By dentist Dr. Richard Mitchell
If you've got a toothache, home remedies can seem attractive. But toothache home remedies are usually a temporary stop-gap to see you through until you can get to a dentist.
One of the favorite home remedies for toothache is clove oil. For toothache pain, however, you will need to see a dentist eventually! But these tips may help you if you cannot get out of the house, or get an appointment anytime soon.
But what toothache home remedies are there, that might buy you some time? Maybe you're in a strange town, or overseas on business, or just plain so busy with stuff in your life that you can't get to see a dentist for a day or two. Or longer.
Here are some suggestions that may help you out for a short time:
Now the tricky bit. First, rinse out your mouth vigorously with water, really swishing and sucking around the tooth, to wash out the cavity as best you can. You want to try and clean out any food debris left in there. Use warm water if your tooth is sensitive to cold.
After swishing out and spitting out, try to put the little cotton wool ball into the cavity. You may need to put it on the tooth with your fingers, then use your tongue to push it into the cavity. If you can do this, it will help to settle the tooth down for a while.
Now take it out of your mouth, and tear off a small piece. Now follow the instructions above for the clove oil. Once you've done that, pick up your little piece of chewing gum, and try to put it into the cavity, over the cotton wool.
Again, you may need to use your tongue to get it into place. Then you can bite down on it to push it all the way it. This will also help to protect the tooth against hot or cold things that might set it off.
This chewing gum trick is also useful if you have broken a tooth and have sharp edges or food packing. You don't need the clove oil in this case, just put the chewing gum straight over the broken bit.
Try to use less than you think you need. Most folk use too much, and it keeps coming out. Try a smaller amount - you can always add a bit more on top!
If you have a swollen gum, either around a wisdom tooth or around any other tooth, rinsing the area carefully with hot salty water can help. BUT you have to do it almost every hour for it to work.
Just put a small spoonful of normal salt into a cup of quite hot water, and then take a small mouthful. Swish it forcefully around the sore gum, to wash out any food debris that might be packed in there, and then spit out.
Do it again. Do this 4 - 5 times, then stop. Repeat the whole thing an hour later. If you can keep this up, it usually helps the gum to settle a bit.
For home use, always treat a swelling of the face with an ice pack. The quickest thing to hand is usually some sort of bag of frozen vegetables out of the freezer, like a bag of frozen peas. Only apply it over the swollen area for 8 minutes, with a thin cotton cloth between your skin and the cold bag. Otherwise you can cause ice damage to the skin. Wait 20 minutes before applying it again.
Painkillers. These can be divided into non-prescription painkillers that you can buy over the counter, and prescription painkillers that obviously need a prescription from a doctor or dentist.
I think the best non-prescription painkiller is one that contains ibuprofen. For a bad toothache, you could take 800mg every six hours, BUT only for a day or so. Then you need to cut the dose in half. You can, IN ADDITION, alternate the ibuprofen with 1000mg of Paracetamol. (The effervescent tablets work best.)
Still, for a quick remedy, it can work remarkably well, especially if you combine it with the clove oil for toothache trick as outlined above, sealed in with chewing gum.
For prescription painkillers, you will need to see a doctor or dentist; they will be able to examine you and recommend the best painkiller for your particular situation.
I hope these toothache home remedies might be of some use as a temporary "help". If one of them gets you through a difficult day or two, that's great. But no home remedies for toothache will solve the problem for good. You will need to see a dentist for that!