A toothache always seems to strike at the most inopportune time — during the night, over a holiday, at work. Whether it is an abscess, a cavity, or loose filling, the resulting pain can bring life to an instant halt. While there is no immediate cure for toothaches other than visiting the dentist, here are some natural remedies that can provide relief.
Bacteria Killers and Anti-Inflammatories
Bacteria are responsible for the production of acids in the mouth. They thrive on starchy and sweet food and can eventually work their way to the nerve of a tooth, causing throbbing pain. Some common foods have anti-bacterial characteristics. They act as natural antibacterial agents and a toothache remedy.
Cinnamon is an aromatic spice that has been used for centuries as a traditional herbal medicine. It acts as both an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It can be used as a poultice by combining five teaspoons of honey with one teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Mix well and apply to an aching tooth several times a day. This combination can help deaden the nerve in a painful tooth.
Clove, in oil form, is one of the most popular natural treatments for toothache. The spice contains eugenol, a liquid compound used in perfumes and as a dental antiseptic. One effective toothache remedy is to apply the clove oil as a compress. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil with a few drops of clove essential oil. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and apply it directly to the painful tooth. Clove oil is used in a mixture dentists prepare for tooth restoration. It has a sedative effect on dental pulp, effectively reducing pain. Clove oil can be applied up to three times a day.
Peppermint was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, mostly to flavor their foods, but also for medicinal purposes. In American folklore it became popular as an anesthetic and antiseptic. As a cure for toothaches it can be used in any of three ways: the leaves of the peppermint plant can be chewed; a cotton ball soaked in peppermint essential oil can be rubbed on the affected tooth; or a mouthwash can be prepared by adding two to three drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water.
Turmeric powder can be massaged directly into the gum of a sore tooth, or one teaspoon can be mixed into a paste with 1/2 a teaspoon of water and applied to the tooth. This can be repeated as often as necessary. Turmeric, an anti-inflammatory and an antibacterial, is an ingredient in a number of natural toothpaste products. One research study found turmeric to be as effective as ibuprofen for pain relief.
Home Toothache Solutions in a Pinch
If none of the previous ingredients are in the kitchen cabinet, or it is the middle of the night, grab one of these instant pain relievers for a toothache remedy.
Ice cubes can be effective either in an ice pack or as a compress. Ice is useful if there is swelling from a possible abscess or injury. Place the ice pack on the cheek or wrap a few loose ice cubes in a clean towel and press on the face. This compress should be applied for about 20 minutes. If gums are red, or there is a fever, it is likely an infection is present. An appointment to see the dentist promptly is recommended.
A warm salt water gargle can be prepared in just a few minutes. Heat one cup of water in the microwave until warm. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons of salt, stir to dissolve and swish in the mouth for about 30 seconds, then spit out. The salt water will decrease the pressure on nerve endings, draw fluid from the tissues and diminish the swelling. Repeat as needed.
Tea bags are a simple and quick cure for toothaches. The key is to choose a tea with a high tannin content, like black or green tea. Tannin is a substance present in plants that is antimicrobial and helps reduce swelling. To prepare the application, microwave the tea bag in a small amount of water for about 30 seconds, or until warm. Squeeze the majority of water out of the bag and apply it inside the mouth, around the painful tooth. Keep the mouth closed to retain the heat of the tea bag.
Any of these natural remedies should help reduce the pain and inflammation of a toothache temporarily, but toothaches do not heal themselves. It is always wise to have an evaluation at the dentist’s office. Tooth problems can escalate without professional treatment, and time can make matters worse.