Will a Shot of Whiskey Cure a Toothache?
According to the old wives tale, a shot of Whiskey will cure the common toothache. Or will it? The truth is, no it will not. In fact, it may do more harm then good because it is not a cure at all. Often times a toothache is an indicator of more serious problems to come, and postponing the treatment of which can only cause it to grow more severe, not to mention more costly as I recently found out.
Benefits of Alcohol for Toothaches
The use of Whiskey during the Civil War as a battlefield remedy for many ailments is most possibly what brought about the idea it may aid in dental care.
But alcohol such as Whiskey kills bacteria, and numbs the pain, right? While it does have the ability to ward off some bacteria and provide temporary relief, it does not possess any value as an anesthetic nor will it clear any infection or rid the mouth of a toothache. Dentists say a problem such as this requires an antibiotic combined with professional care to avoid further complications.
Considering that worldwide, 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), a lot of us have been putting off properly caring for our teeth.
Untreated Cavities Can Become More Serious
For those of us who can't afford to go to the dentist for one reason or another, this can be a daunting realization. Or if you're like most people, and you fear going to the dentist it is important to remember that going untreated can make the situation a lot more miserable.
Thankfully, dentists are better trained in this day and age than the time when most of the frightening stories we hear arose. There are better techniques and tools being utilized. Most importantly make sure you find a dentist you are comfortable with and who understands your anxiety towards having a procedure done.
How often do you have dental check-ups?
A recent poll taken in April, 2014 by the Health Resources and Services Administration shows there are currently 108 million Americans without Dental Insurance. Even those that are covered may still have trouble getting the care they need. Americans spend on average $64 billion annually on oral health care, and only 4 percent of that is paid by government programs.
Options for Dental Care Without Insurance
There are several options when it comes to seeking dental care if you are not covered by insurance. I promise there will come a point when the pain and discomfort will outweigh your reluctance to sit in the dreaded dentist's chair.
Try researching your local dental clinics where many offer services at little to no cost based on donations they receive. I have personally researched several helpful services when I had to make an appointment:
- Local Dental Colleges (These vary from state to state but it is relatively easy to find a good match for you close by)
- Craigslist (I know, it sounds weird. But try posting an ad to Barter your skills or services for dental work. There are plenty of success stories!)
Home Remedies for Toothaches
While searching for the right option for you, if you're not a big fan of whiskey, taking these dentist recommended self-care steps at home can temporarily alleviate any inflammation and pain caused by a toothache:
- Gently use floss to dislodge any food particles that could be stuck between teeth.
- Rinse several times as needed with warm salt water
- Use a piece of cotton or directly apply an over-the-counter antiseptic which contains benzocaine to the irritated tooth and surrounding gum. Oil of cloves (eugenol) may also help to numb the gums and relieve pain.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Advil or Tylenol, use extra care to avoid contact with the affected gums as it may burn the skin.
- Lastly a cold compress can be applied on the outside cheek to help reduce swelling or discomfort.
Take care of those Choppa's!
Although alcohol and other such home remedies can provide some minor relief, don't put your dental health on the back burner for too long. You will be glad you fixed the small problem now, rather than the more costly problem later.
If it's the middle of the night and the pain is too much, a shot of Whiskey sounds pretty good, until you can make it to the dentist tomorrow.