10 Home Remedies for a Tooth Abscess

Medically reviewed by Christine Frank, DDS on February 12, 2018Written by Kitty Jay on February 12, 2018

A tooth abscess can be caused by infections that develop inside the tooth. Bacteria can enter the tooth when it’s chipped, broken, or decaying.

Once the bacteria reach the center of the tooth and the tooth becomes infected, pus accumulates in the tooth. The pus in the tooth swells and results in a toothache. If not treated, the infection could spread to the gums and bone of the mouth.

A tooth abscess should be treated by a dentist, but some home remedies can relieve the discomfort caused by the infection.

Home remedies

The following home remedies can be applied along with prescribed treatments:

1. Salt water rinse

Rinsing your mouth with salt water is an easy and affordable option for temporary relief of your abscessed tooth. It can also promote wound healing and healthy gums.

To use this remedy:

  1. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of normal table salt with 1/2 cup of warm tap water.
  2. Rinse your mouth with the salt water; try to swish it around inside your mouth for at least two minutes.
  3. Spit the water out.

Repeat up to three times per day.

2. Baking soda

Baking soda is another affordable option for treating your abscessed tooth, and you may already have some in your kitchen cabinet. Baking soda is excellent for removing plaque in the mouth, and it also has antibacterial properties.

To use this remedy:

  1. Mix 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda with 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt.
  2. Swish the mixture in your mouth for up to five minutes.
  3. Spit out and repeat until you have finished the mixture.

You can repeat this up to two times per day.

3. Oregano oil

Oregano oil is an all-natural remedy that can be purchased in a health food store or drugstore. Oregano oil is an anti-bacterial and antioxidant, and it can help reduce the swelling and pain of your abscessed tooth.

To use this remedy:

  1. Apply a few drops of pure oregano oil to a cotton ball or swab.
  2. Hold the oregano oil on the infected area for two to three minutes.
  3. Remove the cotton ball or swab. Leave the oregano oil on for at least 10 minutes, and then rinse.

Repeat up to three times per day.

4. Cold compress

A cold compress will help to reduce pain and swelling.

To use this remedy:

  1. Place ice cubes in a dry towel.
  2. Hold the compress against your skin near the affected area.
  3. The compress can be used for 15-minute intervals.

This may be repeated multiple times per day.

5. Fenugreek tea

Fenugreek has antibacterial properties and a long history of use as a home remedy for healing wounds and reducing inflammation. Ground fenugreek can be found in the spice aisle of your supermarket.

To use this remedy:

  1. Make a fenugreek tea by heating 1 cup of water in a saucepan and stirring in 1 teaspoon of ground fenugreek.
  2. Allow the mixture to cool.
  3. Apply a small amount to the affected area using a cotton ball.
  4. Repeat up to three times per day.

6. Clove oil

Clove oil has been used since ancient times as a natural toothache remedy, and it may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

You can use this remedy several ways:

  1. Apply it directly to the affected area by placing a few drops on a cotton ball or swab. You may wish to dilute the potent oil with a carrier oil like jojoba.
  2. You can also make a clove oil mouthwash by placing a few drops of the oil into a small glass of water.

Clove oil may be used up to three times per day.

7. Thyme oil

Thyme oil is another potent yet natural oil that may kill parasites, fight bacteria, and reduce swelling.

You can use this remedy several ways:

  1. Thyme oil can be applied directly to the affected area with a cotton ball or swab.
  2. You can also make a mouthwash by adding a few drops of thyme oil to a small glass of water.

Use the thyme oil up to three times per day.

8. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent remedy for fighting a bacterial infection. It can also help to reduce plaque and bleeding gums.

To use this remedy:

  1. Mix equal parts 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with water.
  2. Swish the solution around in your mouth, and then spit. Make sure not to swallow any of the solution.

Hydrogen peroxide may be used multiple times per day.

9. Oil pulling

Oil pulling is another ancient means of oral hygiene that has been used to treat mouth ailments. It’s believed that oil pulling removes toxins from the teeth and gums. Limited studies show that oil pulling is a good treatment for bleeding gums, bad breath, and reducing bacteria.

Good oils for oil pulling include raw coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil. Oil pulling is recommended in the morning on an empty stomach.

To use this remedy:

1. Take one tablespoon of oil into your mouth.

2. Swish around through your teeth vigorously for up to 20 minutes.

3. Do not swallow the oil. Spit the oil out in a garbage can, not your sink, to avoid clogged pipes.

10. Garlic

Garlic is another natural remedy with an ancient history of many beneficial therapeutic uses, including as a pain manager and bacteria killer.

To use this remedy:

  1. Make a paste by crushing a fresh clove of garlic.
  2. Rub the paste on the infected area.

This can be repeated multiple time per day.

When to see a doctor

An abscessed tooth is a serious infection that could spread to other parts of the mouth if left untreated. If you have a tooth abscess, you should see a doctor immediately. The home remedies listed above are meant as complementary treatments to the ones prescribed by a doctor.

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