Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, has been used for medicinal purposes for many years. It can be used for antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and cosmetic benefits. Tea tree oil has certain chemicals called terpenoids that have antiseptic and antifungal properties. It is an essential oil that is acquired by steam distillation of the leaves from an Australian plant called the Melaleuca alternifolia. Originally, the leaves were used as a tea substitute, which is how tea tree oil got its name.
Tea Tree Oil Uses
Tea tree leaves were originally used for healing skin ailments, scrapes, insect bites, skin spots, cuts, infections, and burns by crushing the leaves and applying them to the area in need. Tea tree oil has been used for conditions such as acne, athlete's foot, dandruff, nail fungus, vaginitis, thrush, periodontal disease, boils, lice, eczema, psoriasis, yeast infections, and as a general antiseptic. It is also used often in creams, ointments, soaps, lotions, and shampoos.
Tea Tree Oil for Bad Breath
Tea tree oil can actually be used to help stop bad breath. Many toothpastes and oral products use tea tree oil in their formulas. Sometimes it is even used in mouthwash and other solutions for stopping bad breath.
Why is tea tree oil used in halting halitosis? Well, it has antifungal and antiseptic qualities meaning that it can attack fungi and bacteria that feed on food particles left in the mouth. The antiseptic property is mainly what makes it effective for preventing bad breath.
Studies have shown that tea tree oil being used for bad breath is safe, since it is a 100% natural product. It is environmentally friendly since it is obtained from a renewable natural resource, and the tea trees are not disturbed and are allowed to survive.
However, there are unfavorable effects of tea tree oil for halitosis, and researchers recommend that you should go to the dentist and have a professional decide if tea tree oil would be appropriate for you to use to combat bad breath. Tea tree oil may not totally get rid of plague, and it can also cause allergies, even if the chance of this occurring is low. It may possibly alter hormone levels or cause allergic reactions. Reactions are common with pure tea tree oil, so it is usually diluted when used; however, it can also cause irritation when diluted. It also should not be used if one is pregnant or breastfeeding.
Tea Tree Oil for Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease / Gingivitis)
Not only can tea tree oil help with halitosis, but it can even have antibiotic qualities and help heal gum infections. It can treat severe chronic gingivitis (gum disease / periodontal disease) and bleeding gums as they deeply penetrate to the skin. This is one of the main reasons a dentist would tell a patient to use toothpaste that contains tea tree oil for treating bad breath.
In order to get rid of gingivitis, you can use the tea tree oil by using one drop on top of your normal toothpaste on your toothbrush whenever you brush your teeth. It has a numbing effect and strong taste that will dissipate within five minutes. Never swallow the oil, do not use more than one drop, and wait around 15 minutes before drinking or eating. After a few weeks of using the tea tree oil, the gums should return to normal. One should also avoid sugary foods and drinks. If there are no results after a month, you could be suffering from a deeper infection in your body and should see a doctor/dentist for further help.
Tea Tree Oil can be used against the follow bacteria/fungi:
Gram Positive bacteria: Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA), Staphyloccus epidermidis, Staphyloccus pneumoniae, Staphyloccus faecalis, Staphyloccus pyrogenes, Staphyloccus agalactiae, Propioni-bacterium acnes, Betahaemolytic streptococcus.
Gram Negative bacteria: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniac, Citrobactor ssp, Shigella sonnei, Proteus mirabilis (urinary tract infections), Legionella ssp, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Fungi: Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton rubrum, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Candida albicans, Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, Thermoactinomycetes vulgaris.
Source: Alt Medicine
As with anything, caution should be taken when using tea tree oil.