Objectives: (i) To assess reduction in Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus species count in saliva sample after ten minutes of oil gum massage therapy (massage of gingival tissues) per day for three weeks with sesame oil, olive oil, and coconut oil in three different groups of subjects. (ii) To compare the efficacy between three different oils and the "gold standard" chlorhexidine gel. (iii) To assess reduction in gingival scores and plaque scores of study subjects.
Materials and methods: Study design - Single center, parallel design, and triple blind randomized clinical study with four treatment groups.
Participants: 32 of the 40 study subjects working as housekeeping personnel at Kasturba Hospital, Manipal; aged 18-55 years completed the three-week study period.
Interventions: Subjects were randomly assigned to massage their gingiva everyday for three weeks with sesame oil, olive oil, coconut oil (tests), and Chlorhexidine gel (control). Oral health status and paraffin stimulated saliva samples were obtained at baseline and after three weeks of oil gum massage therapy.
Outcome measures: Microbial culture, plaque index, and gingival index.
Statistical analysis: Paired t test and Kruskal Wallis test.
Results: There was a significant reduction in mean Streptococcus mutans count, Lactobacillus count, plaque scores, and gingival scores in all four groups after the study. However, there was no significant difference found in percentage reduction of these variables between the four groups.
Conclusion: These oils can be used as valuable preventive agents in maintaining and improving oral health in low socioeconomic status population. However, it is recommended that further research should be conducted in other populations with a larger sample and longer duration of follow-up period.
Keywords: Chlorhexidine gel; gum massage; oils; oral microorganisms; randomized clinical trial.