Is an excruciating toothache giving you sleepless nights? Well, chances are that you are suffering from an abscessed tooth.
When a bacterial infection invades the innermost part of the tooth containing the nerves and blood vessels, it can result in an abscessed tooth. The bacteria can enter through a cavity, a broken or chipped tooth, or an existing dental filling. If left untreated, the infection can cause inflammation, swelling and puss that collects in a pocket around the tooth.
- Causes and Risk Factors for a Tooth Abscess
- Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess
- Preventing a Tooth Abscess
- Home Remedies to Treat a Tooth Abscess
- Method 1: Garlic
- Method 2: Tea Bags
- Method 3: Clove Oil
- Method 4: Hydrogen Peroxide
- Method 5: Oil Pulling
- Method 6: Apple Cider Vinegar
Causes and Risk Factors for a Tooth Abscess
The primary cause of a tooth abscess is the bacteria entering the dental cavity, leading to tooth decay. However, a number of conditions can increase your chances of having a tooth abscess.
- Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing your teeth every day allows plaque to build up, causing tooth decay, an abscess and other dental complications.
- High-sugar diet: Consuming foods and drinks rich in sugar or starch can erode the tooth enamel and encourage bacterial growth in the mouth.
- Previous dental surgery or injury: Any open wound or previous surgery on the teeth or gums can create a breeding ground for the bacteria.
- Underlying health conditions: People suffering from diabetes, undergoing chemotherapy or taking steroid medications are also prone to tooth abscesses due to a weakened immune system.
- Gingivitis: An inflammation of the gums can develop into a tooth abscess if left untreated.
Symptoms of a Tooth Abscess
The most prominent symptom of an abscess is a persistent throbbing or shooting toothache. Some of the other symptoms may include:
- Pain while chewing food.
- Pain radiating from the affected tooth to the ear, neck and jaw.
- Sensitivity to cold or hot food and beverages.
- Swelling in the gums, face and jaw, or swelling under the jaw.
- Foul breath or a foul-tasting, salty fluid in the mouth.
Preventing a Tooth Abscess
- Brush your teeth twice every day.
- Use dental floss every day to clean between your teeth.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if the bristles wear out.
- Reduce your intake of sugary and starchy foods and drinks.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash occasionally to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Quit smoking and tobacco consumption.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning.
Home Remedies to Treat a Tooth Abscess
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is advisable to see a dentist as soon as possible to get diagnosed and receive appropriate treatment. Meanwhile, you can also try some home remedies to get relief from an abscessed tooth.
Method 1: Garlic
Garlic contains an antibacterial sulfur compound called allicin that can stop the bacterial growth in an abscessed tooth. It can also relieve a toothache immediately due to its anti-inflammatory nature.
Things you’ll need:
- Crushed garlic – 1 tablespoon
- Table salt – 1 teaspoon
Single-Step Treatment: Mix salt with crushed garlic and apply
- Put 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic in a bowl.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the garlic.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
- Take a spoonful of the mix and apply it on the affected tooth.
- Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse your mouth with saline water.
Repeat the process twice daily for 2 to 3 days to get relief from an abscessed tooth.
Method 2: Tea Bags
Black tea is loaded with antioxidants called tannins and astringent property that help reduce inflammation.
Single-Step Treatment: Wedge a tea bag against the affected tooth
- Put a tea bag in a hot cup of water and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the tea bag and squeeze out the excess water.
- Place the tea bag over the abscessed tooth for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the bag and rinse your mouth with warm water.
Repeat 4 to 5 times daily for 2 to 3 days or until the symptoms subside.
Method 3: Clove Oil
Clove oil is an old-school remedy for treating tooth-related problems. It has antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic properties that help kill the infection and relieve pain.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply clove oil on the abscessed tooth
- Dip a cotton swab in clove oil.
- Apply it on and around the affected tooth.
- Wait 30 minutes, then rinse your mouth with warm water. Do not swallow the clove oil. If your mouth salivates, spit it out.
Repeat 2 or 3 times daily for 4 to 5 days to relieve pain.
Method 4: Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a natural disinfectant and also has antibacterial properties that can kill bacteria causing the tooth abscess.
Single-Step Treatment: Rinse your mouth with diluted hydrogen peroxide
- Mix about 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup of warm water.
- Swish the solution around in your mouth for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Spit it out and rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
Repeat 3 times a week to get rid of the infection.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth and disinfect your toothbrush or dental retainers.
Method 5: Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice for cleaning teeth. The lauric acid present in coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Swishing it around in your mouth can pull out bacteria from the abscessed tooth and relieve the pain.
Single-Step Treatment: Swish coconut oil around in your mouth
- Put 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around the infected tooth for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Spit it out and rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
Repeat every morning and night until you get relief from an abscessed tooth.
Method 6: Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is touted as a potent home remedy to cure a tooth abscess. It has disinfectant and anti-inflammatory properties that can clear up the infection as well as reduce swelling and pain.
Single-Step Treatment: Swish apple cider vinegar around in your mouth
- Put about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in your mouth.
- Swish it around for 15 minutes, then spit it out.
- Rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
Repeat twice per day until you get relief.
- Sleep with your head elevated to reduce pressure around the abscessed tooth. This will help relieve some pain.
- Rinse your mouth with saline water 2 or 3 times a day to get relief from an abscessed tooth.
- Do not ignore an infected tooth, even if the pain has temporarily subsided. See your dentist to get it treated properly.
- Avoid foods or drinks that are too hot or too cold, as they can trigger the pain.