There are many reasons for mouth pain, and they’re not all dangerous. Little cavities, gum inflammation, or mouth ulcers can all cause similar sensations that niggle at us and often hurt more at nighttime. (Lying down increases blood pressure to your head, so try elevating your head on more pillows to alleviate the throbbing.)
However, advanced tooth infections can be very dangerous. The bacteria can spread into your gums, your jaw, your tongue or your throat, and even into your blood stream. That’s why it is important to know the symptoms of a tooth infection, identify it early, and make a more informed decision about your course of action. No matter what you decide to do, you should begin treatment immediately. You do, however, have the choice between going to the dentist and treating it naturally, so we’ll first explain how to identify a tooth infection, and then give you six natural treatment options.
Symptoms of tooth infection
- Redness of the mouth, face or gums
- Inflammation of the gums
- Pain, including when you chew or swallow
- Difficulty opening your mouth fully
- Pus drainage
- Bad breath
- Greater mouth sensitivity to hot and cold
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
- Fever or chills
6 natural remedies for tooth infection
- Black tea. This is a common one; black tea is packed full of antioxidants so it’s great for absorbing toxins and pus, according to Daily Health Post. Simply soak the tea bag in warm water and apply to the sore tooth. try to keep it in your mouth for as long as you can. It’s important to rinse afterwards with salt water to remove the bacteria you’ve dislodged. You can also try tea that contains echinacea, which is an antibiotic and an antihistamine. It will support your immune system to kick the infection, and will reduce inflammation. The same goes for chamomile tea — chamomile has can reduce gum swelling and bleeding, and is effective in killing Streptococcus bacteria strains.
- Salt water. Speaking of salt water, this is an effective mouthwash all on its own according to WebMD. It is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, and it can kill the bacteria causing the infection. Try mixing half a teaspoon of salt into six ounces of warm water until it has dissolved, then use as a mouthwash. If possible try to directly swish it around the affected tooth. Make sure you spit it out when you’re done. You can also try flossing gently around the affected tooth, as sometimes food can get stuck in abscesses.
- Oregano Oil. According to Bare Natural Health this oil has antibacterial, antioxidant and antibacterial properties which makes it great for clearing infections. It kills the bacteria in the pus while numbing the localised area for pain relief. You can apply oregano oil directly to the tooth on a cotton swab, or you can mix five drops of the oil into a 1/4 cup of warm water and use as a mouthwash. Try to keep the oil in your mouth for at least five minutes, and use multiple times a day while the infection is active.
- Garlic. Although more research is required, there have been studies to show that garlic oil has been used to help diseased teeth in children. WebMD explains that when you crush garlic you release allicin, an oily liquid and natural disease fighter. The garlic must be raw, so try chewing on a clove or placing pre-crushed pieces onto your tooth. Apart from your breath, there’s no risk: garlic is a totally safe superfood.
- Oil pulling. No doubt you’ve heard of this one… used for millennia in Ayurvedic medicine, this practice is just taking off in the Western world. Twice a day, take two teaspoons of virgin coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 10 — 20 minutes. The auric acid in coconut oil is antibacterial, and this method has been shown to reduce dental plaque and treat gingivitis. Make sure you spit the oil out when you’ve finished.
- Hydrogen peroxide. WebMD explains that hydrogen peroxide is a powerful and proven germ fighter. You need to dilute it with water or it can harm your teeth and gums, then rinse your mouth vigorously for a couple of minutes. Spit it out afterwards. Daily Health Post recommends using it in combination with baking soda, which has been shown to increase alkalinity in the mouth — bacteria hate it! You can also make a paste of these two ingredients and apply it directly to the tooth, leaving it on for several minutes and then rinsing throughly afterwards.
It’s important to understand the symptoms of tooth infection and identify it early so that you have time to try some natural remedies at home. However, if you have caught the infection too late or if it has continued to worsen, WebMD warns that there are particular symptoms for which you should seek immediate medical attention. This includes if the pain is so bad you cannot manage it at home, if you develop vomiting diarrhoea, fever or chills, and if you have any trouble breathing. Catch it early, however, and stop your infection from progressing — the natural way.