If you have a young child, you may be surprised that they can safely benefit from many of the same essential oils that adults use for health care and mental relaxation. You can even add essential oils to your child's daily oral hygiene routine for healthier teeth and gums as they grow. However, children need smaller doses than adults and many essential oils are too strong to use even in small doses. Here are three essential oils that are considered safe for children and how you can use them to improve your child's oral health.
Tea tree oil is a strong antiseptic oil. It is commonly used for bad breath, plaque, gingivitis, and to soothe cavities until you can get to the dentist.
Perhaps the most common way to use tea tree oil is in homemade toothpaste. For adults, 3-5 drops of tea tree oil are usually added to 2 tablespoons of toothpaste. If your child will be using the toothpaste you will want to reduce the amount to 2-3 drops. Alternatively, you can dilute 2-3 drops in 2 tablespoons of water for your child to use as a mouthwash. In either of these applications, it is important that your child spits out the essential oil and does not swallow it. If your child is still too young to remember to spit all of their toothpaste or mouthwash, you should supervise them closely or skip the tea tree oil until they are a bit older.
Another great use of tea tree oil is to reduce pain associated with cavities until you can see your dentist. To do this, wet the end of a cotton swab with water and add one drop of tea tree oil. Then, apply the swab directly to the hurting tooth and the gum below it. This should cause tingling or a slight numbness, but if your child complains of burning, have them rinse their mouth and apply a cooking oil, such as olive oil, to the area to help diffuse the remaining oil.
Lavender is known to increase circulation, which can help keep your child's gums strong. It can be used in toothpastes and rinses in the same amounts as you would use tea tree oil. However, in children you should use one or the other and avoid combining the two. Since lavender has a less bitter taste than tea tree oil, your child may prefer it.
Another great use for lavender is to help your child relax before, during, and after dentist appointments. If your child is anxious about visiting the dentist, mix 5-10 drops of lavender in 2 cups of water and lightly spray a headband or handkerchief with the mixture. This type of aroma therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing general anxiety.
Chamomile oil is an antiseptic that has anti-inflammatory and calming properties. It can be used on a daily basis to promote healthy teeth and gums, or it can be used after dental procedures to reduce pain associated with inflammation.
If your child is old enough to reliably spit their toothpaste out, you may want to get them started with oil pulling. This detoxifies your child and strengthens their teeth. While an adult may do oil pulling twice a day, a child will only need to do it a couple of times a week. If your child does oil pulling before bed, add 2-3 drops of roman chamomile to their oil to protect their gums and help get them ready for a good night of sleep.
As a parent, you have many options regarding the oral health care of your child. If you want to start using essential oils, you should talk to your dentist to create a plan regarding the best oils for your particular child.
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