Common causes of tooth pain are tooth decay, infected gums, an abscessed tooth, a damaged filling, an exposed tooth root, a cracked tooth and repetitive motions such as chewing gum or grinding your teeth. Sometimes, the pain can be caused by a problem not originating from a tooth, such as an ear infection or sinusitis. If the cause is clearly related to a tooth problem, visit your dentist as soon as you can. If the cause may be related to chewing too much gum, stop chewing gum until the pain stops then ease up on it. If you grind your teeth and can’t stop, visit your dentist because he has ways to help you stop. If you are suffering from an ear infection or sinus problem, you will need to treat it. If the cause is not apparent and the pain does not go away after a day or two, make an appointment to see your dentist. The following are natural ways to treat toothache pain until the pain subsides or until you are able to visit the dentist.
Ice has an excellent numbing effect but you do not want to apply it directly to the tooth. Instead, crush some ice, wrap it in a washcloth and apply to the skin outside the affected area.
You can also rub an ice cube on the V-shaped area between your forefinger and thumb (known as the “hoku point”) until the area goes numb. This treatment to stop tooth pain was developed by Dr. Ronald Melzack, a well-known pain researcher.
Salt can soothe the ache and reduce swelling in the gums. Mix 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt in a glass of warm water, swish in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit out.
Clove oil, a natural pain killer and antiseptic, contains a component called eugenol. In the U.S., dentists use eugenol extracts in conjunction with temporary fillings, root canal therapy and general gum pain. Soak a wad of cotton in the oil, wring it out and place on the tooth. Be careful to not swallow a mouthful of clove oil because it can make you sick to your stomach.
Prepare a cup of chamomile tea. You can use a tea bag or 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers. Steep for 10 minutes. Soak a washcloth in the tea, wring it out and apply to the skin on the outside area of the affected tooth. When the washcloth becomes cold, re-dip it in warm tea and reapply as needed to draw out the pain.
Prepare a strong cup of sage tea. You can use a couple of tea bags or 2 teaspoons of dried sage. Steep for 10 minutes. When warm, put some tea in your mouth, hold it in your mouth for 30 seconds then swallow. Repeat until the tea is gone.
Cayenne and Garlic
Cayenne will initially add to the pain, but within seconds it should stop it. Apply a few grains of cayenne pepper to the tooth and gum.
Hippocrates recommended garlic as a remedy for an aching tooth. Crush a clove of garlic (it must be crushed to release the healing properties) and place it inside your mouth, next to the tooth. Some will use both garlic and clove oil.
These two natural ways to treat toothache pain may cause an unbearable burning sensation in some people so use caution. Always wash your hands with soap after touching cayenne and garlic so you don’t accidentally get it in your eyes.
If you are having tooth pain due to a dental procedure, consult your dentist about pain management.
Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen, Bottom Line’s Healing Remedies (2006)
Uncommon Cures for Everyday Ailments (from the editors of Bottom Line/Health) 2006
Photo by Nielsson / Flickr
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