There is no denying that toothache can be a debilitating and excruciatingly painful experience for those suffering from it. It can make some of the simplest daily routine like eating or sleeping difficult. But before you reach for over-the-counter painkillers, have you considered a natural alternative?
Over the past few years, natural remedies have grown in popularity as an alternative over over-the-counter pain medication to relieve toothache symptoms. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that contain various therapeutic compounds that can provide relief for various pain like headache, tummy-ache, and toothache. In fact, they have been used for centuries for their therapeutic benefits.
In the rest of this article, we will explore some of the benefits that essential oils offer, and how they can help to relieve toothache and improve your oral health. We will also recommend the top 5 essential oils recommended by dentists worldwide to relieve symptoms of a toothache.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated, volatile, aromatic compounds extracted from various parts of plants, such as flowers, leaves, bark, roots, seeds, and fruits. These oils are called “essential” because they carry the essence or characteristic fragrance of the plant from which they are derived. They are widely used in aromatherapy, perfumes, cosmetics, and other products for their fragrance and potential therapeutic properties.
Essential oils are typically obtained through two main methods: steam distillation and cold pressing. Steam distillation involves passing steam through the plant material, which releases the essential oil into the vapor. The vapor is then condensed and collected as liquid essential oil. Cold pressing, mostly used for citrus oils, involves mechanically pressing the plant material to extract the oil.
Essential oils have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for their therapeutic benefits, including reducing inflammation, promoting relaxation, improving digestion, and boosting the immune system. They can be used topically, inhaled, or ingested, depending on the specific oil and its intended use.
It is important to note that essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used with caution. They should be diluted in a carrier oil before topical application, and should never be ingested without proper guidance from a healthcare professional. One should also source for essential oils from reputable brands to ensure the purity of the oil and effectiveness.
How Essential Oils Relieve Toothache?
Essential oils can help relieve toothache through their various properties, such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing effects. Here’s a breakdown of how essential oils can help alleviate toothache pain:
- Analgesic properties: Some essential oils, like clove and lavender, have natural pain-relieving compounds. These oils can help to numb the pain by desensitizing nerve endings in the affected area, providing temporary relief.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Inflammation is a common factor in toothache pain, and essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint have anti-inflammatory properties. These oils can help reduce inflammation in the affected area, which in turn may help alleviate pain.
- Antibacterial properties: Toothaches are often caused by bacterial infections. Essential oils like tea tree and eucalyptus have antibacterial properties that can help combat infections and provide relief from pain. However, these oils should not be considered a substitute for professional dental treatment in cases of severe infection.
- Soothing and calming effects: Some essential oils, like lavender and peppermint, are known for their calming effects. They can help to reduce stress and anxiety associated with toothache pain, making the discomfort more manageable.
How to Apply Essential Oils to Relieve Toothache?
To apply essential oils for toothache relief, it’s important to use them safely and correctly. Follow these steps for proper application:
- Choose the right essential oil: Pick an essential oil known for its pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, or antibacterial properties.
- Dilute the essential oil: Essential oils are should always be diluted with a carrier oil before use. Common carrier oils include coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or olive oil. Mix a few drops of the essential oil with a carrier oil, following a general guideline of 1-2 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil. This ratio may be adjusted based on individual sensitivity and the specific oil being used.
- Apply the oil using a cotton swab or clean fingertips: Dip a cotton swab into the diluted essential oil mixture or use clean fingertips to apply a small amount. Gently dab the oil onto the affected tooth and surrounding gum area. Avoid applying the oil directly to the tooth’s biting surface, as this may cause further irritation or discomfort.
- Apply a warm or cold compress: Optionally, you may also choose to apply a warm or cold compress to the outside of your cheek near the affected area to help alleviate pain and inflammation. Make sure the compress is not too hot or cold to avoid skin irritation or burns.
- Reapply as and when needed: You can reapply the diluted essential oil mixture every few hours or as needed for pain relief. However, do not overuse essential oils, as excessive use may cause irritation or other adverse reactions.
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If you are using essential oil to improve your general oral health, use the oil pulling technique. It is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that has been practiced for centuries by Indians to keep eliminate bad breath and keep their gums healthy. The technique involves swishing small amounts of the oil solution (containing both essential oil and carrier oil) in the mouth for 1 to 2 minutes, once a day.
It is important to note that while essential oils can provide temporary relief from toothache pain and general discomfort, they are not a cure for the underlying dental issues. Additionally, some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to certain essential oils, so it’s a good idea to perform a patch test on a small area of skin before applying the oil to the affected area.
Top 6 Essential Oils Recommended by Dentists
Below are the top 5 essential oils that most dentist recommend as a natural remedy to relieve the pain and symptoms caused by a toothache.
- Clove Essential Oil: Clove oil is one of the most popular natural remedy for toothache due to the presence of eugenol, a compound that has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties; eugenol makes up almost 90% of the clover oil. This can act as a local anesthetic and numb the painful area where the toothache is located. However, it is important to dilute clove oil before use, as it can cause irritation if used in its concentrated form.
- Peppermint Essential Oil: Peppermint oil is derived from the flowers of the peppermint plant. It is known for menthol, which has a cooling effect that can help to numb toothache pain. The oil also has antimicrobial properties that may help to prevent infections in the affected area.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil: Tea tree is extracted from the leaves of the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), a small tree native to Australia. The oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce swelling and pain in the gums. Similar to clove oil, dilute tea tree oil into a solution before use as a high concentration can cause skin irritation.
- Myrrh oil: Myrrh oil is produced from the resin of Commiphora myrrha tree. It is said to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to relieve pain and swelling associated with toothache. It has also been traditionally used to promote oral health and prevent gum disease.
- Lavender Essential Oil: Lavender oil is produced from the lavender plant, which is native to the Mediterranean region. The oil is known for its soothing effect and can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can exacerbate toothache pain. It is also frequently used to treat migraine and promote relaxation through inhalation. This is reported in several studies including here and here.
- Cinnamon Essential Oil: Cinnamon oil is extracted from the bark of the cinnamon tree, which is native to Sri Lanka, India, and other parts of Asia. It contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to relieve toothache pain. It has traditionally been used for general oral health.
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Eucalyptus oil has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to alleviate toothache symptoms. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help to prevent and treat infections in the mouth.
- Frankincense Essential Oil. Frankincense oil is extracted from the resin of the Boswellia tree, and has a woody, spicy, and slightly sweet aroma. Similarly, frankincense oil contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to prevent and treat infections.
In conclusion, essential oils can offer a natural and effective way to temporarily relieve toothache pain. With their various properties, such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing effects, essential oils like clove, peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus can help alleviate discomfort and provide relief until you’re able to consult a dentist.
While they can provide temporary relief, essential oils are not a substitute for professional dental care. Consult a dentist to address the underlying cause of your toothache and receive the appropriate treatment.