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Using Cloves for Tooth Pain

Updated on September 14, 2011
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Using cloves for tooth pain is an age old remedy that is very effective.  It is important to remember that the clove will not cure the underlying problem but will only offer you some welcome relief until you can get in to see your dentist.

Cloves come from an evergreen tree which is native to Indonesia. The large oval leaves are easy to identify as are the masses of crimson flowers produced.

When the flowers begin to bud they are collected and dried. These dried buds are what you see in the grocery store in the familiar bottle labeled whole cloves.  While Indonesia produces the majority of cloves there are other countries that produce this important spice.

  • India
  • Madagascar
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tanzania
  • Zanzibar


Cloves Contain a Natural Anesthetic

Cloves are an anti inflammatory, anti microbial, anti fungal and an analgesic. They contain a strong anesthetic, eugenol. This substance stops pain by numbing nerves but its antimicrobial action helps to kill the germs contributing to the infection.

Using Cloves for Toothache Pain

Cloves can be used in one of three different forms.

Oil – The oil is available in many pharmacies. It is a very strong anesthetic and should be used with caution. It only takes a little of the clove oil to relieve toothache pain. Just dip a piece of cotton in the oil and then swab the painful area with it. The oil is the most effective form of cloves for use with an exposed nerve. You can soak a small piece of cotton in the oil and pack into the cavity to stop the pain almost immediately.

Powder – Use the powdered or ground cloves by taking a pinch and placing it between your gum and cheek. As the cloves mix with your saliva the mouth will begin to be numb.

Whole – To use whole cloves take a few of them and hold them in your mouth where the pain radiates from. As they soften bite down on them to release more of the eugenol. Numbness will begin within a few moments. Remove after thirty minutes and replace with fresh cloves if you need to.

Which form is used is totally up to the preference of the person using them.


Clove oil especially is a strong substance that can cause burning, gastric upset, or other problems. It is important that you do not use straight clove oil on children but mix it with olive oil before applying to the painful site.

You should also never use clove oil when a root canal will need to be done because the oil can cause inflammation and actually compound the problem.

Always See Your Dentist

Remember that using cloves for toothache pain is only intended to give you relief from the constant throbbing pain until you can get to your dentist for real help. It is a temporary measure.  While it does relieve the pain and may even help kill off the infection the underlying cause of the problem will still be there and need to be addressed. Usually toothaches are caused by one of the following situations:

  • Abscess or cavity
  • Broken tooth
  • Cracked tooth
  • Infection
  • Loss of a filling

These issues can't be fixed by the cloves; you must see a dentist for care. The longer you wait the more chance that your tooth has of becoming so infected that you need a root canal or to have it pulled. Having a supply of clove oil and cotton on hand is a great way to prepare for those dental emergencies that so often happen after hours or on the weekends.


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    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 6 years ago

      Great Hub. This is very useful information for people who are looking for a natural remedy for relieving tooth pain. I wish I would of known of this when I had a tooth ache a few months ago. Now I know! Thank you!

    • CARIBQUEEN profile image

      CARIBQUEEN 6 years ago

      Thank you. This is a piece of wisdom that I can share with others who tend to suffer from time to time with toothache.

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Palen 6 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      This is true. When I was little, my mom (a nurse) would have us use clove if we had tooth pain until we could get to a dentist.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for such a great advice.

    • profile image

      eudociadavis 6 years ago

      Absolutely True Clove does work when you feel pain in you teeth.

      good work.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Good hub,thanks for sharing.

    • jacques.gim profile image

      jacques.gim 6 years ago from Lancashire

      Cloves I do not like the taste of it but it does work.