In one of my recent blogs, I highlighted some alarming information on triclosan and discussed the health implications of “Sanitizing Our Beloved Bugs to Death!” But, did you know that triclosan could also be in your toothpaste!
Your mouth has systemic effects on your body. Just as you don’t want to expose your outside to toxins, you want to avoid brushing and swallowing them. From cardiovascular risk to bad breath, I’ve written on the oral microbiome’s implications in health. Thankfully, just as essential oils can support our gut microbiome they can also “get the bad guys out” of our mouth, promoting a more healthy balance.
Most people think of clove or cinnamon oil for oral health, and for good reason. However, we may want to add manuka for supportive mouth health in those who are immunocompromised. Essential oils for mouth care extended into a new category recently with my exploration of manuka essential oil. Here’s what I found in a 2009 article in European Journal of Oncology Nursing:
This study evaluated the effects of an essential oil mouthwash on radiation induced mucositis of the oropharyngeal area during treatment for head and neck cancers. Nineteen adult patients completed the randomized placebo controlled trial which involved the use of a gargle containing 2 drops of a 1:1 mix of the essential oils of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) in water. Those in the essential oil gargle group were observed to have a delayed onset of mucositis and reduced pain and oral symptoms relative to placebo (gargling with water) and the control (‘usual care’) groups. In addition those in the essential oil group were seen to have less weight loss (1% loss) than the other two groups (control 2.5%, placebo 4.5%). However a significant limitation in this study was the small sample size. Although the results from this feasibility study support the hypothesis that very small volumes of manuka and kanuka used in a gargle can provide a positive effect on the development of radiation induced mucositis, further research is required to confirm this finding. Randomization was applied according to the timing of the patient’s entering the trial as well as their physical ability to gargle. Confirmation of these findings would pave the way for introduction of a simple, yet effective treatment for a condition which causes considerable discomfort and for which there is currently no definitive treatment.
I also just read a review with basic science (mostly in vitro) on the use of citrus fruit, extract, and essential oils for modulating an unwanted overgrowth of a common belly bug. As far as the mouth, citrus essential oils, in the form of a patch, were found in one study to assist with the discomfort from canker sores. The authors suggested that this is perhaps from balancing the oral microbiome.
Ahh… all this information makes me even more content with my oily toothpaste to provide non-toxic, systemic body support! Perhaps you want to try a drop of therapeutic grade essential oil on your toothpaste today?
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Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
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- He J, Li Y, Cao Y, Xue J, Zhou X. The oral microbiome diversity and its relation to human diseases. Folia Microbiol (Praha). 2015 Jan;60(1):69-80. doi: 10.1007/s12223-014-0342-2.
- Wade WG. The oral microbiome in health and disease. Pharmacol Res. 2013 Mar;69(1):137-43. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Nov 28.
- Wrong about Essential Oils: Mercola, J. Interview with Dr. Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry: How Your Oral Health Contributes to Your General Health and Wellbeing. Mercola.com. November 30, 2014.
- Gaulke CA, Barton CL, Proffitt S, Tanguay RL, Sharpton TJ. Triclosan Exposure Is Associated with Rapid Restructuring of the Microbiome in Adult Zebrafish. Rawls JF, ed. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(5):e0154632. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154632.
- Halden RU. Lessons Learned from Probing for Impacts of Triclosan and Triclocarban on Human Microbiomes. mSphere. 2016;1(3):e00089-16. doi:10.1128/mSphere.00089-16.
- Maddocks-Jennings W, Wilkinson J, Cavanagh M. et al. Evaluating the effects of the essential oils Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) and Kunzea ericoides (kanuka) on radiotherapy induced mucositis: A randomized, placebo controlled feasibility study [abstract]. European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2009; 13(2): 87-89.