Out of all the things that can go wrong with your teeth, infection is one of the worst. It hurts badly and if not treated promptly, it can lead to serious problems, such as the loss of one or more teeth or an abscess on your gums that could spread to other parts of your body if left untreated. The good news is that there are many home remedies for tooth infection that you can use right away in order to give yourself some relief until you can visit your dentist’s office.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Massaging a few drops of peppermint essential oil into your gums can have pain-relieving properties. You can either buy it or make it at home (one to two tablespoons of dried mint per cup of water) then dip a clean finger in and rub it on your gums. Be sure to let it sit before rinsing with warm water. This works especially well when done right after flossing, but don’t be afraid to massage some in even if you haven’t brushed yet; bacteria are still prevalent even after you floss.

Saltwater Rinse

While we typically associate saltwater with feeling fresh, it also makes a good home remedy for a tooth infection. The next time you have an infected tooth, boil some water and add 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt to it. Let it cool and then gargle with it. You can also combine 2 teaspoons of sea salt with 1/2 cup warm water and rinse your mouth with that mixture. These salty solutions will help soothe your mouth and remove food particles that may be causing irritation. Also use these home remedies right after you floss to make sure no food is left in between your teeth!

Apple Cider Vinegar

As you may know, conventional antibiotics work by killing bacteria. The problem is that they kill all of them, good and bad. ACV helps with your first layer of defense by naturally inhibiting harmful bacteria growth in your mouth (which, in theory, should help to lower your risk of developing cavities). To use ACV as a home remedy for tooth infection just mix one part ACV with two parts water; then gargle and spit three times a day (for 20 seconds each time). Be sure to swallow a few times too so that you get it into your system. You can also swish it around in between applications but don’t drink it—this is only intended to be used topically!

Green Tea

You know that toothache you get when you’ve had a cavity or a chipped tooth? The fastest way to relieve that ache is to apply an ice cube directly to your cheek or gum. This cools down your nerve endings and numbs your entire mouth in seconds. Just make sure you pop out any loose filling beforehand so you don’t chip another tooth while you try to dull your pain! Over-the-counter pain relievers can be helpful in relieving inflammation, but they won’t knock out an inflamed tooth nearly as well as ice cubes will. Chomping on sugarless candy can also bring relief; just stay away from chocolate, which can actually cause bacteria in your mouth to release more irritating compounds.

Ice Cubes

An oldie but a goodie. The cold helps soothe inflammation, and it numbs pain. For best results, keep ice cubes in your mouth—don’t let them touch any of your teeth or gums. If you have instant-cold packs, you can use those instead. Ice is great if you just need something to hold on to while you wait out a toothache, but it shouldn’t be used to fight an infection (unless recommended by a dentist). If your gum becomes sore and inflamed after using ice cubes, stop immediately.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a herb that has been used to treat inflammation of different kinds. It also can be used as a natural remedy for tooth infection. To prepare it, pour hot water over chamomile tea bags and leave them in your mouth by biting on them after rinsing your mouth with it. Do not swallow. Repeat up to 4 times daily until symptoms improve. Chamomile is also known to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective home remedy for any kind of oral health problem such as toothache or gum infections.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Turmeric is commonly used as a spice in Asian cooking. Research shows that turmeric helps kill germs and inflammation, which makes it an excellent home remedy for tooth infections. Simply make a paste by combining 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1/4 cup of warm water and rubbing it on your teeth with your fingers or a soft toothbrush. Do not swallow, because you will be ingesting turmeric—and doing so too often could cause stomach upset. Instead, spit into your sink (do not rinse) and rinse thoroughly after ten minutes to minimize staining. For best results use before bed while you sleep at night; when waking up, brush gently to get rid of bacteria!

Turmeric Paste

Mix 1⁄2 tablespoon turmeric powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply to affected area and let sit for at least ten minutes before rinsing away. The antibacterial properties in turmeric help fight off infections, while salt helps reduce swelling and pain. Honey has antibiotic properties as well and will help relieve some of your discomfort if applied directly to your sore tooth or gum tissue. Make sure you’re applying a warm compress on any area that feels like it’s infected to help keep things under control until you can see a dentist about getting antibiotics or other prescription medication. If you’re concerned about bacteria spreading through your mouth, you may want to consider flossing with baking soda mixed with water after applying any home remedies for tooth infection.

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