Home Remedy for Toothache
Todd Luger, LAc
Over the years I have discovered a number of herbs and other
natural substances that can be very helpful with managing tooth
pain. Keep in mind that the advice that follows is for what
we call in the trade "self-limited" conditions. In other
words, these remedies can help manage pain and inflammation in
conditions short of those needing professional medical attention.
Any dental condition that involves high fever, extreme pain, seems
to be worsening rapidly or doesn't improve in one week should
not be treated with a home remedy for toothache. Of particular
concern is pain that worsens at night or sensitivity to heat.
This indicates an abscess may be forming. Since
few conditions are as painful as a dental abscess, these are best
nipped in the bud.
For milder conditions, a combination of the following
items used on a regular basis can be very helpful as part of a
home remedy for toothache. First, a calendula toothpaste
such as Weleda brand seems to be very preventive in nature. Calendula
has a long history of being used for the gums and teeth. Myrrh
toothpastes are another option. Both of these herbs have astringent
and antibacterial effects. A few drops of tea tree oil extract
can be infused in water or put into a water pik. Cleansing the
mouth with this solution can give rapid relief to inflamed gums.
It is a very potent antibacterial. Thursday Plantation brand is
very high quality.
Echinacea, the well known immune stimulant used for colds
and flus actually has a very long history of use for pain and
have found it quite reliable as a home remedy for toothache
due to its various traditionally observed actions. The most effective
form seems to be a standardized extract in capsules from Nature's
Plus or equivalent. Symptoms should lessen after a day at 1-2
capsules up to four times per day. But it is safe to take the
dose for up to a week. Goldenseal, frequently combined
with echinacea in cold formulas is also useful as a home remedy
for toothache due to its antibacterial properties. Nature's Plus
or Eclectic Institute are commonly available brands. Two capsules
up to 4 times per day should be adequate.
Finally, willow bark can be useful for pain management.
Nature's Plus makes a good standardized extract in both liquid
and capsules. Take 2 capsules up to four times per day. As many
people know, willow bark is a source of salicylic acid, the molecular
basis upon which aspirin is created. It has mild anti-inflammatory
and analgesic effects. However unlike aspirin, willow bark has
minimal effect on blood circulation. While this may seem to be
a moot point when looking for a home remedy for toothache, Chinese
medicine may have another perspective.
In Chinese medicine, acute pain and the tendency to develop painful
conditions are both attributed to something called blood stagnation.
Blood stagnation is treated with "blood moving" herbs.
In fact, all herbs that treat sharp pain in Chinese medicine are
said to move blood. According to medical theory, moving the blood
does not just relieve the symptoms of pain, but can sometimes
cure the problem altogether (if it is self-limited). While a number
of chinese herbs could be used for this purpose, none is commonly
available to the layperson. However aspirin is essentially
a blood moving substance according to Chinese medicine and seems
to work as well for a number of acute problems. If one is
not hypersensitive to it, the best home remedy for toothache may
still be, "take two aspirin and call me in the morning."
||Todd Luger, Licensed
Acupuncturist and Herbalist, has 14 years of clinical
experience in Chinese Medicine, focused on chronic pain and
illness, has been a professor of Herbology and Clinical Medicine
at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine since 2000, and is
director of the Chinese
Herb Academy. You can read more of his articles on PulseMed.org,
at the Chinese Herb Academy, or on
his Health Weblog.