The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy of an essential oils mouth rinse and dental floss on dental plaque accumulation and gingivitis in interproximal areas.


With informed consent, a parallel randomized controlled clinical trial was developed with 60 third-year dental hygiene students, randomly divided into two non-blind groups of 30 individuals each. For a period of 2 weeks, one group used an essential oils mouth rinse, according to manufacturer’s instructions, and the other group flossed twice a day. Both groups received a toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste for home dental hygiene care. A baseline dental hygiene appointment consisted of tooth scaling, prophylaxis and collection of the study data, using the Lobene modified gingival index; Saxton & Ouderaa gingival bleeding index and the Quigley & Hein modified by Turesky dental plaque index.


At baseline, there was no significant difference between the groups for interproximal gingival inflammation (P = .214), gingival bleeding (P = .829) and dental plaque accumulation (P = .860). After 2 weeks of treatment, no significant differences were found between the essential oils mouth rinse and dental flossing for reduction of interproximal gingival inflammation (= .938) and bleeding (P = .307). Essential oils mouth rinse showed to be significantly better than dental flossing in reducing interproximal dental plaque accumulation (P = .006).


The use of an essential oils mouth rinse may be advised, as a complement, for patients unable to floss effectively, as it is more effective in reducing interproximal dental plaque accumulation than dental floss.

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