Manuka is a plant that has been used for centuries by the Maori people in New Zealand. It has many medicinal benefits and properties. Some of the best refer to great disinfecting and antibacterial properties. These are especially useful in preventing and improving most oral hygiene problems. Manuka essential oil has been proven effective against at least 39 strains of bacteria and germs.
The first chapter of this article is about the whys and the hows of this essential oil in oral hygiene. Find out how to improve or prevent, even treat some of the most stubborn mouth infections. Tooth decay is also among the problems the oil of Manuka can be used for.
Besides all these useful tips, you’ll also find a few blends to help you start using the oil anytime.
Continue to learn more about the benefits and advantages of Manuka oil in the second chapter. Also, there are a few precautions and interactions you ought to be aware of. But don’t worry! I’m going to tell you more about that too. Take a few minutes to learn more about this great active ingredient to make the best of it!
Did You Know?
- Manuka trees that grow at high altitudes have stronger antibacterial properties than those found at lower altitudes.
How to Maintain a Great Oral Hygiene with Manuka Essential Oil
Botanical name: Leptospermum scoparium
Texture: Thin oil.
Aroma and Color: A pungent, spicy, camphoraceous and herbaceous oil, with a clear appearance.
Other names: New Zealand Tea Tree, Red Manuka
Just like its names suggest it, Manuka oil smells a lot like Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), but not really. Manuka has a more pleasant and milder fragrance. Besides this pleasant scent, this essential oil is also a very powerful disinfectant. Other qualities of this oil are his antifungal and anti-inflammatory qualities.
All these effects are given by chemical constituents like:
They are all chemical compounds that are characteristic to the leptospermum plants. They make the oil great against many sorts of pathogens and bacteria that otherwise are resistant to antibiotics. Some medical available data confirms the effect of Manuka oils as pharmaceutical antibiotics.
The oil has been tested and found to be effective against 39 different strains of bacteria and fungi. A few of them are Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans.
Having said all these, you can probably see why it is a very good ingredient in mouth blends. Oral hygiene is important not only for aesthetics, but for the overall health as well. A tooth infection for instance, can spill into the blood. It can then cause many other infections and inflammations inside the body.
There are lots of stubborn infections that locate themselves inside the oral cavity. The latter includes the mouth (tongue, lips and teeth), throat and the mucous membrane of the nose.
How many times haven’t you had to deal with a nasty cold sore on your lips, or a sore throat? Well, all these ailments can be prevented and even treated with Manuka essential oil.
I’ve made a list with some of the most common oral problems. I’ll tell you how this oil can help and how to put it to immediate use with some blends and tips. Let’s see what they are!
1. Bad Breath.
Bad breath happens when you usually have an infected or decaying tooth. Most of the times, genetics dictates the overall health of your teeth. Some are lucky enough to never experiment tooth decay until they’re older.
Others start visiting the dentist very early in life. If you are part of the latter category, like most of us are, then you should keep a vial of Manuka essential oil close by.
You can pour a drop of it on your toothpaste and brush normally. You can also make yourself a mouth water to protect and prevent such problems.
Blend 1 Oz Aloe gel, 2 teaspoons Coconut oil and 6 – 10 drops of Manuka oil. Shake well every time you use this mouth wash. Rinse your mouth for as long as you can and then spit the solution out. Never ingest it because it contains all sorts of toxins and bacteria!
The pleasant smell of the oil of Manuka will refresh your breath and prevent infections at the same time.
2. Tooth Decay.
If you know you have sensitive teeth, prevention is the best action you can take to remedy the problem. Following the tips above will help you. However, if you notice a decay starting to take shape, there are a few simple things you could do.
You can soak a cotton swab in Manuka essential oil and apply directly on the decay several times a day. Or you can make a blend out of 3 drops of Manuka combined with other 3 drops of Clove oil in a tablespoon of Avocado oil.
Massage your gums and dab some into the decay at least twice a day. Please keep in mind that this is a temporary solution that will help you stop the decay from spreading too fast. You’d still have to go to the dentist as soon as possible.
These are small swollen gum areas, which form around tooth decays. They are usually filled with pus and sometimes they can hurt too, and become severely infected. Other times, they are just uncomfortable.
No matter the case, abscesses are not a good sign! Do not wait until they burst or you’ll have to wait a long time for the wound to close. The mouth is a tough environment for open wounds to heal. It’s always moist there, and the lack of air makes their healing last a very long time.
To get rid of them and prevent further infections, you can dab some undiluted Manuka essential oil directly on the abscesses. Apply the oil 3 – 5 times a day and keep the mouth as clean as possible. Caring for abscesses and preventing tooth decays will also strengthen the gums. This in turn means no more bleeding or irritated gums!
4. Blisters and Cold Sores.
I was saying a bit earlier that mouth blisters usually take longer to heal. Even so, it can still be done and it’s a good thing to use an Aromatherapy blend for this purpose. Essential oils help speed up the tissue healing and protect against potential new infections.
If you have a blister in your mouth or on the palate, use a natural homemade mouth wash. You can use the one above or one from this article on how to get whiter teeth naturally.
Rinse your mouth a few times a day and try not to eat anything rough that may worsen the blister. Cold sores can be treated with a simple dab of some Manuka essential oil. Make sure you only dab the affected area and not the healthy skin tissue. Undiluted essential oil may cause irritation, burning or sensitization.
