A tooth abscess is a bacterial infection that results in pus formation in your teeth, gums, or the bones that hold your teeth. This infection may occur due to several reasons, including tooth decay, cracked tooth, or periodontal disease.
When any of the three problems occur, they allow bacteria to enter into the teeth, leading to the death of your pulp. As a result, pus builds up around this area, forming an abscess. If not managed, the abscess can result in a severe infection in the surrounding areas.
What happens when you get a dental abscess?
A dental abscess can either occur at the end of a tooth, also called a periapical infection, or grow in the gum, referred to as a periodontal abscess.
What causes dental abscesses?
Naturally, the mouth contains many bacteria which form plaque, a sticky film found on the teeth. Lack of proper oral health can result in the production of acids by the bacteria in the plaque. If left to accumulate, the acid can damage your teeth and gums, causing tooth decay and gum disease.
Some common reasons for the development of dental abscess include:
- Poor oral hygiene; Plaque quickly build-up in the mouth if you don’t floss and brush.
- Eating foods rich in sugar and starch; Bacteria thrive well in a sugary environment resulting in a tooth abscess.
- Weak immune system; People with underlying conditions like diabetes or those undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy and steroid medication are susceptible to abscess.
- Injury to the teeth or gums or previous injury; damaged parts of teeth and gums create an excellent space for bacteria to thrive
What Are the Common Symptoms of Tooth Abscess?
If you notice the symptoms below, you might have a tooth abscess, and you should immediately book a dental appointment for a check-up.
- Tooth sensitivity to cold and hot foods
- Swelling on your face or cheek
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Bad breath and bitter taste in the mouth
- Severe throbbing pain that could easily extend to the neck, ear, and jawbone on the side of the affected area.
- Swelling and tender lymph nodes in your neck or jaw
- Pus around the infected tooth
- Swollen, red gums
Preventing Dental Abscesses
Observing oral hygiene is the best way to reduce the risk of developing a dental abscess. So how do you keep strong teeth and healthy gums? Here are few things you should do:
- Regularly floss and brush your teeth using an interdental brush. You should thoroughly clean between your teeth and under your gum line at least twice daily.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and brush for up to 2 minutes. Besides removing plaque, fluoride toothpaste makes your tooth enamel strong hence preventing tooth decay.
- Reduce consumption of sugary and starchy foods, especially between meals and before going to sleep.
- Don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing to prevent washing the protective toothpaste away. Instead, spit out the toothpaste.
- Go for regular dentist check-up.
How to Treat Tooth Abscess
Tooth abscess involves clearing the infection and managing the dental pain. Before treatment, your dentist will have to do a dental X-ray to determine the extent of the infection. Depending on the severity of the infection, below are the dental treatment options available;
- Drain the abscess and clean the infected area
- Root canal procedure
- Tooth extraction
- Remove foreign object
15 Home Remedies For a Tooth Abscess
Below are 15 home dental treatments you can use for a tooth abscess. Most of these are readily available, and you can purchase them in your local health food store. Besides, treating, some like tea tree oil can alleviate dental pain and soothe your tooth.
1. Salt Water
Using salty water is perhaps the most affordable and most accessible home remedy for a tooth abscess. You only need to mix half a cup of warm water with half a teaspoon of salt. You should rinse your mouth with the mixture for about two minutes and then spit it out. Make sure you do this at least three times a day.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda has antibacterial properties significant in killing bacteria in the affected tooth. You need to mix half a cup of water, a pinch of salt, and half a teaspoon of baking powder. Consume the mixture while swishing it in your mouth for around five minutes before spitting it out.
What essential oils are good for tooth abscess?
Oregano oil is well known in the field of medicine as an antibacterial and antioxidant. You can easily purchase the essential oil in a drugstore or food store. Oregano oil helps reduce oral or tooth pain and swelling. Oregano oil is thick and potent essential oil; as such, you should dilute it with a carrier oil before use.
Follow these simple steps for effectiveness:
- Add some drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil.
- Using a cotton ball, apply the mixture to the infected area.
- Ensure that you take some time to apply to the infected area (take three minutes).
- Remove the applicant from the infected area and leave the mixture for about ten minutes before rinsing.
- Repeat the procedure at least thrice per day.
Clove essential oil is among the oldest home remedies that are effective for tooth abscesses. Clove contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing dental pain and swelling. Since the clove oil is thick, you should dilute a few drops of the essential oil in a carrier oil.
