A recent study in the November/December 2006 issue of General Dentistry examined mouthrinses containing essential oils and the effects they have on restorative materials in the mouth. Restorative materials studied in this article included amalgams, glass ionomers, and composite resins.

The authors subjected these materials to continuous exposure to mouth-rinses and distilled water for 10 days. The materials were placed in mouthguards that had three holes, each of which contained a specimen of each type of restorative material. Volunteer patients wore the mouthguards 12 hours per day for 10 days. The patients rinsed twice daily with a commercial mouthrinse and after the 10 days, the materials were removed from the devices and were inspected. Strength and appearance of the materials were observed and compared.

The study found that even long-term exposure to a mouthrinse containing essential oils has a minimal effect on the strength or surface of dental restorations of any kind.

According to J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, PhD, the lead author of the study, this is a positive finding since patients are often concerned that rinsing the mouth with alcohol-containing mouthwashes could affect their fillings.

However, because many mouthrinses do contain a wide variety of ingredients, von Fraunhofer is looking to see whether they may have an effect on dentures and even orthodontic appliances. These studies are in progress and are yielding some interesting information. He says he will report his findings to General Dentistry as they become available.

[www.sciencedaily.com, January 11, 2007]