The inflammation of gums is known as gingivitis. This can also be improved and protected against further inflammations with Manuka oil. Blend a drop of Manuka, Lavender and Peppermint in a teaspoon of Avocado or Neem oil. Swish it around your mouth for as many minutes as you can then spit it out.
Again, don’t swallow the solution as it will have collected lots of germs and bacteria. This method is called “oil pulling”. All these oils work in a synergy! They all make a potent blend that will prevent the apparition of gingivitis. The blend will also relieve the symptoms of the already existent one.
You could also make another mouth wash from an ounce of water, 5 drops of Frankincense and 5 of Manuka essential oil. Shake it well before use and proceed normally.
6. Mouth Ulcers.
These are usually painful sores that appear after a rough brushing, or not brushing at all. Mouth ulcers can also appear if you bite your tongue or cheeks. The good thing about them is they usually heal by themselves. Even so, you’ll want to speed up their healing to avoid further infections.
Wash your teeth gently and rinse with a homemade mouth wash. You can also do some oil pulling once a day or every other day. I recommend this method at night, before bed. This will ensure the oils’ effects on a deep level without being disturbed by food or water.
7. Tonsillitis and Rhinitis.
The air we breathe is packed with germs and viruses. Because of it, we are always in danger of getting an infection. Once the immune system is a bit weaker, the germs attack. This is how you get your throat inflamed and sore. The same air, filled with pathogens and allergens, can cause serious mucous inflammations, sneezing and stuffy nose.
To purify the air you can also diffuse 4 – 5 drops of Manuka essential oil in your essential oils diffuser or candle burner. Studies show that strong antibacterial and antifungal oils can kill hundreds of viruses and bacteria. Those lurking in the air will be destroyed within half an hour.
However, if the infection has already occurred, you can do gargles to get relief. Make 34 ounces of fresh sage tea. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and 6 – 10 drops of Manuka oil. Shake well and gargle this solution 3 or 4 times a day until the infection backs off. Continue for at least 5 days to ensure a successful healing. Do not ingest the solution!
If you live in an area where the Manuka tree grows, you could chew on its branches too. They’re highly purifying and beautifully scented!
Did You Know?
- There are approximately 80 species of Leptospermum in Australia! More can be found throughout New Zealand, New Guinea, and South-East Asia.
Other Things You Need to Know About Manuka Essential Oil
Manuka is great to maintain the health of your oral cavity. You’ve just seen all the beneficial things it can do for your oral hygiene. If all those things have stirred more curiosity and interest, this chapter is meant to fill that gap.
Manuka trees are actually small shrubs, with beautiful small, white flowers that smell amazing. In fact, their smell is so sweet that the bees are instantly drawn to it. That is why there’s a very highly regarded Manuka honey on the market. Manuka honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities also!
The essential oil of Manuka is extracted from the leaves or twigs of the tree by steam distillation. These trees grow naturally all over Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania.
Around a ton of plant material will yield 34 ounces (1 Liter) of Manuka essential oil!
Manuka oil is not the same as Kanuka essential oil (Kunzea ericoides) or Tea Tree essential oil! They are all related plants but their oils have different properties and health benefits. But, being part of the same plant family (Myrtaceae) they do share common traits and similarities.
They’re all antibacterial and antifungal. Because of this fact, they’re often found in soaps, cosmetics, skin care products and even perfumes.
Being an essential oil, Manuka will evaporate fast if you keep the bottle uncapped. The oil must be kept in dark glass bottles, in a dark, dry and cool place. Aromatherapy blends that contain this oil can be kept in dark, plastic bottles in the same dark, dry conditions.
Manuka essential oil is considered to be 20 times stronger than Tea Tree oil against certain germs. Because of this, the oil can successfully be used to improve the aspect of acne and other skin infections. It is also useful against ear infections.
Here are some of the best essential oils to use for a great synergy with the oil of Manuka:
- Tea Tree.
- Eucalyptus (radiata).
- Sweet Orange.
Precautions and Interactions
As with any other essential oil, Manuka needs to be handled with care too. Here is what to know and never do when using this oil:
- Never use it undiluted to avoid skin sensitization or irritation.
- Test it for allergies before the first use.
- Consult a doctor before using the oil of Manuka if you suffer from epilepsy, asthma or other health problems.
- Never use it in the first 3 months of pregnancy. You should always ask for medical approval for using any oil afterwards. This oil may cause spasms and contractions.
- Do not use on children and elderly without medical approval.
- Beware of interactions with medications like ofloxacin, sparfloxacin and other “-xacin” drugs.
To conclude our article I will remind you of a few important things. Remember to test the oil for allergic reactions and other interactions for a safe use. Make sure you add a few drops in your homemade mouth wash, toothpaste or oil pulling to prevent many mouth infections.
Diffuse a few drops in your working room or home to ward off colds and flu viruses in the cold season. You can blend Manuka essential oil with many other aromatic essences that you like.
Aromatherapy is a nice way of improving your overall health and relaxing at the same time. It would be a shame not to take advantage of all these benefits. Essential oils are usually cheap to buy, and they’re full of health benefits. Plus, they smell wonderful too!
What’s your favorite use for Manuka oil? Have you ever used it for oral hygiene?