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Gum and Mouth Problems

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


see also teeth problems

Gum diseaseThe most common gum and mouth problems are periodontal diseases that are bacterial infections that lead to inflammation and eventually destroy the gums and other supporting tissues surrounding the teeth. The bacteria is in a sticky, colorless film called plaque that forms in the mouth and if not removed it hardens on the teeth and is known as tartar.  Both plaque and tartar and the bacteria involved irritate and inflame the gums.  The progression of periodontal disease is:

  Gingivitis – gums are red, swollen, and bleed easily.

  Periodontal pockets – plaque begins to form below the gum line and pockets form.

  Periodontitis – The chronic presence of plaque, tartar, and attending bacterial infection destroys the gum and bone structure that supports the teeth and may result in them becoming loose and needing removal.

Beyond this clinical testing suggests that periodontal diseases (gum disease) may be associated with strokes, diabetes, heart, and other cardiovascular problems. The prevailing opinion is that a healthy mouth can enhance overall health, as well as prolong the effective health of teeth. Other mouth sores can range from cold sores that are a viral infection in the mouth (see “Herpes Simplex”) to simple abrasions. Cold sores are quite contagious but their cousin, the canker sore, is not. Braces rubbing the cheek, biting lips, biting inside the cheek, or a very hot drink can cause abrasions..

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  CloveC, LavenderC, LemonE, MelaleucaC, MyrrhEC, Protective BlendC

Essential oils based products: Protective Blend Toothpaste

Also consider: EucalyptusC, HelichrysumC, FrankincenseC, Peppermint, RosemaryC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

For pain and discomfort

    Clove (1-2 drops) applied topically to the painful area of the gum, tooth, or cheek will provide a numbing effect (for children dilute with a pleasant tasting carrier oil).

To reduce inflammation, heal, and promote ongoing gum health

   Mild : Mix 1 or 4 drops of Myrrh in 1 tablespoon of water or a carrier oil. Swish and pull the mixture through the teeth for approximately 5-10 minutes 2-3 times daily Then follow-up by brushing the teeth using Protective Blend. Do not swallow. Lemon or Peppermint added to the mixture may make the taste more acceptable.

    Other oils for mouth and gum problems include: Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Melaleuca, Rosemary, or Protective Blend. These oils can be used in the same manner as Myrrh above.

   More aggressive:

    2 tbsp fractionated coconut oil

    2 drops of Clove

    2 drops of Oregano

    Put the above blend into your mouth, gently pull the oils around and through your teeth for 10 minutes and then spit it out up to three times a day.

For abrasions

    Use one of the mouth washes above using Lavender or Melaleuca instead of the oils mentioned.

For simple sores

    Topically apply a drop of Lavender or Melaleuca directly on the sore. 

For halitosis (bad breath)

((...) also makes a Peppermint based beadlet excellent for halitosis.)

    Peppermint or Lemongrass are oils that will help with halitosis (bad breath) and also are very antibacterial.

A suggested toothpaste recipe

((...) also makes an essential oils based toothpaste with the Protective Blend, Protective Blend toothpaste.)

  6 tsp baking soda

  1/3 tsp salt

  1/2 tsp xylitol (a natural sweetener)

  4 tsp glycerin

  10 drops Peppermint

  3 drops Protective Blend

  2 drops Melaleuca

  3 drops Birch

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Stephanie - I just had some dental work done, and because he drilled into my jaw bone, as a "precautionary" the dentist wanted me to do a round of antibiotics.  I haven't been on antibiotics in years, and I really don't want to wipe my system out with them as a precautionary to infection, but I also don't want an infection in my jaw bone. Surely you have a protocol for this.  

Pat - I know that a capsule filled with 4 drops of Oregano and 5 drops of Lemon and 5 drops of Melaleuca is a good antibiotic. Also taking Probiotic Defense Formula should help, just don't take it at the same time as you take the Lemon blend.

Rob - I have recently helped someone who had an inflamed tooth/jaw area by oil pulling with 1 drop Oregano, 5 drops Protective Blend in 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil for 5 minutes, 3 times daily.  After 2-3 days the inflammation/swelling was gone.


Raymundoss - I have a reoccurring gum infection once or twice a year. I can't stand to pull Oregano for ten minutes, could I get the same effect if I diluted it with some FCO? Or with  Melaleuca?

Pat -Yes you can swish with FCO and you can also add Lemon to the Oregano and/or use Protective Blend. I swish for 5 minutes and just do it more often. I also have swished with Frankincense

Jan - Myrrh is marvelous for dental/oral conditions.

