Adequate plaque control of is very important in the prevention and control of periodontal diseases, dental caries, and the patient’s oral health. Given the prevalence of these diseases globally— with caries in 60%-90% of children, gingivitis in up to 80% of the populations in developed countries, and periodontitis in 50% of global populations—it would seem that mechanical oral hygiene procedures alone are not practiced sufficiently by a majority of the population. This lack of sufficient oral hygiene provides a rationale for implementing additional means of improving oral hygiene.
Mechanical oral hygiene techniques, such as toothbrushing, generally focus only on the teeth, which comprise only about 25% of the oral surfaces. Antiseptic mouth rinses, by virtue of their liquid nature, reach nearly 100% of oral surfaces. Plaque bacteria are prevalent on the oral mucosal tissues that comprise the majority of the oral surface. Daily rinsing with an effective antimicrobial mouthwash may help to reduce the total microbial burden in the oral cavity, thereby contributing to better oral hygiene.
These essential oils were used in the following study so let’s just do a quick check on each of them.
Menthol mint essential oil has been used as a flavoring for centuries, but also has applications in aromatherapy when applied to sore muscles or in combination with other products such as in a pain relief balm. It is often referred to as having a cooling effect. Menthol mint is solid at room temperature and needs to be slowly warmed before use. The oil is extracted by using steam distillation.
Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming, as well as for religious ceremonies, or funeral rites. Thyme is well known in the culinary field and happens to be considered as one of the more important herbs. More contemporary uses emphasize the benefits of thyme for medicinal uses such as for aches and pains, depression and tiredness, for skin problems such as acne, and for dental problems, etc.
Native Americans brewed a tea from the wintergreen leaves to alleviate rheumatic symptoms, headache, fever, sore throat and various aches and pains. In Ayurveda, wintergreen oil is used in treating joints and muscles. A gentle massage with Wintergreen essential oil is said to soothe and warm up the skin, granting complete relief from pain, stiffness, inflammation and dryness.
Traditionally, eucalyptus species have been used for insect repellent, respiratory infections and mouth washes. The Australian Aborigines have used the leaves to disinfect wounds and treat infections for thousands of years. The best-known essential oil worldwide might be eucalyptus oil, produced from the leaves of Eucalyptus globulus. Steam-distilled eucalyptus oil is used throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and South America as a primary cleaning/disinfecting agent added to soaped mop and countertop cleaning solutions; it also possesses insect and limited vermin control properties.
Now, let’s move on to the study and its promising results.
The objective of this study was to evaluate only the effect of daily usage of an antimicrobial essential oils-containing mouth rinse on reducing existing dentalplaque and gingivitis over the course of 6 months without an initial teeth cleaning, and to determine if there would be an increasing benefit over this period of time, including an earlier evaluation at 6 weeks.
A total of 139 subjects were randomized into 2 treatment arms, 70 to the C group and 69 to the essential oil (EO) group. Seven subjects discontinued the study, leaving 66 subjects in the C group and 66 in the EO group completing the study.
Subjects were instructed to rinse morning and evening with their assigned mouth rinse, either a hydro-alcohol negative control rinse used in the C group or an essential oils-containing mouth rinse for the EO group.
The results from this study add to other published data, confirming the benefit of regular and consistent daily use of an essential oils-containing antimicrobial mouth rinse in reducing existing plaque and gingivitis and in demonstrating an increasing advantage with regular and consistent twice-daily use over the course of 6 months.
The use of an EO-containing mouth rinse provided a clinically meaningful and statistically significant reduction in existing plaque and gingivitis, and provided an increasing incremental benefit to toothbrushing.
In conclusion the authors stated that “This study confirmed the beneficial effect twice-daily regular use of an EO-containing mouth rinse on existing plaque and gingivitis, with gingivitis reductions within the range of previously reported results.”