Natural Toothache Relief
If you can’t take Advil (and many people can’t, so check with your doctor), there are several natural methods you can use to reduce the pain.
Salt Rinse: Rinse with my super-saturated salt rinse. Here’s how you make it: Pour a glass of warm to hot water (boiling temperature not necessary) and slowly stir in either Himalayan or dead sea salt (here’s the one I use – I find it dissolves best if you get extra-fine grain) until you see salt crystals at the bottom that are no longer dissolving. Rinse with this solution 4-5 times daily to reduce inflammation and contract the tissues. This rinse is especially effective with gum pain and foreign body response to something like a poppy seed stuck in between the gums.
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Clove Oil: Clove is an essential oil that may provide pain relief as strong as benzocaine (The Journal of Dentistry, 2006). The active ingredient is eugenol, which, although occurring in nature, has safety concerns according to the EWG. Most health food stores have clove oil for a few dollars a bottle. The brand I like to use is the Now brand. To use it, apply a very small amount to a cotton swab or piece of tissue and apply gently to the affected area. This works well if there is an exposed nerve due to a deep cavity. Specific placement of the clove oil is crucial for success—it will only work if you place the oil near the pulpal tissue (the inner substance of the tooth).
Grab a Pillow: Keep your head elevated at all times. For sleep, stay elevated with a wedge-shaped pillow like this one or by stacking several pillows. When you drop your head to the level of your heart by lying down, blood supply gradients to your head change making swelling and pain worse.
Keep the Area Cold: Frozen peas or a plastic Ziploc bag with half water and half ice works great as well. A wrap like this one lets you apply ice consistently to the area without having to hold it up to your face.