Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tea Tree Oil: And its benefits to oral health

Tea tree oil is an old yet effective remedy that is growing in popularity as people discover its unique properties. The "tea tree" is native to Australia and is believed to have been named by Captain James Cook, during one of his expeditions. He noted that the local Aboriginal tribes made tea from the twigs, bark and leaves of the tree. He further noted that the leaves were often used as poultices for wounds, and that they were quite effective.




It wasn't until 1920, when Australian chemist
A. R. Penefold began researching and documenting the many uses of tea tree oil that it was realized how unique this plant truly was. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties were discovered and tea tree oil was soon being used commercially in the fields of surgery and dentistry.

Because tea tree oil was inexpensive and easy to come by, it was used in many household applications as well, including:

-- Remedies for fungal infections
-- Treatments for skin conditions, including acne and eczema
-- Remedies for lice
-- General disinfecting

Some of the properties that make tea tree oil available for such wide use include the fact that it can be used directly on the skin and mucus membranes without irritation. It can be used to treat colds and chest conditions by adding a small amount to a steam bath. Combing a small amount through the hair effectively treats dandruff and prevents lice and nits.

Tea tree oil is also an effective agent for good oral health. A dab of tea tree oil can help prevent a cold sore from developing and can take the sting out of a canker sore. A rinse made up of a few drops of tea tree oil and 2 ounces of water can be used as a mouthwash to prevent and treat gingivitis. This same rinse can also be used to treat thrush, a fungal infection of the tongue and throat that can often be found in people who have compromised immune systems.


People who wear dentures are prone to mouth ulcers and other sores. Dabbing tea tree oil onto the sores with a cotton swab can help the sores heal and prevent infection. Many local MD and DC dentist offices often prescribe these herbal remedies to treat the minor issue at home and saving a trip to the office.

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