Although I normally publish a Peaceful Practice article on Fridays, I felt compelled to gather tips for natural ways to deal with tooth pain after both Juhea and I had dental work done this week. My mouth was rather sore this morning (from receiving shots in my gums), and I admit, this distracted me during my AM yoga practice—so much so that I gave up after 15 minutes (I know, I know…). Of course, yoga and breath work are ideal places to turn when you’re feeling frustrated and distracted, but I also felt that exploring additional remedies (as well as my hangups around the pain) deserved my attention, too.
I’ve been feeling so frustrated and anxious about this tooth pain because I’ve been trying to sort this tooth out for some time, and my impatience has been getting the better of me. About a month ago, I got an old filling replaced. The new filling was too high, and interfered with my bite, causing a shooting pain every time I chewed on that side of my mouth. I returned to the dentist’s office on two occasions to have the filling adjusted, and although it was starting to feel better, I ultimately had to have to the filling redone this week. I’ve since vowed to give that tooth’s nerve (nerves?) time to chill out and heal from the inflammation before trying to chew on that side of my mouth again. This little ordeal has been a lesson in finding the balance between being patient enough to let my body heal and speaking up when I sense that something needs to be addressed. (Right now I’m working on the patience part!) The following is a list of natural remedies for tooth pain that I will be using to show my mouth a little love.
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for tooth pain just as there is no single type or cause of tooth pain. Before trying any of these (temporary!) remedies, please make sure you’ve addressed the source of pain with your dentist and that he or she says it’s okay to use these remedies with your particular condition. Also, keep in mind that some remedies may not be appropriate if your tooth pain is caused by sensitivity to hot or cold substances.
1. Peppermint tea
Peppermint tea has a cooling, numbing effect, which may provide temporary respite from tooth pain. Prepare peppermint tea in boiling water. Allow it to steep for 10-20 minutes. Gently swish it around your mouth and spit it out or swallow it. (Given that peppermint tea can help soothe digestion, I say swallow it!)
2. Saltwater cleanse
This is one of the safest ways to care for a sore mouth. Salt water is also helpful for sanitizing the mouth and removing pus. Simply swish a salt water solution in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit. This can be done twice in a row if desired.
3. Black tea
Steep a black tea bag in hot water and then let it cool until it’s warm. Gently press the tea bag to the affected area. The tannins in the tea can help reduce swelling.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Fortunately, there’s an abundance of anti-inflammatory foods that can reduce inflammation in your entire body, including your mouth. Ginger, blueberries, beets, and broccoli are just a few of the anti-inflammatory superstars in the produce section. (And I can definitely see these being incorporated into a fresh smoothie or juice!).
A natural antibiotic, garlic may help fight bacteria in your mouth (but it won’t give you good breath–sorry). There are two ways to use garlic for a sore tooth. 1) Mash garlic with a pinch of salt, and apply the paste to the tooth. Allow it to sit for 30 seconds before rinsing. 2) Chew on a clove of garlic a few times a day.
6. Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
You can also brush your teeth with a naturally-sourced toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth like Tom’s of Main Maximum Strength Sensitive Toothpaste. The active, desensitizing ingredient in this toothpaste is potassium nitrate.
Icing a painful area in your mouth—or gently pressing a cool pack on your cheek–can temporarily numb a tooth pain.
8. Clove oil
Like peppermint tea, dabbing a bit of clove oil on the affected areas may temporarily numb the pain. Eugenol, a substance in clove oil is an antiseptic, antibacterial numbing agent. It’s worth noting that this method doesn’t taste particularly good. Avoid applying clove oil to any irritated or sensitive gums. I recommend trying a teeny-tiny test patch.
9. Soft foods
This seems like a no-brainer, but I failed to follow this advice and tried chomping on granola after having a filling retouched once (ouch!). Filling your plate (or bowl) with soft foods relieves teeth from the tremendous pressure of chewing, allowing inflammation caused by dental work to calm down. Use your tooth pain as an excuse to explore new smoothie and puréed soup recipes.
Did I miss any? Do you have any favorite natural remedies for tooth pain?
Related: 7 Ways to Get Whiter Teeth Naturally
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Photos: Peaceful Dumpling, Pexel’s, Tom’s of Main, Lauren Sacerdote