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What are the home remedies for a tooth infection? Boring huh? I don’t know of single survival minded friend that doesn’t get that twinkle in their eye when you mention beans, bullets, or bandages.
That look dulls when you veer off that path though. Very few consider the realities of day to day life especially personal health maintenance, injury prevention, and injury treatment.
Remember the movie “Castaway“? It’s unlikely you will have an ice skate handy to remove a painful tooth during a disaster scenario.
When SHTF, there may not be a dentist around to fix your teeth and gums. So you need to have the type of information on hand that our grandparents used in order to be self-sufficient and prepared. Besides, ice skates are too heavy for your bug out bag!
Yet, it may be something as little as a lax oral hygiene routine that takes you out of the fight and costs your family dearly at a critical time. After all… for the want of a nail, the kingdom was lost.
Is There a Dentist in the House?
Medical matters are not to be trifled with. When the grid is up and running and qualified medical care is available you must consult a medical professional, doctor, or dentist. A toothache, dental abscess, or other oral pain is a sign of a true emergency. Infections can go from distracting to life-threatening emergencies in days or hours.
Do not risk your personal health on an “experiment” just to see if this natural stuff works. Again, uses the tools at your disposal, if the doctor is in then make use of them.
At the risk of repeating myself, this article provides natural remedies and home remedies for a tooth infection to be used only in a survival situation when you have no other recourse.
Tooth Infection Types, Causes, and Symptoms
We all use our teeth every day. Eating, flossing, making those really loud whistles. Teeth come in handy. We use them and take them for granted… Until something goes wrong.
Few things are as distracting as a tooth infection. The never-ending throbbing or lightning-like pain drives you to distraction.
I finally sought treatment for my last toothache when I woke up from a nightmare involving eating broken glass. If you haven’t had one, yes, they are that bad.
Types of Infections
Broadly speaking there are two major classes of oral infections, periodontal and periapical.
Periodontal infection is an infection in the gums and soft tissue around the teeth.
Periapical infection is in the root of the tooth, usually starting at the tip of the root (farthest point away from the chewing part) and spreading into and away from the tooth.
Regardless of the type, both infections cause pressure, throbbing, and acute stabbing pain that can be hard to localize and isolate to a specific tooth without a little exploration.
Causes of Tooth Infections
Gum and tooth root infections start with an infiltration of bacteria. Food lodged between the tooth and gums or abrasions can lead to infections in the soft tissue.
Tooth root infections are normally caused by bacteria infiltrating a crack in the tooth allowing the bacteria to get past the protective enamel layer and into the nerve. Likewise, a periodontal infection spreads to the tip of the root and spreads infection up the root.
Toothache causes and associated oral infections have a variety of contributing factors. This includes general poor health, poor diet, a diet high in sugars, and dry mouth.
While there are many more factors, each of these is well within our control. What your mother said about eating right, exercising, and drinking lots of water goes far in the current and post-SHTF world.
Allowed to continue, a minor infection in the tooth spreads beyond the body’s ability to fight it and a tooth or gum abscess forms. Abscesses are small (or large) pockets of puss. These generate tissue rupturing pressures and worsen an already bad situation if not recognized and treated immediately.
Tooth Infection Symptoms
The initial signs of a tooth or gum infection are generally low-level discomfort and minor redness or swelling. As the tooth infection spreads the throbbing tooth pain increases. Each beat of your heart adds pressure to an already stressed nerve.
The dull background pain precedes acute stabbing pains by days or hours. Temperature changes and biting pressure light up your world.
If the infection spreads to the point where you or a family member has a fever and chills treatment is needed immediately.
Traditional Tooth Infection Treatments
When the grid is up, society is functioning, and the local doctor or dentist still has their shingle up you have a few courses of action.
Antibiotics are the first plan of action. Oral Amoxicillin is prescribed and within 3 days the symptoms are reduced.
If the infection progresses or is already in an advanced state the doctor usually prescribes other more serious antibiotics. The most advanced, and dangerous, cases require intravenous (IV) antibiotics.