Rob - If you add EVCO or FCO or other carrier to the Oregano and then pull with it, it will help make it tolerable.  You can also add Lemon to cool it a bit.  Many oils would be great for the gums.  Lemongrass, Frankincense, Myrrh, Basil, Thyme, Protective Blend, Clove, Melaleuca, Rosemary, etc. But Oregano will be most effective (with Myrrh).  Unfortunately two of the worst tasting oils there are.  Brush with Peppermint or Protective Blend afterward.

Raymundoss - Thank you! So i have been muscling through the Oregano swish...and last night I got some Oregano on my upper lip... is it possible for it to have created a blister?

Rob - Yes, Oregano will burn your lip!  As soon as you feel it on your lip or face, get some FCO on it!  If you add EVCO, FCO, or other carrier to the Oregano and then pull with it, it will help make it tolerable. As previously said you can also add Lemon to cool it a bit.  


Renee - I have a dear friend who is 100% willing to commit to a protocol to reverse the damage of gingivitis. His dentist wants him to spend thousands for about 14 appointments of painful scraping. He wants to try whatever I recommend first. I am looking forward to your replies.

Pat - I have never heard from anyone that this protocol does not work. I have, however heard from many that it blew their dentists away!

  2 tbsp Fractionated coconut oil (you can use Virgin Coconut Oil that you have melted to room temperature (do not use a microwave)

  2 drops of Clove

  2 drops of Oregano

Put the above blend into your mouth, gently pull the oils around your mouth letting them sit where there are problems. You will do this oil pull for 10 minutes and then spit it out. If you are working on a specific gum problem then do this protocol three times a day.

Renee - One more question if I may, what would you suggest to address bone loss?

Pat - The Live Long Vitality is really a good place to start on this.

Sharon - I would also add a drop or two of Myrrh to Pat's protocol.


Adrienne - I have always had a little bit of infection in a root canal I had done few years ago. To get rid of it my dentist is suggesting a major procedure. I don't want to do it. Do you think this oil pull protocol will help?

Pat - I truly think the oil pull protocol will help.


Kathy – I just had a wisdom tooth out and I am in a lot of pain. I have taken some strong painkillers but it doesn’t seem to help, the whole side of my head is aching. The dentist said don’t swish anything till tomorrow and only use salty water? Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

Leah – Clove. Or maybe even Protective Blend, because it has Clove in it. I would just apply some to a Q-tip and gently dab the tender spots. Maybe some Soothing Blend on the outside of your jaw? I bet Birch would work too.

Suzy - Put Clove oil on a Q-tip and apply to the area as much as you can stand.  It really works!  If you have a small pipette, you could even drop a drop of oil into the open cavity left behind.  Hope this helps!  

Heather - I just put Protective Blend on my gum because they felt infected. It numbed it really well. Now my gum feels better.

Brooke - Also use Frankincense on the outside of your jaw and cheekbone to help with swelling and healing.

Pat - These are all good suggestions, I still prefer the oil pull of 2 tbsp Fractionated Coconut oil with 2 drops of Clove and 2 drops of Oregano. Don't swish just hold it in your mouth for 10 minutes. You will be amazed.

Kathy - Thanks everyone, I am feeling much better today. Have been using all the suggestions but haven’t swished yet. I am going to try that suggestion now.

Laura – With any sore in the mouth I use Melaleuca.  I have a spray bottle filled with water and some Melaleuca (I can't remember how many drops, but it was not many) on hand and any time we have a sore throat, mouth pain, bite on our cheek, after the kids pull teeth, etc. we use it.  Just spray it in all around the mouth and then you can swish after if you want, or just let it sit a minute and spit.  It works great- much better than our old OTC sore throat spray- or Orajel.  I also use Protective Blend on my toothbrush when my teeth start feeling sensitive or sore and it will work for a couple days at a time at least!


Jess - Lucky me. I've had pain for 3 days and the dentist diagnosed the need for a root canal. The X-rays show no infection nor a cavity, possibly a hairline crack. I've read about the recommended oil pull protocol and I will start that tonight. My question is: does anyone have any info of oils helping repair teeth cracks?

Pat - Right now just do the Clove, Oregano and coconut oil protocol. I am not sure about why the teeth crack, that is what happened to me and the oil pull helped so much.

Jeanne - Fluoride is a hardener of tooth enamel for sure, but it hardens them to the point of being brittle. It also blocks absorption of other minerals. There is an excellent book by Ramiel Nigal called "Heal Tooth Decay" that can be found online. It contains diet and other things you can do to help heal your teeth naturally. It is worth a look. It based on research done by Weston A Price.

Jess - The oil pull is helping tremendously. I'm guessing that is why they can't detect any infection. I've been fluoride free for 15 years now so I hope I've worked out the majority of it from my system. Apart from growing up in a community where the water had a high quantity of fluoride in the water, 20  years after moving away my teeth have a more healthy appearance.

