Questions & Answers: At Home Natural Dental Treatments (& Precautions)
Frequently people will ask me what natural treatments there are for various oral problems. This month I would like to discuss some of these in a question and answer format.
What can I do for a toothache until I get to my dentist?
There are several things you can try.
1) You can try rinsing with cold or hot water. Sometimes one or the other will relieve the pain.
2) Ask your pharmacist for a gel that contains the anesthetic lidocaine or benzocaine. Rub this around the offending tooth.
3) Try soaking a cotton ball in clove or wintergreen oil and place it on the tooth.
4) Some homeopathic remedies can be very helpful. Hypericum is excellent for nerve pain. Calcarea carb is indicated if a tooth is sensitive to both hot and cold. If it feels as if the tooth is abscessing, Hepar Sulph will help bring it to a head and it will start to discharge the pus. A combination homeopathic called Traumeel, which can be purchased at many health food stores, can be very helpful.
Caution: Never place aspirin or other such pain relievers against the tooth, as they can burn the tissue.
What can I do for bad breath?
Sinus problems, gum disease and tooth decay can all be factors that contribute to producing bad breath. What do you do, however, if these have been ruled out? Make sure you are keeping your mouth clean; bacteria feeding on food debris give off sulphur gases, (and we all know how rotten eggs smell).
Also, make sure you are dinking enough water. Dehydration can cause bad breath and is the major cause of the bad breath you experience when you wake up in the morning.
Finally, take action to correct constipation. Constipation can contribute to bad breath. Most people do not realize that having only one bowel movement a day is considered constipation. I see many patients that go days without a bowel movement!
Some nutritional supplements that can help bad breath include chlorophyll and alfalfa tea. Both help purify the blood and help remove toxins from the gut.
Drinking 8 oz of warm water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey will also help cleanse your system.
If the halitosis is persistent, see your dentist and also your physician. Some systemic diseases like diabetes or cancer can also cause bad breath.
I grind my teeth during sleep, what can I do?
If this is something new, it is probably due to stress. Often with the passing of the stressful situation, the bruxing (grinding) will cease. In the meantime, saying to yourself as you are falling asleep, “lips together, teeth apart” is often beneficial.
Taking a calcium/magnesium supplement at bedtime may be helpful. Try ingesting 5 tablets of the tissue salt magnesium phosphate prior to sleep. (Tissue salts are often available at health food stores.) If the problem persists, make sure you see your dentist; a nightguard or bite adjustment may be necessary.
Children sometimes grind their teeth as new teeth are coming in and the dentition is in a state of change. Magnesium phosphate can also be helpful for them. With younger children grinding is sometimes caused by worms.
What can I do if my child has a permanent tooth knocked out?
First, rinse the tooth in cold water. Place the tooth in milk. If it happens at a sporting event, a first aid kit may have a vial of sterile saline into which the tooth can be placed. If there is no sterile solution or milk available have your child place the tooth in their mouth between the back teeth and their cheek. Get to a dentist ASAP. Traditional treatment is a root canal and reimplantation. However, you may wish to try saving the tooth without a root canal. A root canal can always be done in the future if necessary. Children’s systems are resilient and if the tooth is reimplanted in a timely manner, the blood and nerve supply may reconnect. Giving homeopathics such as Traumeel, Arnica or Hypericum will be very beneficial.
I had an 8 year old boy who had a front tooth knocked out during a sledding accident. The tooth was reimplanted without a root canal and homeopathics were given. Four years later, the tooth is in place and vital.