Root Canal and Extractions
Once the infection has been brought under control the dentist reassesses the tooth and may perform either a root canal or an extraction. In the case of a root canal, the dentist opens the tooth, removes the dead nerve, packs the nerve canal, and fills the tooth.
Extractions are simply the removal of the tooth. The dentist packs the now-empty socket, a clot forms and the socket eventually heals. With extractions, dry socket infection is an additional risk.
Dry socket occurs when the clot in the socket (the hole in the jaw bone where the tooth was removed) dissolves prematurely. This exposes the bone and nerves to the elements (air, water, food) and infection sets in.
Dry socket symptoms are simply this: Excruciating pain.
Immediate treatment is required for this condition before a significant infection sets in. In response to dry socket, the dentist cleans the affected area, repacks the socket, and prescribes additional antibiotics.
Home Remedies for a Tooth Infection
Today we have the grid. Let’s investigate what to do when society fails and we can no longer take a ride to the local dentist.
While none of us wishes for the United States to enter a fatal tailspin, that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it. This includes beans, bullets, and band-aids. The world of band-aids is not limited to the pharmacy aisle of the grocery store.
For most of recorded history, we didn’t have access to a local pharmacy. Let’s not forget that modern medicine is just that… modern.
Even as recent as 100 years ago doctors diagnosed patients with ghosts in the blood and prescribed goat gallstones and cocaine for a toothache.
Grandma, on the other hand, went to the back yard, picked a few weeds, and fixed you up with her tried and true natural remedies.
So let’s take a close look at Grandma’s home remedies for a tooth infection.
One of the most common home remedies for a tooth infection is an oral rinse. Used for toothaches, gum infections, and general cuts and abrasions they clean, disinfect, and do wonders to soothe minor discomforts.
1. Salt Water
A cure-all for tooth, gum issues as well as canker sores and sore throats is the saltwater rinse.
1-2 teaspoons of salt in a glass of warm water gargled or swished around the mouth will sooth physical damage (cuts and open sores) as well as disinfect. Rinse for 1-2 minutes 3 times a day.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar or ACV is undergoing a modern surge in popularity as a natural remedy.
Loaded with micronutrients, we cook, supplement our diet, clean, and disinfect (most applicable to toothaches) with it.
Rinsing with 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for a minute a few times a day will help heal early signs of an infection.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Used by Mom on cuts and scrapes (incorrectly I may add) for generations. You had a true and meaningful childhood if you know, all too well, the sting and bubble of hydrogen peroxide on a scraped knee.
You can use hydrogen peroxide to remove bloodstains from your mattress or to find blood on dark clothing. But unfortunately, it does more damage than good on cuts and scrapes.
The mouth is the exception. Dark, warm, and moist is the playground of bacteria. When the wrong bacteria get hold it is best to bring out the big guns.
Grab that brown bottle, mix the hydrogen peroxide with warm water (1:1 ratio) and swish away. Kill the good and the bad bacteria (the good bacteria will re-populate soon enough) and let the body heal without the interference of the bad critters.
Not just for a Saturday night nip, or the stuff of old westerns, alcohol has both antiseptic and analgesic properties.
A few drops applied to the tooth or gum, or a swish with a small amount provides a natural remedy for immediate relief of some of the pain. Let your gums soak up some of the alcohol to get the full numbing effect for partial tooth abscess pain relief.
Supposedly you spit out the rest… but… but… whiskey!
One quick word of caution on rinses, especially ACV and Hydrogen Peroxide. These have the potential to damage the enamel of your teeth. Use only during the infection.
Don’t go the whitening route and eat away at the enamel. You’ll be left with a mouth full of sensitive teeth. Do not swallow any of the rinses (except the whiskey).
The next class of home remedies for a tooth infection are topical applications.
The topical application method applies the natural agent directly to the affected area. Just like a topical ointment for a rash or cut, you will apply these materials right on the affected gum and tooth.
Not just for Grandma’s pasta, garlic is a wonderful gift from the garden. Scientifically researched and found to have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties it kills many bad critters and tastes good during the process.
