:( my mouth feels sad!
September 21, 2009 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Give me your secret home remedies for toothaches and canker sores.

I've been having all sorts of dental work done. And my teeth are feeling agrivated. I'm in the process of getting the rest of them all fixed up.

How do I soothe them in the meantime? I've been using ice packs, heat packs, using the pressure points on your hands, advil, tylenol and then the numbing stuff.

Does anyone have any secret family remedies for how to dull a toothache?


As a result of all the poking and prodding I've been doing in my mouth... I've gotten a canker sore. Now, I've gotten them before. But this one is going on a week old and it's the biggest one I've ever had before and it seems to almost be getting worse than better. I've been treating it with mouth rinses, salt-water rinses and gly-oxide.

Any tips for THOSE suckers?
posted by mittenbex to Health & Fitness (34 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Re: Canker sores. Previously on AskMe. Many good suggestions from Mefites there.
posted by HeyAllie at 11:13 AM on September 21, 2009

Not on the other list: hold a teabag against the canker sore.

I'm an Anbesol fan, myself.
posted by knile at 11:14 AM on September 21, 2009

This is ENTIRELY anecdotal, so don't mistake it for real science or anything.

I had really terrible canker sores a couple of weeks ago (I moved, started a night class, got sick, and was studying for the GRE all at the same time). They wouldn't go away until I started taking a B-complex vitamin every day, and then they vanished pretty much overnight. It was amazing.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:14 AM on September 21, 2009

Another thread that might help here. (Is there a distinction between cold sores and canker sores?)

As I mentioned in that thread, I find a dab of vanilla extract to be soothing. It's not as good as Anbesol, but it helps in a pinch.
posted by juliplease at 11:18 AM on September 21, 2009

juliplease: fyi, cold sores are the herpes virus sores you get outside your mouth, canker sores are white sores often caused just by irritation or the like that you get inside your mouth.
posted by brainmouse at 11:20 AM on September 21, 2009

ah, but now that i've read that thread, although she calls them cold sores, she's actually asking about canker sores...
posted by brainmouse at 11:21 AM on September 21, 2009

For pain, try taking aspirin instead of Advil (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen/paracetamol). Cheap, old-fashioned aspirin really works for me while the others don't always work.
posted by Houstonian at 11:22 AM on September 21, 2009

Oil of Cloves.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:26 AM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

What works for me with canker sores is keeping my mouth very clean. Brush right after eating and use a Listerine type mouthwash before bed.
posted by DarkForest at 11:26 AM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I used to get canker sores all the time as a child. What seemed to cure them for me (which I don't see mentioned on the previous list either) was rinsing twice a day (usually after brushing my teeth) with a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in warm water. I went from having at least one pretty much constantly to getting them rarely, if ever.
posted by LolaGeek at 11:30 AM on September 21, 2009

Chew a large sprig of garlic, and keep the chewed sprig directly over the aching area.

After about twenty minutes, you'll probably find the ache sharply reduced. I suggest replacing the garlic every half-hour or hour. Others suggest lower frequency.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:31 AM on September 21, 2009

I had a teacher who told us an interesting personal anecdote about using a bit of her husband's chewing snuff for a horrible toothache. She said she couldn't swear for sure that it was the snuff that worked— because she accidentally swallowed some and passed out— but the toothache was gone when she came to.
posted by Eicats at 11:33 AM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Break open or mash a antibiotic pill and apply directly. You will be amazed.
posted by JohnR at 11:35 AM on September 21, 2009

You can chew whole cloves. Numbs everything.
posted by rokusan at 11:39 AM on September 21, 2009

Cloves cloves cloves, cloves cloves cloves.
One fistful, pour boiling water over in a mug, let cool till you can rinse your mouth with it. Repeat. Bliss.
posted by Iteki at 11:49 AM on September 21, 2009


Also, saline mouth rinse (a.k.a., gargling salt water).

