In our Ask The Doctor series, Z Living’s in-house health and wellness expert, Dr Jonathan D’Souza answers your questions and shares his tips for making the rest of your life the best of your life.
Q: How do I get rid of a tooth infection?
A: “Most tooth infections are characterized by the formation of an abscess. An abscess is the result of a bacterial infection that causes a buildup of pus. A tooth abscess begins at the center of the tooth and spread to the gums and jaws if left untreated.
Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth abscesses. An injury to the tooth resulting from it breaking or chipping may also cause an infection. This enamel opening can allow bacteria to enter and infect the center of the tooth. It begins to spread if the tooth is ignored.
Once the infection has begun, pus, which is made up of live and dead bacteria, white blood cells and dead tissue, begins to develop. This causes inflammation of tissues that give rise to a tooth abscess.
The first line of treatment involved the use of antibiotics to kill the infection and save the tooth.
Here are a few home remedies to help manage the pain resulting from a tooth infection.
- Soak a washcloth in hot water and apply it over the affected area outside the mouth. Do this for 15 minutes twice daily.
- Take an OTC painkiller to take the edge off the pain.
- Do not put an aspirin over the abscess or gums to kill the pain as it could cause further irritation of the skin and cause mouth ulcers.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help soothe the pain. Salt water has antiseptic properties that fight off infection. Regular rinsing with salt water provides effective drainage of pus.
- Put a few drops of clove oil on some cotton wool and dab it on the abscess to numb the pain.
A tooth infection can be a sign of an acute infection. Consult a dentist if you notice any substance oozing from the tooth.”