An Uninvited, Unwelcome ’’Guest”. Isn’t it always the case- a toothache arriving at the worst time? Your house is alive with Christmas chatter and Christmas cheer. The festively decorated table, laden with goodies, is literally groaning under the weight of the Christmas culinary delights as your mouth waters in anticipation. And then, disaster strikes-- the unmistakable pain in the mouth announcing the onset of a gnawing toothache! What could be worse than a toothache at one of the most hearty mealtimes of the year? Oh, what to do !?!
’’An Ounce of Prevention…”
Chances are, the toothache wasn’t a complete surprise. You might have felt twinges of discomfort for days or even weeks prior. That’s where you made your first mistake—not seeking dental treatment from us sooner. A toothache could have been prevented. How? Let’s examine the possibilities. As a Forest & Ray patient, you could have:
- Had the regularly scheduled six-month checkup which you conveniently missed.
- Had your fillings checked and replaced prior to the holidays
Too Late, Toothache Is Here
Oh well, too late to do anything about it now. Christmas is here and you’re hungry—a toothache or not. So, what can you eat and what foods should you avoid? Even if you didn’t have a toothache, the rule of thumb for good dental health is to avoid sugary, syrupy, and fatty foods and drink. Innocent looking eggnog is not so innocent as it contains loads of sugars, acids, and fats which are harmful to your teeth and your body. Acid-laden citrus fruits and tomato-based sauces can cause a toothache to act up, so it is best to avoid them.
But the real culprits are the hard foods, so:
- Peanut Brittle
- Candy Canes
- Gingerbread cookies
- Christmas pudding (if stiff)
- Raw vegetables
- Bananas, applesauce, and other soft fruits
- Peach, pear, and apricot nectars
- Well- cooked veggies which are tender
- Mashed potatoes
- Pureed meats
- Cottage Cheese, yogurt
- Custards and gelatin
You would also do well to cut foods into smaller bits and let hot foods stand a while to cool so you won’t irritate the tooth further.
Home Remedies In The Meantime
Don’t despair that you can’t see the dentist until after the holidays. Relief is close at hand in the comfort of your own home. Here are some tried-and-true home remedies for temporary relief of toothache pain:
1. Salt Water Rinse (warm)-salt is a natural disinfectant and the warm water will soothe the painful tooth. Simply mix 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt into a glass of warm water and use it as a mouthwash. It will also loosen irritating food particles around the tooth.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse- similar to salt, this will kill the pain-inducing bacteria in the inflamed area. Be sure to dilute properly: mix 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water and use it as a mouthwash. Don’t swallow it.
3. Cold Compress-a cold compress causes the blood vessels in the area to constrict making pain less severe. The cold can also reduce any swelling and inflammation. Simply hold a towel-wrapped bag of ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time; repeat every few hours.
4. Peppermint Tea Bag- apply warm or chilled tea bag to the affected area. This will numb/soothe.
5. Garlic- recognized for millennia as a pain reliever, it can also kill bacteria. Crush a garlic clove to create a paste and apply it to the tooth. Feel free to add a bit of salt. Or, you can slowly chew a clove of fresh garlic.
6. Clove- like garlic, clove has been used to treat toothaches for ages; the oil can numb pain because it contains eugenol, which is a natural antiseptic.
7. Thyme- is a powerful antibacterial for treating things like toothaches. Dab a few drops of thyme essential oil and a few drops of water onto a cotton ball. Dilute the oil with water and, apply to the affected area.
8. Vanilla Extract- this effective home remedy is purposely listed last because it contains alcohol. A no-no for some, it’s a proven antioxidant and thus is an effective healer. Simply dab a small amount of vanilla extract onto your finger or a cotton ball. Apply it directly to the affected area a few times per day.
Naturally, the Forest & Ray family hopes that a toothache this Christmas is not in your Christmas stocking. But if it is, we hope the information above will help you get through the holidays without too much discomfort. We wish you happy holidays and look forward to seeing you in the New Year!