Nothing can turn off friends and would-be lovers more effectively than bad breath. Ask any man or woman and they’ll all agree that killer looks, trendy clothes or a sharp mind won’t cut it if the breath smells like a sewer. No wonder then that mouthwashes, rinses and mint chews are always saleable items in groceries and drug stores.
But with hundreds of toothpastes and mouth rinses on the store shelves, it can be confusing to choose one that will work yet doesn’t contain ingredients that can harm your body. Many popular oral hygiene brands have sodium fluoride, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate and other synthetic chemicals mixed into their products. These supposedly prevent cavities, make teeth whiter and produce foam during brushing to make your mouth feel squeaky-clean. They are also found in rat poison, crude oil and in garage cleaners.
But don’t let that turn you off from oral care products. There are quite a few in the market that are guaranteed to be all natural, very effective and safe to use, like the ones made from tea tree oil. Tea tree oil oral care brands come in toothpastes, mouth rinses, chewing sticks and gels and they can be purchased in groceries, pharmacies and at online health stores. Here is more information about this remarkable supplement from the indigenous tea tree in Australia.
There are many species of the tea tree, some are shrubs and others are trees, and most of them grow in Australia. But the melaleuca alternifolia is the most popular since it's the source of the tea tree oil that is well known for its antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral attributes. As such, the oils from these trees are also found as active ingredients in shampoos, soaps, cosmetics and creams. The concentrate has a light yellow color and smells like nutmeg. As an essential oil, it's produced by steaming the leaves and extracting the oil from them.
Best of all, tea tree oil is safe to use. The European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Products submitted a dossier on the percentage of tea tree oil found in cosmetic goods that conforms to ISO standards, with oral hygiene, skin, hair, nail and personal hygiene products having different approved concentrations.
Benefits of Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is not only for the mouth. It's also good for the health of hair, skin, and nails and for personal hygiene. It has been used by the aboriginal Australians both for cosmetic and medicinal benefits, dating back as far as the 1920s.
As an antiseptic and antifungal, tea tree oil helps in the treatment of the following throat and mouth conditions:
Severe chronic gingivitis
Mouth and tongue lesions
Oral care products like toothpaste, mouthwash, toothpicks and gel may contain up to 0.2 percent tea tree oil as deemed safe by the European Commission SCCP.
Body lotions, soaps and creams with tea tree oil with a safe maximum level of 1.25 percent are effective in the treatment of minor and severe skin diseases, such as:
It's also great for cleaning wounds and cuts, abrasions, insect bites and minor burns. Used as an antiseptic, it speeds up healing and promotes healthy skin.
Tea tree oil in shampoos, conditioners and other hair care products relieves dry and itchy scalps caused by dandruff. Dandruff results from an overgrowth of the Malassezia yeast, a type of fungi. Tea tree oil shampoos used regularly can kill lice and prevent them from coming back.
A stronger concentration of tea tree oil, up to 20 percent, in nail care remedies can cure fungi that infect the nail beds. Studies have shown that tea tree oil is as effective as the preferred antifungal topical medicine in treating nail fungal infections.
Other uses of tea tree oil include treatment of bacterial vaginitis, candida albicans and trichomoniasis.
Safety in the Use of Tea Tree Oil
In concentrations higher than the approved doses, tea tree oil may cause skin irritations and rashes. Never use this essential oil in its pure undiluted form, as it can be too harsh.
Tea tree oil is for topical use only and should not be swallowed or drunk even in small quantities as it can damage the immune system and affect the central nervous system. It is however considered safe to use in toothpastes and mouthwashes as these products remain only in the mouth.
For general safety concerns, tea tree oil is not recommended for use by pregnant and lactating women.