Tonight I saw some tea tree oil antiseptic mouthwash in a store. Does Melaleuca alternifolia oil actually kill the bacteria that cause cavities? Yes, and quickly with lasting results! Here’s a study:
… 0.5% tea tree oil resulted in a greater than 3 log decrease in viable cells after only 30 seconds treatment. Also, after 5 and 10 minutes, viable cells could not be recovered from these treatments. Less killing was evident when S. mutans cells were treated with 0.12 and 0.25% tea tree oil. Time kill studies conducted with an isolate of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a species also associated with dental caries, showed that L. rhamnosus was killed rapidly at both 0.5 and 1% tea tree oil, but less rapidly at 0.25%. Studies with these two species showed that tea tree oil exerts a relatively rapid killing effect. This in turn suggests that if tea tree oil was used in a mouthwash formulation it may be effective in reducing the numbers of S. mutans, L. rhamnosus or other bacteria within the mouth.” – rirdc | Confirmed : Oral Microbiol Immunol 2003: 18: 389?392
Another interesting comparison. I was once perscribed Chlorhexidine, but when I read the warnings, I opted out. This looks promising. I wonder if there are any bad effects from 1% tea tree oil?
RESULTS: Chlorhexidine and garlic groups showed antimicrobial activity against mutans streptococci, but not against other oral microorganisms. The tea tree oil group showed antimicrobial activity against mutans streptococci and other oral microorganisms. Maintenance of reduced levels of microorganisms was observed only for garlic and tea tree oil during the two consecutive weeks (fourth and fifth). Unpleasant taste (chlorhexidine 40%, tea tree oil 30%, garlic 100%), burning sensation (chlorhexidine 40%, tea tree oil 60%, garlic 100%), bad breath (chlorhexidine 40%, tea tree oil 20%, garlic 90%), and nausea (chlorhexidine 0%, tea tree oil 10%, garlic 30%) were reported. CONCLUSION: Garlic and tea tree oil might be an alternative to chlorhexidine. – Int Dent J. 2002 Dec;52(6):433-7
An Austrailian University research group says “The component terpinen-4-ol is the most abundant (minimum 30%) and is said to be responsible for most of the antimicrobial activity.” Dangers: One kid drank some tea tree oil and went into shock. Was it contaminated with pesticides or did he just have an allergic reaction? Buy .5% to 2% organic tea tree oil mouthwash if you can find it, just don’t swallow it.