I’ve seen some tortuous-looking set-ups when it comes to dentistry in certain countries: rusty tools that appear dull, dental clinics set up at a table on the street and suspect hygiene practices of practitioners.
Having insurance and access to a list of reputable dentists abroad should take care of serious dental concerns but for minor tooth issues aromatherapy can tide you over until you get home to have your teeth checked properly by your dentist. Here are some essential oils that have been used historically and shown to be effective in dental care.
- Clove for tooth pain: Put a drop of clove on a cotton swab and place at the base of tooth with pain. It is very numbing and will do in a pinch as an analgesic.
- Myrrh for gum care: Used in ancient times for gum care and sometimes an ingredient in natural toothpaste, myrrh can be used in different ways. Rinse mouth well with some water and a drop of myrrh; put a drop of myrrh on a cotton swab and rub on gums then rinse off; add a drop of myrrh to toothpaste and brush your teeth and gums with it.
- Tea tree for anti-bacterial action: A couple of drops in water makes for a natural mouthwash that helps combat the bacteria implicated in tooth decay. Not the most pleasant tasting oil; see the following for a more palatable mouthwash.
- Fennel and peppermint to freshen breath: In water, add a drop of either of these oils for a breath freshening mouthwash. Peppermint can also be used for mild pain relief. Apply as you would clove oil.
In lieu of carrying individual bottles of these essential oils, pack a mouthwash, toothpaste and dental floss that contain these oils instead.
*Keep the oils on your teeth and gums; avoid swallowing.