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Essential oils for tooth pain, toothaches and painful gums

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Toothache always seems to occur at a time when it can be hard to see a dentist.

Waking in the night with painful gums due to infection or an erupting tooth is one of the most miserable things.  However, it is easier than you think to self-help and find relief from items you will have around in your home, either in the larder or bathroom cabinet.  Just applying some soothing topical relief can help you through the night reducing discomfort and easing you back to sleep.

Essential oils have a long and illustrious reputation of soothing inflammation and helping fight infection.  You are bound to have at least one of these already in your home, they are nature’s war chest helping to fight the misery of toothache and sore and painful gums.

Clove, Thyme or Oregano Oil for Teeth

Our favorite is clove essential oil. Gently dab directly on an aching tooth with clove essential oil with a cotton ball for pain relief, or a few drops on your toothbrush combined with your usual toothpaste.

H’ana Clove Essential Oil – ($6.99) put a few drops on your toothbrush for tooth pain

Oregano oil reduces pain, swelling and inflammation due to its active ingredient, carvacrol.

Oregano oil is extremely potent so it must be diluted before you use it, one drop of oil to a teaspoon of a carrier or base oil like coconut oil. Thyme is another larder favorite and again must be used in dilute form.  They both can make a great mouthwash, one drop of oil in a glass of warm water to cleanse and refresh your mouth and help ward off infection.


plants essential oils with analgesic properties
Table: “Plant essential oils with analgesic properties” (source)

Wisdom Teeth

So-called because they start erupting during the late teens and carry on into the early twenties.  They can be troublesome and painful and for many people their first experience of the soreness and discomfort of teething since the lost memory of infancy.  Fortunately, there is a range of essential oils some of which you will already have in your bathroom cabinet which are quick and easy to use offering effective relief from pain and discomfort.

  • Peppermint Oil – peppermint oil is a great cooling soother of sore and inflamed gums. Rub it directly onto the gum for instant relief or soak a cotton wool ball with oil to create a compress and tuck it into the space at the back of your mouth where the wisdom tooth is erupting or next to the troublesome tooth.  Peppermint oil will also freshen breath which can taste unpleasant and sour with a tooth infection or gum sore
  • Oil of Cloves – sticking cloves into empty sockets after the removal of teeth used to be a dentist’s favorite in the last century; Clove oil has long been known as a reliever of toothache and an analgesic and pain reliever. It contains a chemical called Eugenol which not only diminishes pain but fights infections and helps to relieve mouth sores safely.  It also controls the number of bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth.  Oil of Cloves is commonly found in many toothpaste brands and is still used by the dental profession as part of their treatment for abscesses and other orthodontic procedures
  • Lavender Oil – a couple of drops of lavender oil in warm water can create a mouthwash which will help alleviate the symptoms of a toothache. Lavender oil is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and has a calming scent which soothes the trauma of a painful mouth
  • Tea Tree Oil – a weapon against bacteria, most people have a stash of Tea Tree oil as it is so useful for numerous health conditions. Tea tree oil will kill bacteria in your mouth and fight infection with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.  Many people use tea tree oil routinely as part of their daily mouth care routine – try a drop or two on your toothbrush each night
  • Bay Essential Oil – more of an unusual resident of the bathroom cabinet, bay oil comes from the bay leaf which you probably have in your kitchen. Bay leaf has analgesic qualities which can help with the facial pain encountered with a toothache caused by inflammation in the cranial nerves.
  • Myrrh oil – not just for Christmas, myrrh is excellent at promoting the healing of mouth sores and canker if your pain originates from one of these rather than a sore or infected tooth. Myrrh has a pleasant, woody scent

Red Cross Toothache Medication Drops

Red Cross Toothache contains 85% Natural Eugenol Oil (Eugenol is extracted from certain essential oils especially from clove oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, basil and bay leaf)

Essential oils are easy to use and handy if you are out and about for instant relief during your busy day.  Always remember that essential oils can be very potent and need to be used with care and almost always diluted.  They are not suitable for teething infants, younger children or pregnant women and should also not be applied where the skin is broken.

cleaner teeth with essential oils

Use essential oils as part of your daily oral hygiene regime.

They have proven benefits in helping to maintain a healthy mouth environment.  Selected oils can be blended in a base oil to provide a natural mouthwash which will not only freshen breath but leave your teeth and gums feeling clean and strong.  A daily sloosh will deter the build-up of plaque and keep mouth bacteria to acceptable levels warding off infections.

Many oils also help to whiten the teeth, a natural alternative to whitening products almost all of which contain bleach or bleach derivatives. Used with care, essential oils offer the perfect remedy for a super clean healthy mouth both day to day and when you have tooth problems.

Homemade mouth wash: A recipe for pain relief for your teeth and gums

You can try mixing a small of the essential oils we’ve listed above in an eggcup, then dip your toothbrush in the mixture and then add the toothpaste before cleaning your teeth. While this approach works really well (and it’s what we prefer to do), you could make yourself a mouth wash or spray too.

To make a spray, use a small clean spray bottle, ideally one that has never had any contents inside it. If you’re re-using a bottle sterilize it with boiling water before you reuse it.

First, fill your bottle with sterilized water (boil it, let it cool). Then, and add five (5) drops of essential oils of choice per ounce of carrier oil. Spray on the affected area as needed, or rinse and spit if you’re using the solution as a mouth wash.

Important: avoid allowing the essential oils to touch your skin without first being diluted in a carrier oil, for example, sweet almond oil. Never swallow essential oils. Swish the mixture around your mouth, rinse with water after and spit it out in the sink.

References and Further Reading

Analgesic Potential of Essential Oils:

Home remedies for a toothache:

Wisdom teeth pain relief:

Essential Oils for toothache:

Is clove oil effective for a toothache?

Natural remedies for a toothache:

The essential oils to turn to when you get a toothache: