15 essential herbs & spices for toothache relief

Herbs and spices are staging a comeback in holistic dentistry and it’s happening all over the globe. Herbal products, today, symbolize safety, in contrast to the synthetics that are regarded as unsafe to humans and the environment. Herbs are plants which are used medicinally or for their flavour or scent. Herbs with medicinal properties are a useful and an effective source of treatment for various disease processes.

Before modern medicine rolled out convenience products, simple herbs and spices aided in oral health and treatment of dental problems. From regular cleaning to dealing with deep-rooted problems, the fifteen ingredients below were used all over the world and throughout history as antiseptics, anesthetics, and pain relievers. Their legacy continues today and often measure up to the on-market options.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon usually wafts memories of Christmas or decadent desserts to mind. However, this aromatic spice is rich in calcium, making it a great way to strengthen the teeth and jaw. Cinnamon is also anti-microbial and a mild pain reliever.

In times past, it’s been utilized to numb teeth and gums, and to help with teething toddlers. It was listed in the 1834 medicine inventory of the Maryland’s Homewood House, built by one of the U.S. founding fathers. You can buy the powder (used in most recipes) or get oil drops, both of which come from the inner bark of the plant. Two common recipes are used for gum health and teeth cleaning. The first is mixing honey and cinnamon and rubbing it on the gums. The second is as simple as seeping cinnamon sticks in warm water and drinking.

Cinnamon bark helps to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and offers its odor fighting ability when used regularly. It is because of cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties and special compounds that it is so highly recommended for dental applications.

Beyond dentistry, cinnamon has a host of other health benefits you may not be aware of. Cinnamon has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and have a regulatory effect on blood sugar. This makes cinnamon a powerful ally for those suffering with type 2 diabetes.

Cinnamon has also been reported to have an anti-clotting effect on the blood, to be tough on medically-resistant yeast infections and inhibit bacterial growth in food, making it a great, though costly, natural food preservative. Another great way cinnamon affects food is in its ability to fight the E. Coli bacteria when added to unpasteurized juices.

One of the most widely touted, natural indications for medicinal cinnamon is for its ability to improve digestion.  Cinnamon is commonly used, in natural medicine, to reduce flatulence, aid in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, and relieve stomach cramps. It has also been found to be effective in helping women find relief from menstrual cramps and to those afflicted with painful joint conditions.

Cloves

When a toothache hits you at lunch or in the middle of the night, you need a quick fix. Clove oil can be the remedy you need, if you can’t get to your dentist right away. Cloves contain an active ingredient that numbs the nerves in your mouth, offering temporary relief.

Clove oil is a home remedy for tooth pain that is also used by dentists; it is a natural analgesic and antiseptic, primarily because of a component known as eugenol. The oil is often used by dentists as a temporary filling combined with zinc oxide to reduce pain and inflammation. The treatment has a natural numbing effect on the mouth, just what you are looking for when that tooth is throbbing.

Clove oil is also a natural antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral. Other uses for clove oil include indigestion, coughs, asthma, headache, stress and blood impurities. However, the most important and common use of clove oil is in dental care. Several toothpastes, mouthwash and oral care medications contain clove oil as an important ingredient.

Using clove oil to relieve an abscessed tooth is easy, just put a drop or two on a piece of gauze or cotton swab and wipe on the affected area. It may take 10-20 to numb the area. Some people will find it easier to mix the 2 drops of clove oil with a tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil, and use that instead of straight clove oil.

You can also use full cloves on your mouth to relieve toothache. Just place a whole clove in your mouth, chew the clove and move the smashed clove as close to the sore tooth as possible, finally, just hold the clove in place until the area is numb. An abscessed tooth often comes on with little warning and becomes excruciating in no time flat. This clove oil treatment is a fast, easy natural cure to get relief and begin your road back to wellness, but at the end of the day, you will have to go see your dentist for a permanent solution.

Coriander (Cilantro)

Coriander’s historic influence dates back to ancient China, where it was known as Chinese parsley. Today, the plant leaves used in American kitchens are called cilantro. Its anti-bacterial tendencies made it perfect to clean out and initiate healing for mouth ulcers and infections. If you’re suffering from open oral sores, boil one teaspoon of coriander seeds in one cup of water and gargle 3-4 times daily.

Fresh cilantro leaves are rich in vitamin C. This vitamin helps to accelerate the time that is normally taken to heal painful mouth injuries. To use them, you must chop a fistfull of fresh cilantro leaves finely. Grind the leaves into a fine paste using a mortar and pestle. Transfer the paste to a clean bowl and add a little water to it. Dip a q-tip in the paste and apply it gently in the damaged area.

Goldenseal

Goldenseal is one of the five top-selling herbal products in the U.S. Native Americans historically used goldenseal for various health concerns including skin diseases, ulcer symptoms and gonorrhea. Today’s traditional uses of goldenseal have broadened to include the natural treatment and prevention of colds, respiratory tract infections, allergies, eye infections, digestive issues, canker sores, vaginitis, urinary tract infections and even cancer.

This herb contains berberine, which has been been proven to be antimicrobial, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and blood glucose–lowering. Goldenseal has also gained popularity after a rumor spread that taking the herb can help block a positive test for illegal drugs. However, there is no scientific evidence that has proven this rumor to be correct. Yet fortunately there is research to support the medicinal use of goldenseal.

Goldenseal tea is a divine mouth rinse or throat gargle for oral sores, a sore throat, or cough. Alternately, swishing half an ounce of goldenseal oil around your mouth for about three minutes and then swallowing freshens mouth, boosts immunities, and destroys any digestive intruders. If you have a specific spot of inflamed gums, apply five drops of goldenseal extract on some gauze and lightly press against the inflicted area. It should heal within five nights.

Green Tea

Green tea has been touted as an energy-giving, super healthy option for daily drinks. The benefits it offer the mouth are often overlooked. The antioxidants, bacteria battling catechins, and other micronutrients in green tea fortify tooth structures, whitens teeth , keeps breath fresh, and dissolves plaque. Decaffeinated green tea still has these compounds, and thus, the oral benefits. So consider an unsweetened cup or two each morning. Trust me; anyone who has to speak with you will thank you for it.

Green tea may well be a treat for your taste buds. But new research is suggesting that it also benefits the rest of your oral cavity as well. Green tea contains compounds that appear to control inflammation and fight bacterial infection. This drink is also rich in antioxidants, which have many health properties.

Because green tea controls bacteria and lowers the acidity of saliva and dental plaque, it may be a useful tool in preventing cavities. A recent Egypt-based study tested people before and after they gave their mouths a five-minute rinse with green tea. The test subjects had less bacteria and acid in their mouths, as well as reduced gum bleeding. Other research has found that drinking green tea shows promise when it comes to preventing tooth decay.

Green tea’s anti-inflammatory powers seem to help control periodontal (gum) disease. A Japanese survey of almost 1,000 men found that those who drank green tea regularly had healthier gums than those who didn’t. A German study found similar positive results in people who were asked to chew candies containing green-tea extracts.

It makes sense that a substance that helps prevent cavities and gum disease will help you keep your teeth. But in case you need proof, here it is: Japanese research published in 2010 reported that men and women who drink one or more cups of green tea a day were more likely to hold on to their natural teeth.

The antioxidants and other properties of green tea appear to protect against cellular damage and cancerous tumour growth. In one study at the University of Texas, green-tea extract was given to patients with precancerous lesions in their mouths, and it slowed the progression to oral cancer. Animal studies have also found that tea compounds can inhibit cancer growth.

Green tea has been associated with better-smelling breath. This is likely because it kills the microbes that give us bad breath. The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Dentistry measured the level of smelly compounds in people’s mouths after they were given green-tea powder or another substance that supposedly helps with bad breath. Green tea outperformed mints, chewing gum and even parsley-seed oil in this study.

Licorice Root

Licorice root has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, and is supported by the American Dental Association as an herb that inhibits plaque buildup and gum disease. You can do so by simply chewing on a root or drinking steeped dried root and drinking 3 times daily, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties can also treat canker sores and oral ulcers.

This root is often used in Chinese traditional medicine and alternative medicine as an additive that enhances the activity of other herbal ingredients. Outside the U.S., it is also being studied for use as an alternative therapy for Hepatitis C patients.

Licorice is also used as a breath freshening ingredient in some natural toothpastes. And at a 2009 symposium on early childhood caries in Alaska Native and American Indian children, University of California, Los Angeles, researcher Wenyuan Shi, Ph.D., presented study results that showed that licorice plant extract, when added to lollipops, killed cavity-causing bacteria in young children.

The licorice-flavored candies that consumers buy at the store, however, don’t contain licorice root. These treats contain anise oil, which has a similar taste.

Licorice root should be used with caution after consulting with a health care professional, since it can have serious side effects and negative interactions with prescription medications.

Myrrh

Myrrh is best known for its part in the Christian Christmas story as one of the gifts brought to baby Jesus. The ancient herb has been used since before that historical time for a lot of medicinal purposes such as inflamed or loosening gums, canker sores, throat and nasal infections, and breathing issues. Adding myrrh oil to warm water and using as a mouth rinse is the best way to alleviate bacteria and maintain good dental hygiene.

Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, myrrh can help relieve inflammation of the mouth and gums caused by diseases such as gingivitis and mouth ulcers. It can also be used as mouth rinse to prevent gum disease. It can also freshen your breath and commonly used as an ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste.

Neem

The entire anatomy of Neem (roots, stem, bark, and fruit) is esteemed in Ayurvedic practice. Ancient people of India and its surrounding regions chewed on neem twigs or rubbed them over teeth and gums to prevent tooth rot and reduce inflammation.

