Can You Cure a Toothache with Food?

Toothaches can be a dull annoyance or a terrifying pain. Most of us have gotten them, and those who haven’t are probably lying. Most people ignore them, or take an over-the-counter painkiller.

In 2011 I had an abscess, which was the negative result of a deep filling I’d received before. An abscess is an infection that reaches the root of your tooth, under the bone. The pain was unbearable; the worst I had felt in my life. I needed a root canal. I had a prescription for 800mg of Ibuprofen but it didn’t kill 100% of the pain. Before my root canal appointment, I tried everything to compensate for what the painkillers missed: gargling salt water, brushing with toothpaste repeatedly, chewing raw onions, applying Orajel, and the list goes on.

The Orajel hardly worked for my extreme pains. The Maximum Strength version has menthol in it, and the cooling sensation seemed to make me feel even more sensitive to the ache. If your teeth are normally sensitive to cold, I’d avoid topical gels with menthol. Gargling saltwater is an oldie-but-goodie; lots of people use it as their primary toothache remedy. The problem with swishing the saltwater is the taste. Having that stuff in your mouth can be gross, so we end up spitting the water out too quickly.

I sat at home for days, and could not chew. That inability to eat lead me to my magic toothache cure… Chicken Soup.

Yes, chicken soup has been used by moms for centuries. In some homes, Campbell’s is synonymous with NyQuil. Though soup is commonly given to kids for a cold, it works amazingly for a toothache. Salt is a powerful antiseptic and can kill many microbes that are damaging your teeth.

The sodium in your average chicken-noodle soup dulls the pain similarly to saltwater, but because we like soup, we keep it in our mouths longer, thus receiving all the benefits. Soup often contains onion and garlic, which are also helpful remedies (but not many people want to chew up a garlic clove.) When I had my tooth ache, I preferred soups that come with flavoring packets (Lipton’s Soup Secrets, especially) and I had relief for at least a few hours – with an abscess, a few hours can feel like eternal heaven. But now that I’m more interested in my diet and health, I’d rather make soup at home. Whatever you choose, don’t skimp on the salt.

If you are on a low-sodium diet, try chewing on onions and garlic instead. They are both very good for the teeth, though not very favorable.

Always see a dentist for severe pain, as poor oral health can lead to heart disease.

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