for optimum consistency and potency using organic sweet almond oil as carrier. Who says mouth rinses always have to taste like chemicals? (Note: This is a given, but NEVER swallow mouth drops or mouthwashes -- no matter how pleasant the flavour is!)
Will Essential Oils Kill Good Bacteria In The Mouth, Too?
You may have noticed that a lot of our recommended essential oils for oral health are potent antimicrobial ingredients. You definitely want this in order to get rid of harmful bacteria like strep and staph. But there have been concerns that antibacterial oral products also destroy good microbes in the mouth, leaving our teeth and gums more vulnerable to damage.
There is indeed some truth to this -- though not as much when you’re using our essential oil mouth drops properly. Let’s take a look at how it works.
Prescription-strength mouthwashes are designed to wipe out microbes in the mouth, but they are indiscriminate -- they can’t tell apart good bacteria from bad bacteria. So they tend to clear out both.
According to Dr. Mark Burhenne (whom you might recognize from his TEDx talk and bestselling books), we occasionally need this “bacterial ‘clean slate’” in the mouth to cut the risk of infection. But this would also weaken our mouth’s microbiome, the community of healthy microorganisms that serve as the mouth’s immune system.
This could happen even if you are using essential oils -- or rather, if you’re not using them right. Remember that essential oils are as powerful as the chemical chlorhexidine when removing mouth bacteria.
Does this mean you should avoid essential oils completely for oral health? Absolutely not! Here are tips on how you can use an EO-based oral care product in the healthiest way.
Use essential oils moderately.
To work around the bacteria wipeout conundrum, Dr. Burhenne suggests using only a tiny amount of oil in your oral care routine. If you’re using EO-infused products, pay attention to how strong the oil scent is, as this can tell you the amount of potent oils in the product.
This is precisely why we’ve formulated our essential oils as mouth drops -- easy doses, no harmful excesses, and ultimately cost-effective. Just a teeny-tiny amount of it already goes a long way for your oral health (learn more about how to use it, further below).
But it doesn’t end there.
Use an EO blend that restores bacterial balance.
Our mouth drops recipe is aimed not just at eliminating microbes but at restoring the ideal balance of bacteria in the mouth. This balance entails controlling bad bacteria while keeping the good ones, so we’ve specifically created a restorative formulation using oils that are also friendly to good oral bacteria.
As nutrition coach Shannon Dahlum puts it, “Not only do these powerful plant oils work to keep pathogens from taking over, they can peacefully coexist with all your good guys.” Her list of friendly essential oils for the mouth? Clove, cinnamon, peppermint, thyme, tea tree, and frankincense -- all ticked off in our mouth drops recipe!
Try EOs with oil pulling.
Being in the form of drops also makes this product super-easy to include in your oil pulling session. In fact, we recommend this habit, because with it comes yet another way that our EO mouth drops restore oral bacterial balance.
Oil pulling is a fantastic way to disintegrate bad microbes but not good microbes. Dr. Burhenne also approves of this practice, saying that “oil pulling is able to support your saliva’s efforts in disorganizing bacteria without killing the good bacteria and drying your mouth out.” With this in mind, we designed our mouth drops to be an ideal addition to an oil pulling routine -- a mighty little boost to a beneficial health practice.
If you’re not sure how to oil pull (or even what it is), no worries -- it’s probably the easiest health trick ever. The practice, which originated from the ancient Ayurveda medicine of India, is all about “pulling out toxins” from the body by -- wait for it -- swishing natural oils in your mouth. Yep, that’s pretty much it.
Oil pulling has long been linked to a variety of health benefits, not just regarding the mouth but throughout other areas of the body. I know, I know -- the question inevitably arises as to how a gargling session can affect anything beyond the mouth. The answer starts with the traditionally-held concept that the tongue has connections to other organs of the body. It’s a system that requires an entire article on its own, so I’ll just link you to Dr. Axe’s overview here plus a scientific review you can read on the National Institutes of Health.
While you may be skeptical at first about the bodily benefits of oil pulling, at the very, very least, many dentists agree on its oral health benefits. We’re talking renowned dentists like Dr. Burhenne, who outright says, “I can confirm that oil pulling is an easy, inexpensive way to rebalance the oral microbiome and improve oral and dental health.”
Convinced yet? I have been for years! Now, how do we do an oil pull with our essential oil mouth drops? We’re just getting to that in the section below.
How To Use Our Essential Oil Mouth Drops
Here’s one more thing you might like about our restorative EO mouth drops: they’re so easy to use in practically any oral hygiene activity. You can brush with them, rinse with them, even floss with them! No fussy extra steps required.
- Brush. Add two to three drops onto your toothbrush and brush as usual.
- Rinse. Add a couple of drops with water and swish like a mouthwash. (30 secs)
- Floss. Place a drop between your clean index finger and thumb. Run your floss through the fingers so it’s coated with the product. Floss as usual.
- Apply directly. Place a tiny drop on your clean index finger and massage directly onto a sensitive area in your mouth.
- Oil pull. Coconut oil is the most recommended (and accessible) oil for swishing. Take a tablespoon of organic coconut oil and add a couple of drops of our EO blend. Swish for 10 to 20 minutes (not a typo -- we really recommend 10 minutes at least). Spit out in a trash bin, not the sink, as the oil may solidify and clog pipes. For best results, do this twice daily.
It’s that simple. Whatever your lifestyle is like, however you tend to your teeth and gums, our essential oil mouth drops are an ideal companion. Brushing before bed? Got just enough time for a quick rinse after lunch? Taking your sweet time for a total oil pull session? Drip a bit of this EO blend, and you’ve got powerful, total oral care just like that.
You don’t have to take it from me (even though I swear by this product!). Our customers, discerning early adopters that they are, have already sent us glowing reviews and thanks for the Refreshing & Restorative Mouth Drops. See for yourself.
And even if you’re not ready to try out our blend just yet, I do hope you consider essential oils for your mouth care. Read about them and consult your hygienist about what would work for you. That’s really the biggest takeaway that I want to share here. I’m a living, breathing testimonial to EOs, and here’s me cheering you on towards more natural and balanced oral health.
Additional References and Further Reading
“6 Essential Oils for Healthy Gums and Teeth” by The Dental Group of Amarillo
“Cinnamon Essential Oil for Oral Health” on Indianapolis Dentistry
“Cinnamon Oil: 10 Proven Benefits and Uses” on Dr. Axe
“Four effective gingivitis home remedies” on Medical News Today
“Tea Tree Oil for Receding Gums” on Livestrong
“Tea tree oil -- just a fad?” on Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine
“Effect of frankincense on plaque and gingivitis” on Natural Health Research