A gum disease is an inflammation of the gums, which when untreated affects the bone surrounding your teeth, ultimately leading to teeth loss. While gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease leading to the inflammation of gums alone, periodontitis is the latter stage causing irreversible damage to the bones and fibers supporting the teeth.
Medications and mainstream treatments though provide instant relief, might, in some cases, have side effects. Therefore, opting for an alternative treatment is the best bet. Tea tree oil is an effective essential oil with healing and soothing properties, which has been used in the treatment of periodontal diseases since ages. Mentioned below are the benefits.
Tea Tree Oil For Gums
1. Preventing Plaque
The bacteria present in the mouth mix with the saliva, mucus, and other particles to constantly form a colorless substance called “plaque,” which gets deposited on your teeth. Plaque, when not thoroughly removed on an everyday basis, can harden to form “tartar” which can be cleaned only by a dentist.
Derived from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia plant, which is native to Australia, tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties. It gets rid of the bacteria by preventing plaque formation. Not just plaque, tea tree oil, to some extent, also attacks the tartar formed due to the hardened plaque. It attacks the bacteria penetrated in the gums and between the teeth, avoiding further damage.
Simply add a drop of this oil to your regular toothpaste before brushing. This way, the oil reaches every corner of your mouth and the rubbing action helps get rid of the plaque and tartar faster.
2. Treating Gingivitis And Periodontitis
As mentioned before, gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease which is characterized by an inflammation and pain due to bacterial overload. Your gums appear red and swollen and bleed every time you brush or floss.
Periodontitis is when the infection further spreads to the bones and fibers supporting and surrounding the teeth. This leads to detaching of the gums from your teeth, forming a pocket around. This paves way for the plaque to penetrate further, worsening the condition. In severe cases, the teeth loosen themselves from the gums which necessitate an extraction.
Topical application of tea tree oil reduces the inflammation significantly. Add a drop or two of this oil on a Q-tip and apply it on the affected area.
3. Avoiding Bad Breath
Medically termed as halitosis, bad breath is a common problem we often tend to ignore. It indicates a poor oral hygiene which, if taken care of, reduces the foul smell. However, if your breath still smells bad and you feel an off taste in the mouth, even after improving your hygiene routine, it could be a sign of gingivitis. The other reasons are fungal infections, dental cavities, dry mouth, or underlying health conditions like diabetes, pneumonia, kidney disease, and acid reflux.
A tea tree-based mouthwash is recommended. If that is not available, adding 1–2 drops of tea tree oil to your regular mouthwash before swishing helps.
4. Improving Overall Dental Health
Oil pulling is one of the useful techniques dentists recommend for improving dental health. It is an ancient ayurvedic method which involves swishing a tablespoon full of oil in your mouth, for 20 minutes on an empty stomach. Though brushing and flossing provide enough protection from germs and food debris, oil pulling is important for complete detoxification of your mouth. It prevents dental problems and improves overall health.
Oil pulling is typically done using coconut oil, olive oil, or sesame oil depending on the availability and taste preferences. Adding a drop of two of tea tree oil to these oils gives added benefits of protecting your gums and teeth against any infections.
5. Soothing Irritated Gums
Apart from gingivitis, there could be various reasons which can induce a gum irritation. Some of them are brushing too harshly, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, flossing improperly, eating hard foods that can brush against your gums (candies, chips, or any crunchy items), and using peroxide-based tooth whitening agents.
The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of tea tree oil soothe the irritated gums instantly. Tea tree oil causes numbness for a few minutes soon after the application, which is when it promotes healing. This numbing action also makes it a good pain reliever for toothaches.
Do not swallow the tea tree oil while using it for any dental purposes, as it causes gastrointestinal irritation. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use this oil orally, as the chances of ingestion might arise other problems. It is always good to consult with your dentist about the severity of infection before using the oil. As, in some cases, periodontitis can only be cured through mainstream medical treatments.