Christine - I would certainly try Birch - you could put it directly on the tooth.  I just had a tooth pulled that was an old root canal.  The dentist said root canal teeth are not strong and they are brittle.  This "dead" tooth was also affecting several organs in my body and I am now trying to heal them with oils.  I know of 2 alternative dentists who would not do root canals. There is a reason.  Do some research before you have this done.

Pat - My son-in-law is the one who got me starting on this oil pull after my tooth fractured. He also told me that consistent use also got rid of a cavity. Don't you just love these oils?

Jess - I really do. I've seen decay in my children's mouths disappear as we started making our own toothpaste with our oils. Amazing!

Sunny - Just curious... What oils did you use to take care of the tooth decay?

Just a 'heads up.'  I had an experience with pain in the gum line above my most upper left-hand tooth several years ago.  The dentist could see no reason for it - no infection, nothing in x-rays.  I had a root canal and that did not stop the pain.  I was really worried that whatever was causing the pain would spread to other nearby teeth.  So, after consulting with my dentist, I had the tooth removed.  This was all before I began using essential oils.

Turned out that a few months later, the pain returned.  This time, I was not so quick to extract more teeth!  I had heard that sometimes the mouth (teeth, gums, etc) reflect what is going on elsewhere in the body.  By this time, I was using oils and applied what worked for me in the area (Peppermint).  Detoxing with GI Cleansing Formula and consistent use of LLV has permanently eradicated the pain.


Jess - After years of poo-pooing my homemade concoctions, my lovely 12 year old daughter asked me to make her some toothpaste. It turned out to be a really good batch. So good that almost everyone in the house is using it. Today while getting ready for school said pre-teen daughter commented that her acne has cleared for no apparent reason. Her younger 10-year-old sister's acne has cleared as well with the only routine change being the toothpaste. Our teeth are significantly whiter too. So now she is amazed that a product for her teeth would effect her skin and I am her hero ( for a minute.)

Toothpaste recipe

  6 tsp baking soda

  1/3 tsp salt

  1/2 tsp xylitol (a natural sweetener)

  4 tsp glycerin

  10 drops Peppermint

  3 drops Protective Blend

  2 drops Melaleuca

  3 drops Birch

I mix it up and keep it in a 4 oz mason jar. We keep a baby spoon with it that we rinse betwix uses. I've put it in plastic travel shampoo bottles in the past but it separates and needs stirring occasionally. Let me know if you have a better delivery system.

Brenda - What is xylitol, where do you get it and what form is it, liquid, powder? I am anxious to try this.

Editorial comment – Also see the Science and Research tab above for more information on xylitol.  Glycerin is made from animal or vegetable fat.  The vegetable fat type is preferable and is available at pharmacies like Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart, or online.

Jess - It is a sweetener that is good for your teeth. It whitens them. I get it from the health food store. It comes in powdered form.

Protocols folks recommend for children



Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils


What Science & Research are saying

The effects of a tea tree oil-containing gel on plaque and chronic gingivitis.

Aust Dent J. 2004 Jun;49(2):78-83.   Soukoulis S, Hirsch R.   Dental School, The University of Adelaide, South Australia.



This clinical study assessed the effects of topically applied tea tree oil (TTO)-containing gel on dental plaque and chronic gingivitis.


This was a double-blind, longitudinal, non-crossover study in 49 medically fit non-smokers (24 males and 25 females) aged 18-60 years with severe chronic gingivitis. Subjects were randomly assigned to three groups and given either TTO-gel (2.5 per cent), chlorhexidine (CHX) gel (0.2 per cent), or a placebo gel to apply with a toothbrush twice daily. Treatment effects were assessed using the Gingival Index (GI), Papillary Bleeding Index (PBI) and plaque staining score (PSS) at four and eight weeks.


No adverse reactions to any of the gels were reported. The data were separated into subsets by tooth (anterior and posterior) and tooth surface (buccal and lingual). The TTO group had significant reduction in PBI and GI scores. However,,TTO did not reduce plaque scores, which tended to increase over the latter weeks of the study period.


Although further studies are required, the anti-inflammatory properties of TTO-containing gel applied topically to inflamed gingival tissues may prove to be a useful non-toxic adjunct to chemotherapeutic periodontal therapy.


Antimicrobial activities of the volatile oils of Ocimum bacilicum L. and Ocimum gratissimum L. (Lamiaceae) against some aerobic dental isolates.

Editor’s note: Basil (Ocimum bacilicum) and African Basil ( Ocimum gratissimum) used in a toothpaste.

