If you’re suffering with a toothache, you need relief — and fast. But what if you don’t want to resort to anti-inflammatory medications? Or maybe you even want to try and rebuild your tooth naturally, rather than get it drilled and filled by the dentist?
What’s that? Teeth can heal themselves? Although not a theory that is promoted by mainstream dental organizations, many holistic health experts maintain that teeth, just like bones in the rest of the body, are able to heal from infections and cavities when provided with the correct raw materials.
In this article we will explore the best ways to address both acute tooth pain, and also maintain long-term dental and gum health. We will focus on natural, holistic methods that support the innate healing mechanisms of the body.
Natural treatment for acute tooth pain
If you have an oral infection or dental injury that has reached the nerves within the tooth, immediate pain relief and damage control will be necessary. Here are some natural remedies to try:
Clove oil is one of the most time-honored and widely used dental remedies. Thanks to its bacteria-killing abilities and surface numbing properties, clove oil tops the list for fast dental pain relief. One of the active constituents, eugenol, is acknowledged by modern science as a local anesthetic. Clove oil is “hot,” so it may feel uncomfortable at first. Diluting a few drops of clove oil in some olive or coconut oil is a good way to get a gentle application. Applying clove essential oil to a cotton ball or piece of cloth and biting down on it can also work.
A spicy paste made of powdered ginger and cayenne pepper can bring down tooth pain and infection. Just mix about a quarter of a teaspoon of ginger powder with a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper. Add a few drops of coconut oil and mix into a paste. Apply directly to your tooth or use a cotton swab for better accuracy. Similarly, juice squeezed from some fresh ginger root can be used to relieve pain.
A number of essential oils hold great promise for numbing tooth pain. Peppermint is anti-inflammatory and also provides a cooling effect, which can be welcome on a throbbing and painful infection site. Use this essential oil by adding a few drops to half a teaspoon of coconut oil to dilute it. Try this gentler solution first — you can always add more essential oil if you want the effect to be stronger.
Frankincense and myrrh essential oils are also good options to try. While you might recognize these names as the gifts that the Three Wise Men brought to Baby Jesus millennia ago, these valuable natural oils are not to be forgotten! Both of these tree resin oils have excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Myrrh is also antibacterial. Try making a powerful tooth-healing mouthwash by mixing several drops of each oil into two cups of filtered water. Keep the mixture in a jar and swish around your mouth as many times a day as needed to provide relief. This treatment is equally helpful for both tooth issues and gum conditions.
You may have heard of oregano oil or tea tree oil for infections and to boost the immune system. Both of these essential oils make a great treatment for tooth pain too. A few drops of oil can be applied directly to the site of the pain with a cotton swab — just be careful as it will cause a burning sensation if it comes into contact with the gums.
Oil pulling is a great way to make use of the benefits of coconut oil along with essential oils. Coconut oil itself is antibacterial and antifungal. Simply take two tablespoons of coconut oil into your mouth and swish around for 10 to 20 minutes without swallowing. Optionally add a few drops of essential oils like oregano, clove, frankincense, myrrh or peppermint, to increase the medicinal power of this treatment. As a side benefit, oil pulling can also be used to whiten teeth naturally.
A few herbal extracts are excellent for treating tooth and gum conditions. Try tinctures or extracts of common plantain (a weed you can find in your backyard), goldenseal or neem. All of these herbs are antibacterial and antimicrobial, helping to stimulate the immune system to ward off the infection that is causing the pain.
Perhaps the simplest solution to try is good old warm salt water. Start by stirring a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water until it has dissolved. Use as a mouthwash, concentrating on the painful area. Salt is antiseptic and should help resolve swelling and pain. This harmless treatment can be used as often as you like throughout the day.
While these treatments can help quell infection and inflammation and relieve pain in the short term, you shouldn’t delay seeing a dental health professional that you trust in order to prevent further damage.
You may be able to prevent your next run-in with the dentist by using the ideas discussed below to maintain and rebuild dental health.
Building long-term dental health naturally
We all know that consuming excessive amounts of sugar causes tooth decay, but what about the other side of the story? What about foods that support and promote healthy teeth?
Holistic dental research indicates that whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats can help teeth stay healthy and even rebuild them if damage occurs. A vital balance must be maintained where the teeth are able to receive enough raw materials from the body to stay in an anabolic state (one where the teeth continue to regenerate rather than degrade).
Some of the nutrients that are most important for healthy teeth include vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin K2. These are the fat-soluble vitamins, and they must be consumed with fat in order to be digested and used by the body. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are also critical for cavity-free teeth. Foods that support tooth health include oily fish, leafy greens, organ meats, grass-fed butter and homemade organic broths. Using supplements such as fermented cod liver oil and magnesium citrate spray are also good ways to get those important nutrients.
In addition to a healthy diet rich in the raw building blocks needed for a robust set of teeth, preventative maintenance is a great idea. Many of the steps you can take to prevent tooth problems are reflected in the remedies above. For example, try making your own toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda and essential oils. You can even add trace mineral drops to provide more minerals for your teeth. Performing a daily salt water rinse or daily oil pulling are both great ways to fend off any problems or infections before they occur.
A pain-free mouth might be something we take for granted on a daily basis, but you can ensure that great feeling lasts by using nutrition and natural remedies.
—The Alternative Daily