It’s fair to say that we’re pretty darn reliant on our teeth. Without them, chewing — and indeed communicating — would be a very difficult task indeed. But aside from habitual brushing morning and night, we tend to take them for granted… until infection strikes.
A tooth infection can happen at any time, but is more likely to occur if you’re eating poorly or under constant, chronic stress. Added to that an overly abrasive dental hygiene routine, and the enamel that surrounds and protects the inner, more sensitive, regions of your teeth can weaken.
Weak enamel means a greater likelihood of tooth infection, and you’re just one sugary snack away from a very expensive (and very painful!) trip to the dentist.
But what if you could avoid that trip to the dentist by employing an arsenal of natural, effective remedies against tooth infection? Surely you’d be willing to try such remedies, for the sake of your wallet and the sake of your health. This post will explore those remedies, showing you what symptoms to look out for and how to act fast to resolve those symptoms before they become and even bigger problem.
The many signs of an infected tooth
A tooth infection is also known as a tooth abscess. Tooth infections, or abscessed teeth, occur as a result of tooth decay — a combination of both dietary and bacterial factors which undermine the protective coating of your teeth and pave the path for infection.
Most of the time, an infected tooth results from enamel, the outer protective coating on our teeth, becoming compromised in some way. This usually occurs either as a result of tooth decay, reflecting a nutrient-poor or sugar-rich diet, or physical damage to the enamel causing a small crack or hole to develop.
With the tooth’s enamel compromised, the bacteria that reside in your oral microbiome, food particles or other foreign substances can make their way into the inner layers of your tooth and cause it to become inflamed. This inflammation, manifesting as an abscess, is your body’s way of trying to “cordon off” the area and push the foreign particles back out of the sensitive inner tooth.
It’s a painful state to be in, and it has many running for the dentist first thing the next day. Here’s some of the symptoms to look out for, if you think you have an infected tooth:
- Toothache (throbbing or stabbing pains in the tooth)
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Pain while chewing
- Smelly breath
- Swollen glands below the jaw
So now that you know what to look out for, how can you treat your tooth infection before it becomes a bigger problem and leads to something horrific, like a root canal op? Here are five natural remedies for tooth infections:
Salt water rinse
I’m starting with the most basic natural remedy for a tooth infection first, but often it’s the simplest approaches that provide the best results. Mixing a teaspoon of salt in half a glass of warm water then swilling the solution around in your mouth is a tried-and-true way to not only fight the bacteria causing the tooth infection, but also cleanse the abscess and help speed recovery.
At the first signs of a toothache, I swill with salt water for one minute every two to three hours and find that the toothache recedes within a day. I like doing it with Himalayan pink salt, as I believe the trace minerals it contains also help the tooth to remineralize itself.
Clove is another fantastic way to stop tooth infections in their tracks before they can become too much of a problem. The antibacterial properties of clove oil, in fact, are legendary: hundreds of studies from the medical and scientific literature have proven that clove essential oil has a strong inhibitory effect on pathogens like candida, aspergillus, and salmonella, to name but a few.
This strong antimicrobial action, along with the strong analgesic (pain relieving) effect of its active ingredient eugenol, means clove essential oil is an excellent natural remedy for treating a tooth infection. Dab a small amount clove oil on or around the affected tooth, or swish with a drop of clove oil mixed into a glass of water. You should find relief almost immediately, and find that the tooth heals quickly.
Oil pulling is one of my new favorite things for maintaining optimum oral hygiene. Every three or four days, I’ll place a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth then swish it around for 20 minutes, making sure to spit out all the oil afterward.
Oil pulling helps to draw toxins from the teeth, gums and tongue, as many of the pathological bacteria in our mouths are fat soluble. Added to this the mild antibacterial properties of coconut oil, and you’ve got a super effective natural remedy for a tooth infection.
Apple cider vinegar
Based on anecdotal evidence, apple cider vinegar is an effective natural remedy for a tooth infection. Swilling a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in your mouth will help to treat a toothache and other symptoms of an infection by targeting harmful bacteria that can cause the abscess to develop, and helping to bring down inflammation. Again, as the apple cider vinegar will now contain some of the toxins and bacteria from the infection, be sure to spit out the vinegar once you’re done swishing!
Good old garlic is here to save the day once again! Garlic’s powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are well documented, making it an excellent natural remedy for a tooth infection. The best way to treat a tooth infection with garlic is to peel a clove of garlic, crush it, squeeze the tiny amount of juice from it, and apply the juice onto the infected area of the tooth. Repeat once or twice a day until the symptoms of the infection recede.