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Garlic and Toothache

Garlic and Toothache

You probably won't find raw garlic in your dentist's surgery - but it has long had a place in lore for the home treatment of toothache. The great Hippocrates recommended garlic as a remedy for tooth ache, although to be honest he recommended garlic remedies for almost everything!

How Is It Used?

Whilst some folklore talks of applying garlic externally it is unlikely that this would provide any immediate relief. Most traditional uses of garlic to alleviate the pain of a toothache suggest crushing it (to release the allicin) and placing it inside the mouth, right next to the affected tooth. Sometimes the garlic is used in conjunction with other herbal ingredients, most usually cloves or clove oil.

Remember that crushed garlic is very strong and can cause skin irritation - use with caution.

Does It Work?

The effectiveness of garlic on toothache doesn't appear to have been studied extensively, so we only have anecdotal accounts of its value. Certainly some sufferers are convinced that it can to help relieve the throbbing pain of an aching tooth, at least in the short term.

The reason that garlic might be effective in relieving the pain of toothache is almost certainly the allicin - a compound with a powerful antibiotic effect that is released when garlic is crushed. It's possible that this could help to slow down any bacteria or infection involved, however it is unlikely that garlic alone could halt decay and stop further deterioration.

Garlic might provide some short term pain relief if you have a mild tooth ache, however it should not be seen as a cure or as an alternative to expert dental treatment or traditional medicine. It's probably best thought of as a short term palliative.

Always consult a qualified professional concerning medical matters.