Pak J Pharm Sci. 2009 Oct;22(4):405-9.  Ahonkhai I, Ba A, Edogun O, Mu U.    Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.


Essential or volatile oils of plants have been variously reported to have many medicinal applications. Their probable uses against oral microbes have received little attention. Oral swabs obtained from eighteen dental patients at the University of Benin teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria, led to the isolation of twenty nine bacteria. Using standard methods, the microorganisms were identified as Streptococcus viridians (16; representing 55.17%), Staphylococcus albus (9; 31.04%), Klebisiella pneumonia (2; 6.90%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (1, 3.45%) and Proteus vulgaris (1, 3.45%). The antimicrobial activities of the volatile oils of Ocimum Basilicum L. and O. gratissimum L. were evaluated on the twenty nine organisms using agar diffusion and agar dilution methods. In the susceptibility tests, the volatile oils of O. Basilicum and O. gratissimum independently inhibited the growth of Klebisiella pneumonia at a concentration of 0.51% in the agar; Streptococcus viridians and Staphylococcus albus at 1.10% and Pseudomonas aeruginosa at 10.0%. Proteus vulgaris was inhibited at 0.53% by the volatile oil of O. gratissimum and 0.67% by O. Basilicum. Separate incorporation of the volatile oils into tooth pastes (2 and 5%), the volatiles oils showed antibacterial activities comparable to a commercial tooth paste (which contains O. Basilicum 0.01% among others) against most resistant organisms. As components of mouth washes, the volatile oils completely inhibited the growth of organisms at a concentration of 0.5%.


The effects of Lavender scent on dental patient anxiety levels: a cluster randomised-controlled trial.

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2010 Feb;38(1):83-7. Epub 2009 Nov 23.  Kritsidima M, Newton T, Asimakopoulou K.   King's College London, Dental Institute, Denmark Hill, London, UK.



To review the effect of Lavender scent on anticipatory anxiety in dental participants.


In a cluster randomized-controlled trial, patients' (N = 340) anxiety was assessed while waiting for a scheduled dental appointment, either under the odor of Lavender or with no odor. Current anxiety, assessed by the brief State Trait Anxiety Indicator (STAI-6), and generalized dental anxiety, assessed by the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) were examined.


Analyses of variance (anovas) showed that although both groups showed similar, moderate levels of generalized dental anxiety (MDAS F((1,338)) = 2.17, P > 0.05) the Lavender group reported significantly lower current anxiety (STAI: F((1,338)) = 74.69, P < 0.001) than the control group.


Although anxiety about future dental visits seems to be unaffected, Lavender scent reduces state anxiety in dental patients.


What is Xylitol?

From www.angelFire.com

Xylitol is not only a safe, natural sweetener without the bad side-effects of sugar and artificial substitutes, it's also good for your teeth, stabilises insulin and hormone levels and promotes good health.

Xylitol is a natural substance found in fibrous vegetables and fruit, as well as in corn cobs and various hardwood trees like Birch. It is a natural, intermediate product which regularly occurs in the glucose metabolism of man and other animals as well as in the metabolism of several plants and micro-organisms. Xylitol is produced naturally in our bodies; in fact, we make up to 15 grams daily during normal metabolism.

Although xylitol tastes and looks exactly like sugar, that is where the similarities end. Xylitol is really sugar's mirror image. While sugar wreaks havoc on the body, xylitol heals and repairs. It also builds immunity, protects against chronic degenerative disease and has anti-ageing benefits. Xylitol is considered a five-carbon sugar, which means it is an antimicrobial, preventing the growth of bacteria. While sugar is acid forming, xylitol is alkaline enhancing. All other forms of sugar, including sorbitol, another popular alternative sweetener, are six-carbon sugars which feed dangerous bacteria and fungi.

Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1963, xylitol has no known toxic levels. The only discomfort that some sensitive people may notice initially when taking large amounts is mild diarrhoea or slight cramping. Since the body makes xylitol daily, as well as the enzymes to break it down, any discomfort usually disappears within a few days as the body's enzymatic activity adjusts to a higher intake.

Xylitol has 40 per cent fewer calories and 75 per cent fewer carbohydrates than sugar and is slowly absorbed and metabolised, resulting in very negligible changes in insulin. About one-third of the xylitol that is consumed is absorbed in the liver. The other two-thirds travels to the intestinal tract where it is broken down by gut bacteria into short-chain fatty acids.

Xylitol looks, feels and tastes exactly like sugar and leaves no unpleasant aftertaste. It is available in many forms. In its crystalline form, it can replace sugar in cooking, baking or as a sweetener for beverages. It is also included as an ingredient in chewing gum, mints and nasal spray.


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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.