To apply garlic to a tooth infection simply mash a single clove and let it sit out for 20 minutes to “activate” (Grandma’s words, not mine). Research has found that the activation process is actually oxidation of one of key components in garlic allicin.
That burn you feel when you eat it raw is allicin. Oxidized, allicin decomposes into multiple active all natural antibiotics and antiviral components.
Mash and let it oxidize then give it another taste test. Yup, more burn, more medicine.
To treat tooth pain or gum pain, apply your mashed clove to the sore tooth and gum. Let it sit for 10 minutes and enjoy the rest of your vampire-free day.
Additionally, you may also mix the garlic with a pinch of salt for added antibiotic benefit.
6. Baking Soda
Another home remedy paste is baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Combine in a 2:1 baking soda to hydrogen peroxide ratio (just enough peroxide to make the baking soda into a paste). The paste is placed in the mouth over the affected tooth and gum for 5-10 minutes.
The oxidation action of this paste is specifically detrimental to bacteria in the mouth. This disinfecting action baking reduces the infection and allows the mouth to heal naturally.
Turmeric is another spice resurging in the non-natural remedy community. Likewise, Turmeric has antibiotic properties as well as anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties.
You can make a paste with turmeric powder (available in the spice section of your grocery store) and water. Like the other pastes in this section, add enough liquid (in this case water) to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to your tooth and gum for 10-20 minutes then rinse. Repeat 3-5 times a day.
Variations on this theme include using oil as the liquid and adding salt to the turmeric paste.
Moving from the grocery store to the back yard we include plantain. This flat-leafed pervasive weed has fantastic medical properties and every prepper should be familiar with it.
Used as a tea, poultice, salve, tincture, or paste, plantain should have a home in your post-SHTF toolbox as tooth infection medicine as well as medicine for other issues.
For tooth pain treatment crush few fresh leaves into a paste. Place the wet blob on the tooth for a few minutes. Rinse with warm water.
There is a rich collection of other herbs that can be used as a direct treatment for tooth infections. Cloves, Ginger, Yarrow, and Sage come to mind.
Finally, there are the external treatment home remedies for a tooth infection. Hot and cold compresses both provide a level of relief.
9. Hot/Cold Compress
A cold compress, ice wrapped in a towel, applied to the jaw reduces swelling and provides numbing pain relief. Please note, this does not cure a toothache, it just helps with the pain caused by the infection.
A hot compress, hot water bottle, applied to the cheek increases blood flow and therefore brings more troops to the fight against the infection.
Apply each compress for about 15 minutes and alternate between the hot and cold for as long as necessary.
Bonus: Animal Antibiotics
While not a forest or garden-based home remedy for a tooth infection, we added these as a bonus item for you to consider. Fish antibiotics can be currently purchased and should have a spot in your post-SHTF medical kit as a toothache medicine.
Made in the same factories, made with the same standards, and made in the same doses as human antibiotics, fish antibiotics are identical to human antibiotics.
Antibiotics are not to be experimented with and must be taken exactly as prescribed. Misuse them and you WILL make the problem worse. I recommend purchasing a good antibiotics reference guide before you deploy this tool in a survival situation. Know the risks and rewards before going down this path.
Warnings aside, Amoxicillin is the go-to antibiotic for tooth infections. Sold in the form of Fish Mox Forte is available from several retailers at a reasonable price… for your fish… during the apocalypse…
Toothache pain and tooth infections are not advisable to ignore, regardless of if the grid up or down. Allowed to advance they will take you out of the fight… or worse.
Home remedies for a tooth infection may not work as immediately as a dose of antibiotics and a root canal but they do provide a means of treatment when there are no other options.
Bonus: How to Make Pemmican, the Original Survival Food
Invented by the natives of North America pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers.
Native Americans spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time without refrigeration.
Pemmican is a portable, long-lasting, high-energy food. It's made of lean, dried meat that's crushed into powder and mixed with hot, rendered fat. This makes it one of the ultimate foods to have stockpiled for when SHTF or disaster strikes.
People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how folks 150 years ago did it.
These guys were the last generation to practice basic things, for a living, that we call "survival skills" now.