If you have receding gums, you may have periodontitis, also called periodontal disease. Tea tree oil is an herbal remedy that's sometimes recommended for treating these kinds of dental conditions, due to the oil's antibacterial actions. Before you begin using tea tree oil to help treat receding gums, consult your physician or dentist to discuss the remedy's safety and efficacy.
Receding gums, according to MayoClinic.com, are due to conditions involving excessive plaque and bacteria buildup in your mouth. These dental conditions also often cause gum inflammation, adds the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In addition to receding gums, you may experience symptoms like tender gums, bad breath, loose teeth and gum discoloration.
Tea tree oil appears to have antimicrobial actions that kill fungal, viral and bacterial organisms, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Tea tree oil contains terpenoids, including cineole and terpinene-4-ol, which effectively eradicate even the bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Although the remedy has been used historically to prevent or get rid of wound infections, more recent uses include treating or preventing a variety of dental problems.
In addition to potentially treating periodontal disease, tea tree oil may also treat other dental conditions like thrush and oral herpes infections, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Tea tree oil may also treat halitosis -- chronic bad breath -- due to excessive bacteria in the mouth, says the University of Michigan Health System. Tea tree oil may also help treat dandruff, athlete's foot, acne, head lice, wounds and toenail fungal infections, as well as vaginitis, yeast infections and chronic candidiasis. No widely-accepted medical research supports the use of tea tree oil to treat or prevent any medical or dental conditions, however.
Dosage and Application
For dental conditions and symptoms like receding gums, it's best to use tea tree oil in the form of a gel, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, or in the form of toothpaste or an oral rinse. For dental and oral conditions, you may use a mouth rinse containing a 5-percent-dilution of tea tree oil, rinsing with 1 tbsp. of the solution four times per day, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Before using tea tree oil to treat receding gums, ask your physician or dentist about the solution strength and application that's right for your particular case.
Never swallow tea tree oil, because the volatile oil can cause serious health problems like nerve damage, warns the University of Michigan Health System. Also, some people may have an allergic reaction to tea tree oil, so seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms like itching, inflammation, rash or difficulty breathing. Tea tree oil could have estrogen-like and testosterone-inhibiting effects, and in one study it caused breast enlargement in a group of boys, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Don't use tea tree oil before first talking with your doctor about these and other health dangers.