Oral health problem is still a challenge, despite significant improvements in oral healthcare across countries. The challenge is more common among underprivileged groups in developing and developed countries. Periodontal diseases & dental caries are the most commonly identified oral health problems. Since oral diseases adversely affect the general health, too, the quality of life and working capacity of an individual is likely to be involved.
Currently, antibacterial agents treat oral problems, resulting in side effects like vomiting, diarrhoea, etc. Due to increasing bacterial resistance and high cost associated with standard procedures, there is a need to explore new therapeutic agents.
Traditionally plant-based medicines were used to treat infections. One such natural medicine is essential oils (EOs) . Recent years has witnessed an increased interest in EOs.
Essential Oils are plant extracts used for treating various dental problems since ancient times. EOs are secondary metabolites and possess antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. 
Essential Oils: Composition & Mechanism of Action
EOs constituents are a complex mixture of terpenic hydrocarbons, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and oxygenated derivatives . Different EOs have different compositions, even if extracted from plants of the same species.
The mechanisms of action are dependent on the chemical composition and location of one or more functional groups on the molecules . Solubility of essential oils in the phospholipid bilayer of cell membranes plays an important role in antimicrobial activity.
Essential oils and potential usage in Dentistry:
Lavender oil: It comprises linalool, linalyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, B-ocimene, terpinen-4-ol, l-fenchone, camphor, and viridiflorol . Among the most common therapeutic properties of lavender oil, the antimicrobial activities against most filamentous fungi, bacteria, and yeasts are the best . The anxiolytic property of Lavender EO is reported to reduce stress anxiety and improve mood before/after dental procedures.
Eucalyptus oil: Studies show that Eucalyptus oil possesses a potent cytotoxic effect & antibacterial effect against S. aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus pyogenes, and Staphylococcus pneumonia . It has been found that eucalyptus EO stimulates the innate cell-mediated immune response and can be used as an adjuvant in immunosuppression, infectious disease, and tumour chemotherapy.
Peppermint oil: Peppermint oil is packed with antibacterial properties. Studies prove it exhibits an antifungal effect against the azole-susceptible and azole-resistant strains . Antibiofilm properties help to decrease pathogenesis & drug resistance.
Lemon EO: Therapeutic activity shows antifungal potential against various Candida species. Lemon EO is advised as an effective remedy against candidiasis caused by C. Albicans.
Clove oil: Eugenol is used for well-known therapeutic properties and is widely used in dentistry. EO also exhibits very strong radical scavenging, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial activity .
Potential Uses of Aromatherapy in Dental Practices:
- Lavender oil is used in dental clinics to reduce patients’ anxiety and pain of needle insertion. It is used as an anxiolytic agent in the waiting area .
- Eucalyptus oil has an inhibitory effect on oral pathogens, making it suitable for an anti-cariogenic agent .
- Peppermint oil or Eugenol oil is of great reliance for the dentistry world. Active against oral pathogens associated with dental caries & periodontal disease, it has antimicrobial activity at the lowest concentration level .
- Cinnamon oil is safe for healthy patients with dentures to treat oral candidiasis .
- Lemon Essential Oil is suggested as an effective remedy against candidiasis caused by C. Albicans .
A combination of EOs and antibiotics has successfully reduced antibiotic resistance in multidrug-resistant bacteria.
General Benefits of Aromatherapy:
Reduces Stress: Stress has become an integral part of life in modern times. While it is impossible to avoid it, an essential oil is scientifically proven to manage stress. It calms the human nervous system, lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and rewires brain waves to keep you relaxed and relieve anxiety.
Boosts Energy: Essential oils can invigorate the senses and give you that pep in your step if you happen to experience the dreaded 3 pm afternoon slump. All citrus oils are filled with antioxidant terpenes and naturally energizing effects.
Improves Focus: Struggling to focus on your daily tasks? Well, essential oils are the best healing agents to improve memory, concentration, and cognitive performance. Aromatherapy contains antioxidants that fight free radicals. This has proven helpful for patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other mental disorders.
Reduces Physical Pain: Aromatherapy has a positive impact on decreasing pain including, gynaecological, postoperative and obstetrical pain.
Improves Sleep: Essential oils are popular as natural sedatives. Lavender oil is proven to promote restful sleep.
With considerable evidence on how Essential Oils can potentially be used as preventive or therapeutic agents for various purposes, it is important to recognize and understand how nature provides for our existence. In the roots of nature, we can find the solution to everybody mind and soul problem. To underestimate and ignore the power of aromatherapy is a mistake that not many of us would like to commit if we really explore the benefits!
At Healing Oracle, we have been vocal about living close to nature and how abandoning some modern-day items may simplify our lives up to million times!
References and Sources:
Love and Light
The Healing Oracle Team
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