Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS
The fear is real. Research has identified anxiousness caused by dental visits as one of the primary influences in the declining state of oral health.1 In fact, up to 40 million Americans avoid the dentist for this very reason.2 Dental professionals have stated that one of their main responsibilities is helping patients overcome this fear and anxiousness, which could increase regular and scheduled exams, decrease discomfort, and ultimately improve outcomes for oral health.2 From both the patient and dental professional standpoint, essential oils are an effective way to address this issue.
Essential Oil Usage
While there are many things that can be done in the dental office to decrease anxiousness and essential oil diffusion is becoming an increasingly popular component of the dental office experience, it all starts at home. One of the most researched properties of essential oils are their ability to influence moods and emotions. So, get out your Oil Chemistry Wheel and spin it until you get to the “Calming” section. Featuring monoterpene alcohols and esters, these eight oils are well-researched for the ability to calm emotions. Oils rich in linalool or linalyl acetate, such as Lavender or Bergamot, may help to promote feelings of calmness and relaxation.3 This effect can be experienced from both aromatic and internal use. Diffuse your favorite calming oil 30 minutes before heading to an appointment, directly inhale from the bottle in the waiting room, or try adding a 1-2 drops of Bergamot to a glass of water or Veggie Cap.
Calming oils aren’t the only option. Interestingly, research into the effects of some of the “Uplifting” oils suggests that, when used aromatically, they may provide similar benefits. A randomized controlled clinical trial study examined the effects of orange essential oil on parameters of stress in children during dental treatment.4 Researchers found that when orange essential oil was diffused in the room during treatment, children exhibited lower levels of measurable stress. Just before entering the exam room, take a few seconds and put a drop or two of Wild Orange essential oil between your hands and inhale deeply.
If you like the internal approach but don’t like the flavor of any calming oils and don’t have any Veggie Caps around, try doTERRA Serenity® Restful Complex Softgels. The clinically tested natural sleep product is also effective at calming the nervous system and reducing stress.* Take 1-2 softgels about 30 minutes before the scheduled dental visit; if the visit includes some form of treatment, be sure to inform the dentist beforehand.
AromaTouch Hand Technique
Another great way to address the fear of dental visits is with the AromaTouch Technique®. Although a full AromaTouch Technique can brighten (or calm) anybody’s day, in this case, a quick hand technique right before the scheduled appointment is probably the best method. Just make sure to have a few of your favorite oils on hand. And guess what? doTERRA scientists are in the midst of a human clinical trial investigating the effects of the AromaTouch Technique on biological markers of anxiety and stress. We’ll be sure to provide the results as soon as they are published so you can bring them to your dentist.
Fear is one of the most common reasons people avoid the dentist, but with a little knowledge and a few of your favorite CPTG® essential oils, you can calmly get the dental treatment you need to promote lifelong oral health.
doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary and further research is needed to gain greater understanding of the findings. Some articles offer multiple views on general health topics and are not the official position of doTERRA. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to diet or exercise.