Mostly cloves, though.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:08 PM on September 21, 2009

Canker sores remedy from the community doctor when I was a kid:
vitamin C (like, drink OJ) and baking soda applied directly to the thing. That generally cleared it up for me in a day or two.
posted by TomMelee at 12:16 PM on September 21, 2009

When I was little, I would wet my finger and dip it into powdered alum. Then touch it to the sore. After about 10 seconds of intense pain the sore would be numb for a day or two. I tried it a few years ago (43 now) and it seemed to just make everything worse. So I don't recommend it.
posted by jockc at 12:33 PM on September 21, 2009

I'm shocked no one has mentioned raisins. Whenever I get a canker sore, I tear open a raisin and apply the split-open raisin innards to the canker sore. The canker sore usually goes away within 24-36 hours.
posted by arnicae at 12:47 PM on September 21, 2009

Regarding your tooth aches, I've had remarkable success using a water pik like this one. I use it once a day, running it along my gumline. For more sensitive areas (basically anything that hurts), I spend a little longer there. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it's quite easy and entirely worth it. Gum bleeding gone, sensitivity to hot and cold gone, and general tooth aches gone as well. It's made a big difference.
posted by incessant at 12:52 PM on September 21, 2009

I was on a remote island with no way to get to a dentist when I developed an abscess in an upper tooth. I took 2000 mg of vitamin C a couple of times a day and the swelling and pain went way down.
posted by mareli at 1:01 PM on September 21, 2009

It kind of sucks, but I would put table salt right on my canker sores and put up with the burning. It only took a couple of applications before they would go away. Also seconding incessant about the water pik. I have really sensative teeth, bleeding gums etc. and the water pik has helped soo much.
posted by Kimberly at 1:48 PM on September 21, 2009

Try rinsing with Pepto Bismol, or place one of those pepto chewable tablets right on it and let it dissolve gradually.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:53 PM on September 21, 2009

@Kimberly - Man, I thought I was the only person who did this!

I wet my finger then tamp it in a small pinch of salt, then press the salt-covered finger right against the sore and hold it there for a few minutes. It is very uncomfortable, but also seems to be very effective.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:09 PM on September 21, 2009

I get a lot of canker sores, and I've found that these are the best thing for them. They cover them while they're healing so you're not always scraping them with your teeth or tongue.
posted by Evangeline at 2:10 PM on September 21, 2009

I got canker sores for several years, but switched to SLS-free toothpaste and haven't had any since.
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:40 PM on September 21, 2009

If you have chronic canker sores and mouth problems, mix equal amounts (I always did 1 tablespoon of each) Milk of Magnesia and liquid Benadryl. Swish in the mouth for a full minute (it's disgusting as hell, I know) and then spit.

It's amazing how well it works.
posted by xingcat at 3:49 PM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

For tooth ache:
Open a cigarette and dump tobacco into a mug (no paper or filter, of course). Poor a little rubbing alcohol into mug. Set mug contents on fire. Allow to burn for a while (inside of mug should be black). Blow out the fire and make sure it's all out. Poor a little more alcohol into mug and swirl it around. Apply onto teeth/gums.
Burning the alcohol+tobacco releases the nicotine, which constricts blood vessels, decreasing inflammation.

This is for tooth aches/gum pain, NOT canker sores.
posted by Neekee at 4:05 PM on September 21, 2009

I have to agree with the advice of Rumple in HeyAllie's link to the previous thread about canker sores: Avoid toothpaste with SLS in it. Once I stopped using SLS/SLES (Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, a pretty harsh detergent) toothpaste I never got a canker sore again.
posted by wiretap at 4:55 PM on September 21, 2009

For toothaches: hold a cut garlic clove on the tooth in question for as long as you can stand it.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:11 PM on September 21, 2009

I've never had a canker sore prob. but I've read that avoiding toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate can help with canker sores. Might be worth the switch for a month.
posted by mercredi at 7:22 PM on September 21, 2009

whoops, preview.
posted by mercredi at 7:22 PM on September 21, 2009

Did your dentist not have any advice? I would ask him/her about it; pain could indicate complications or other problems.

As for canker sores, I remember having one as a kid that was around for a long time. Eventually I got strep throat (unrelated), and was prescribed antibiotics. The canker sore was gone the next day.

You need a prescription for antibiotics, so just ask your dentist.
posted by jrockway at 11:18 AM on September 22, 2009

I just said this in another tooth-related thread, but: for acute tooth pain, brandy on a cottonball and plenty of ibuprofen.

Having been through a nasty cavity and subsequent root canal, this is what I discovered the hard way.
posted by Ouisch at 12:16 PM on September 23, 2009

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