Neem bark and its leaves have active ingredients that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It strengthens the immune system and the body’s resistance to infections. You can add a few drops of neem oil to coconut or olive oil and apply it to the affected area.

Though the ADA hasn’t acknowledged Neem for oral health, many homeopathic practitioners consider its antibacterial, astringent, and antiseptic properties as a great way to maintain dental sanitation or deal with problems such as gingivitis and periodontal pockets. Neem powder can be mixed into your toothpaste and used regularly, or you can order neem-based toothpaste online.

Nutmeg

This spice is not only known as being fabulous for flavoring food and enhancing other flavors. It has a wide range of properties that are beneficial to your health and wellness including: eliminating toxins from the body, helping against growth of cancerous cells, strengthening the immune system, improving skin health, pain relieving qualities and improving overall dental health.

This mellow spice contains the same eugenol as cloves and cinnamon, so it works against plaque and bad breath. In addition, the eugenol can ease swollen gums or tender teeth. To do so, simply rub nutmeg oil on the sore area or sip a cup of warm nutmeg tea and drink it.

Sage

Like all other common cooking herbs, sage lends its antibacterial properties to your mouth. It battles plaque to prevent and cure damage from tooth decay, and can help clean out oral sores. Brewing a cup of sage tea and rinsing your mouth with it is a cheap and easy way keep your mouth, and thus body, healthy.

Salt

In most major surgeries or medical situations, saline is used to keep things sterile. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water is the same idea. The salt water will break up any food stuck in between teeth and kill any bacteria that may be causing damage. It is also a great way to ease pain and reduce inflammation from infection of the gums.

A salt water mouth rinse is useful for a number of different reasons. It’s a great option for anyone who has a sore throat, gum sores or recently underwent dental procedures. It doesn’t take the place of modern dental hygiene, but is used as a supportive measure for adults and children alike.

How does a salt water mouth rinse work to reduce dental bacteria? It temporarily increases the pH balance of your mouth, creating an alkaline environment in which bacteria struggle to survive. Because they generally prefer an acidic environment, using the rinse often enough can make it difficult for bacteria to breed.

The use of salt also promotes healing, so it’s ideal to use it 24 hours after minor dental surgery to help your mouth recover. It’s an isotonic solution, which means it contains the same salts and minerals our bodies do in equal concentrations. For this reason, it doesn’t irritate the mucous membranes as a medicinal mouthwash might, which is why many dentists recommend it as a gentle healing aid after a procedure.

Thyme

 

Thyme is an aromatic bush with small leaves and is mostly used for cooking. In addition, it can also be used as herbal medication for treating tooth infections and toothaches. It functions as an antiseptic, which can eliminate and reduce toothaches and the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Thyme is mainly used as antibacterial agent because of its active constituents that reduce unwanted bacteria in the body, including the mouth. Since antiquity, and even today, people have been using herbal medications in treating minor ailments and diseases, and they have often proven to be more effective than modern medications in some ways. So, if you experience toothaches, or feel like you have an infection in your mouth, you may want to try thyme to treat it.

Many people use dried thyme as herbal tea.They usually add one teaspoon of dried thyme to their cups or mugs and mix it with hot water plus honey to taste. Like every normal tea, they drink it twice or three times a day. This way, they will be able to protect yourself from bacteria causing infection. You may also want to try this regimen to avoid getting tooth issues. If you do not want to use dried thyme, you may also want to try the ready-made ones, thyme tea bags, which can be bought at supermarkets and health food stores.

Toothache Tree

This aromatic shrub of Northern America also goes by the name angelica tree, prickly ash, or Suter berry. Native Americans chewed on the bark to relieve their toothaches similarly to the way neem was used in ancient India. The numbing it triggers is profound, and induces salivating to clean the mouth and prevent tooth rot. It’s also effective for stomach disorders, rheumatic problems, skin infections, sore throats and coughs.

Turmeric

This brightly colored spice used in Middle-East and Indian dishes boasts more than a strong, unique flavor. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are more pronounced than other herbs mentioned above. For centuries, it was used in Ayurvedic in tooth and gum care rub. The paste combined 1 teaspoon of turmeric with half a teaspoon of salt and just enough mustard oil to get a wet consistency. They encouraged applying it twice daily, or packing it against an infected or inflamed area to reduce pain and bacterial growth.

Recent studies, according to the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, suggest it has some impressive health benefits as well, including the healing of inflamed gums. To treat gums, the journal reported that researchers recommend applying a paste made of one teaspoon of turmeric, half a teaspoon of salt and half teaspoon of mustard oil. This should be done twice a day.

White Oak Bark Powder

White Oak Bark Powder is an astringent which contains tannins; micro compounds that help tighten damaged gums against the teeth. White oak bark powder used regularly can also retain the elasticity of the gums, and contains large doses of minerals that will strengthen teeth structure and jaw bone. Past dental damage cases show a significant healing of the tendons below the gum surface that attach them to teeth within two months of regularly applying powder.

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