You should use a cotton swab to apply the mixture to the affected area. Leave the mixture for a few minutes before rinsing it off. You can also make a mouthwash by mixing a few drops of the oil with water. Do not forget to use the mixture three times per day for effective results.
Thyme essential oil helps in killing parasites and bacteria while reducing swelling. You should first dilute thyme essential oil with another carrier oil and apply it to the affected area. You can use a cotton swab to apply and not your bare hands.
You can also add a few drops of thyme oil to a glass of water and make a mouthwash. For more effectiveness, use the essential oil thrice per day.
Olive oil is not commonly known as a tooth abscess remedy. However, research indicates that the oil has significant benefits in oral health and provides relief for any oral discomfort. It will only take you around ten minutes to heal from a toothache.
Take a teaspoon of olive oil and apply it directly to the infected tooth. Swirl around the infected tooth for about ten minutes. You should also ensure that the oil is evenly distributed on the infected tooth and around the gums for effectiveness.
After ten minutes, spit the olive oil and use a mouthwash to rinse it off. You should feel no discomfort after a few minutes.
Cinnamon is among the oldest traditional spices with significant health benefits. Cinnamon oil contains antimicrobial properties, particularly cinnamaldehyde, which helps kill bacteria and fungi that infect teeth. Cinnamon oil also contains supplements with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce swelling and tooth pain.
If the oil is too thick, mix a few drops of the cinnamon oil with a carrier oil. Using a cotton swab, apply the mixture to the infected tooth and the areas surrounding it. Leave the mixture for three minutes before rinsing it off. You can also make a mouthwash by adding a few drops of the cinnamon oil to a small glass of water. For better results, use the natural remedy three times a day.
Peppermint essential oil consists of methanol as its active ingredient. Methanol helps in reducing sensational pain as it is an analgesic. Peppermint oil is also used in reducing biofilm in teeth. To make a mouthwash, add a few drops of the essential oil to a glass of water.
Before use, ensure you dilute the peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil because it is a potent essential oil. You can then apply it to the infected tooth using a swab. Leave the mixture in the infected tooth for a few minutes, and then rinse it off. You can use this dental treatment at least three times a day.
Myrrh oil contains antimicrobial properties that prevent inflammation and cures the bacterial infection. To make a mouthwash, take a few drops of myrrh oil and add them to a glass of water. Consume the mixture while swishing it in your mouth for three minutes before spitting it out.
Spearmint oil is essential for oral hygiene as it heals gum infections, prevents bad breath, and can whiten your teeth. Use a few drops of spearmint oil and add them to a glass of water. Take the mixture as swish it around your mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out, do this thrice a day for best results.
You can also apply the oil directly to the infected tooth using a cotton ball. Rub the oil for about five minutes before spitting it out.
Fenugreek contains antibacterial properties that help in pain and inflammation reduction. To make the tea, use one cup of hot water and add 1 tablespoon of ground fenugreek. Stir properly before allowing the mixture to cool. Use a cotton swab to apply the mixture to the affected tooth. Repeat the process for effective results.
12. Cold Compress
A cold compress helps in pain reduction while preventing swelling. Just place some ice cubes in a dry cloth like a towel and press it against your skin near the affected tooth. Do this with an interval of about fifteen minutes multiple times a day.
13. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is essential as it aids in removing toxic substances from the teeth and the gums. Research indicates that oil pulling is significant for treating bad breath and gum disease. Oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil can be used for oil pulling.
Below is the process for oil pulling:
- Select your oil for the process.
- Take a tablespoon of your oil and rub it against your infected tooth for about twenty minutes.
- Spit the oil out and rinse your mouth.
14. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide contains antibacterial properties that help in fighting any bacterial infection. It is also essential in healing gum infections. Just mix 3% of hydrogen peroxide with water. Consume the solution while swishing it in your mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out. Repeat the procedure thrice per day for effectiveness.
Garlic is one of the natural remedies used from ancient times to treat oral infections. Garlic helps in reducing dental pain while killing bacteria-causing infections. Just take some cloves of garlic and crush them to make a fine paste. Apply the paste directly to the infected area severally.
When to See a Doctor?
If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can easily spread to other parts of your face, including your eyes. If you have a tooth infection or an oral infection, you should visit a dentist immediately.
While you can use home remedies like essential oils to treat oral infections and tooth abscess, a doctor will give you pain killers like ibuprofen for pain relief and antibiotics to treat infections, and provide dental care, which is another way to deal with tooth abscess.