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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 357-358
Unexplored potential of essential oils in reducing SARS-CoV-2 viral load in dental clinics

Research Faculty, Dental Research Cell Department, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission28-Mar-2021
Date of Decision14-Mar-2021
Date of Acceptance24-Apr-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Jul-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Namrata Dagli
Dental Research Cell Department, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai 600077, Tamil Nadu.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_103_21

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How to cite this article:
Dagli N. Unexplored potential of essential oils in reducing SARS-CoV-2 viral load in dental clinics. J Int Soc Prevent Communit Dent 2021;11:357-8

How to cite this URL:
Dagli N. Unexplored potential of essential oils in reducing SARS-CoV-2 viral load in dental clinics. J Int Soc Prevent Communit Dent [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jul 6];11:357-8. Available from: https://www.jispcd.org/text.asp?2021/11/4/357/322667

Corona pandemic has affected all aspects of life, and dental practice is no exception to that. The major concern in closed dental clinical settings is the transmission of coronavirus through air droplets and dental unit waterlines. There is an increased risk of virus transmission in dental clinics through aerosol formation during various dental procedures.[1] Droplets of small size travel in the air and carry the virus with them, far from where they originated. Such an airborne virus can persist in the air for several hours, thus causing a potential risk of infection for dental professionals and patients.[2] Therefore, the only decontamination of surfaces is not sufficient to prevent the spread of SARS CoV-2 in dental clinics. Another concern is that patients and dental professionals are more anxious to go to dental clinics because of the fear of getting infected with SARS CoV-2, and hence stress and risk of infection need greater attention in dental clinics during this pandemic.

Essential oils (EOs) have gained a lot of attention during the past decades, and many clinical trials have confirmed antibacterial[3] and antiviral effects[4] in addition to their property in alleviating anxiety, depression, nausea, etc. Studies show that EOs inhibit various types of viruses such as influenza virus, human herpesviruses, human immunodeficiency virus, yellow fever virus, and avian influenza.[5] Another study found that carvacrol inhibits SARC-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) and thus can prevent viral replication.[6] Few EOs such as geranium and lemon EOs and their major compounds (i.e., citronellol, geraniol, limonene, linalool, etc.) could prevent viral infection by downregulating angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression in epithelial cells, thus preventing the virus from entering into host cells.[7] Saikosaponin B2 inhibits viral (HCoV-229E) attachment to cells, blocks penetration into cells, and hinders viral replication at the initial stage.[8] The use of EOs extracted from Eucalyptus and Corymbia species, and eucalyptol, their main bioactive compound, may inhibit Mpro.[9] Ursolic acid, carvacrol, and oleanolic acid too were found to act as potential inhibitors of Mpro. It was found that both tea tree oils showed an antiviral activity in aerosol form too.[10] EOs may act synergistically with other antiviral agents and may provide symptomatic relief in mild cases of COVID-19.[4] Data suggest that EOs may be useful in managing the anxiety of patients as well as in reducing SARS-CoV-2 viral load in closed clinical settings. More studies are required to discover the effective concentration of EOs required to inactivate aerosol form of SARS-CoV-2, when used in a diffuser (i.e., electric devices that turn aromatic oils into diffused mists) and in dental unit waterlines. EOs may cause allergic reactions including asthma and rhinitis in allergic patients; therefore, safety and efficacy data need to be established before using it in clinical settings.[11]

Some studies showed that the docking energies are less likely to interact with the virus targets as they were found to be relatively weak when tested for the individual components. However, this can be explained by the fact that EOs are a complex mixture of various components that may act synergistically. A study has shown that the antiviral activity of EO is much greater than the activity of individual components.[12]

The efficacy of vaccines for the coronavirus at present is not clear because of the reason that new viral strains are constantly evolving through mutations. Therefore, there is a need to think in a new dimension and to explore new chemicals that can inhibit the virus or reduce its transmission. EOs can serve as natural antivirals. However, many studies have confirmed the antiviral effects of EOs, but very scarce data are available related to its use in reducing airborne virus transmission when used as a diffuser and in dental unit waterlines. More research is needed to establish its safety and efficacy in clinical settings.


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Ethical policy and institutional review board statement

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Data availability statement

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   References Top

Jain M, Mathur A, Mathur A, Mukhi PU, Ahire M, Pingal C. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of bacterial aerosols in dental clinical settings: Risk exposure towards dentist, auxiliary staff, and patients. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:1003-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
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Morawska L, Johnson G, Ristovski Z, Hargreaves M, Mengersen K, Corbett S. Size distribution and sites of origin of droplets expelled from the human respiratory tract during expiratory activities. J Aerosol Sci 2009;40:256-69.  Back to cited text no. 2
Dagli N, Dagli R, Mahmoud RS, Baroudi K. Essential oils, their therapeutic properties, and implication in dentistry: A review. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent 2015;5:335-40.  Back to cited text no. 3
Silva JKRD, Figueiredo PLB, Byler KG, Setzer WN. Essential oils as antiviral agents. Potential of essential oils to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection: An in-silico investigation. Int J Mol Sci 2020;21:3426.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ma L, Yao L. Antiviral effects of plant-derived essential oils and their components: An updated review. Molecules 2020;25:2627.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kumar A, Choudhir G, Shukla SK, Sharma M, Tyagi P, Bhushan A, et al. Identification of phytochemical inhibitors against main protease of COVID-19 using molecular modeling approaches. J Biomol Struct Dyn 2021;39:3760-70.  Back to cited text no. 6
Senthil Kumar KJ, Gokila Vani M, Wang CS, Chen CC, Chen YC, Lu LP, et al. Geranium and lemon essential oils and their active compounds downregulate angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain, in epithelial cells. Plants (Basel) 2020;9:770.  Back to cited text no. 7
Cheng PW, Ng LT, Chiang LC, Lin CC. Antiviral effects of saikosaponins on human coronavirus 229E in vitro. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 2006;33:612-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
Panikar S, Shoba G, Arun M, Sahayarayan JJ, Nanthini AUR, Chinnathambi A, et al. Essential oils as an effective alternative for the treatment of COVID-19: Molecular interaction analysis of protease (Mpro) with pharmacokinetics and toxicological properties. J Infect Public Health 2021;14: 601-10.  Back to cited text no. 9
Pyankov O, Usachev EV, Pyankova O, Agranovski IE. Inactivation of airborne influenza virus by tea tree and eucalyptus oils. Aerosol Sci Technol 2012;46:1295-302.  Back to cited text no. 10
Gibbs JE. Essential oils, asthma, thunderstorms, and plant gases: A prospective study of respiratory response to ambient biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs). J Asthma Allergy 2019;12:169-82.  Back to cited text no. 11
Astani A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P. Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytother Res 2010;24:673-9.  Back to cited text no. 12


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