The effects of a tea tree oil-containing gel on plaque and chronic gingivitis

Aust Dent J. 2004 Jun;49(2):78-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2004.tb00054.x.


Background: [corrected] This clinical study assessed the effects of topically applied tea tree oil (TTO)-containing gel on dental plaque and chronic gingivitis.

Methods: This was a double-blind, longitudinal, non-crossover study in 49 medically fit non-smokers (24 males and 25 females) aged 18-60 years with severe chronic gingivitis. Subjects were randomly assigned to three groups and given either TTO-gel (2.5 per cent), chlorhexidine (CHX) gel (0.2 per cent), or a placebo gel to apply with a toothbrush twice daily. Treatment effects were assessed using the Gingival Index (GI), Papillary Bleeding Index (PBI) and plaque staining score (PSS) at four and eight weeks.

Results: No adverse reactions to any of the gels were reported. The data were separated into subsets by tooth (anterior and posterior) and tooth surface (buccal and lingual). The TTO group had significant reduction in PBI and GI scores. However,,TTO did not reduce plaque scores, which tended to increase over the latter weeks of the study period.

Conclusion: Although further studies are required, the anti-inflammatory properties of TTO-containing gel applied topically to inflamed gingival tissues may prove to be a useful non-toxic adjunct to chemotherapeutic periodontal therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Chlorhexidine / administration & dosage
  • Chlorhexidine / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control*
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gels
  • Gingivitis / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodontal Index
  • Placebos
  • Tea Tree Oil / administration & dosage
  • Tea Tree Oil / therapeutic use*
  • Toothbrushing


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Gels
  • Placebos
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Chlorhexidine