How To Use Cloves To Take Care Of A Toothache

Medically reviewed by Dr. Thomas Connelly, DDS
Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Definitely not pleasing to taste. But that’s not why one takes cloves anyway. I don’t have to tell you about the goodness of cloves. Especially when it comes to a toothache, considering cloves for toothache can do wonders.

Which is what we will see in this post.

And psst… clove and clove oil have been used interchangeably in this post. But both mean the same. More or less.

Cloves – A Brief

Commonly used as a spice, cloves are commercially harvested in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar. They are the aromatic flower buds of a tree. This tree is evergreen and can grow anywhere between 8 to 12 meters tall.

Cloves are a popular addition to Asian, African, and a few Middle Eastern cuisines. They are used to lend flavor to meats, marinades, and curries, and even to certain hot beverages.

Given the bioactive chemicals the spice contains, clove is also used as an ant repellent. The spice is largely used to treat digestive issues and improve other bodily functions – the most important of those being in the treatment of dental problems (1).

That’s not all – there is more to clove than what we have seen till now.

What Research Says About Clove Oil

Cloves For Toothache

Image: Shutterstock

Research states numerous benefits of clove oil. One of those is its importance as an anti-inflammatory agent, given the presence of a compound called eugenol.

The oil of cloves aids in the treatment of ailments like acne and candida as well. Clove oil is extremely rich in antioxidants and benefits your health in numerous other ways.

As per studies, clove oil can be used to treat other ailments like cough, cold, sinusitis, and sore throat. It acts as a digestive aid and prevents nausea and vomiting. It acts as an antiseptic as well – addressing fungal infections and helping relieve athlete’s foot (2).

Clove oil has also been found to help with premature ejaculation (3). Most of these benefits can be attributed to the presence of eugenol (which we have discussed), acetyl eugenol, and caryophyllene.

Well, clove is great for this and that – but as we come back to the actual topic, we begin to understand its immense value in helping cure toothaches.

[ Read: Effective Home Remedies For Toothache ]

How Clove Oil Works For Toothache

This is where we get a better picture about eugenol. This ingredient in clove oil possesses natural anesthetic and antiseptic properties – both of which help reduce inflammation in the mouth. As per a study, eugenol is much more effective than any other analgesic when it comes to oral surgeries and tooth extraction (4). But keep in mind that clove or clove oil has an unpleasant taste and can cause certain side effects – which is why it must be given only to adults and older children who wouldn’t swallow it (the clove) by mistake.

Eugenol also helps numb the problem area – which makes it easy to conduct a surgery. Another study involved the use of homemade clove gel, 20% benzocaine, and a placebo (5). The study results showed that the clove gel achieved the same success as benzocaine (an ingredient used in ointments) – meaning the two significantly reduced the pain. That said, benzocaine can cause allergic reactions and other side effects – which is where clove emerges as a safer and better alternative (6).

Knowing how clove works for a toothache isn’t a big deal – most websites on the internet can give you that information in seconds. What matters is how you can use clove to help treat your toothache. That’s the real deal.

And that’s what we will look at now.

Ways To Use Clove Oil For Toothache Relief

Cloves For Toothache

Image: Shutterstock

There are different ways of using clove oil for tooth pain. Take a look:

1. Whole Cloves For Toothache

This is where you will be using cloves in their whole herbal form.

  1. Take one to three whole pieces of this spice and place them next to the tooth that is causing pain.
  2. Now, wait for a while. The clove pieces will slowly soften. Gently grind them. This releases the clove oils into your mouth. They run over the affected area and ease the inflammation and pain.
  3. You can leave the clove pieces in the area for about 20 minutes.

You can also chew and eat the cloves. Otherwise, you can rinse your mouth with a warm salt solution (½ teaspoon of salt in 30 ml of water) and spit the pieces out. Don’t worry if you experience a tingling sensation lingering in your mouth. That’s common. It will subside in 10 minutes.

And here’s a recipe for you – using whole cloves for a toothache.

Cinnamon-Clove syrup

What You Need
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of ground or whole cloves
  1. Take a small saucepan and combine all the ingredients in it.
  2. Keep it uncovered.
  3. Bring it to a boil, stirring the sugar all the while to dissolve it.
  4. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5.  Let it cool down. Remove the cinnamon pieces and cloves. If you had used clove powder in place of whole cloves, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth.
  6. Pour the syrup into a glass container. Ensure the lid is secure.
  7. Refrigerate.

You can use this syrup to add zing to your cocktails or other non-alcoholic drinks.

[ Read: Home Remedies To Get Relief From Wisdom Tooth Pain ]

2. Ground Cloves For Toothache

Ground cloves work well too. Preparing them is simple. First, you can ground the cloves normally.

  1. Take 1/8 teaspoon of the ground cloves and add them to a bowl. To these, add ¼ teaspoon of olive oil.
  2. Stir thoroughly until it is properly mixed.
  3. Dip a cotton swab into the mixture and then apply it to the inflamed area in your mouth – advisably on the painful tooth and the surrounding area.
  4. Leave the cotton swab on the tooth for about 20 minutes. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with warm salt water.

If you don’t want to use a cotton swab, there is another option. Take a pinch of ground clove and apply it to the affected area in your mouth. The saliva will do its job and help your tooth.

3. Clove Oil

You can apply the oil directly to your tooth to help relieve the pain.

  1. Take a cotton swab and dip one end of it into the clove oil.
  2. Apply the oil directly to the painful tooth and the inflamed area surrounding it.
  3. Take the swab out and let the oil rest on the affected area for about 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse your mouth with a solution of salt water.

One thing to make a note of is that the nerve of the tooth might get exposed. In that case, you need to be extra cautious. And yes, this oil is not going to taste nice. It will take you a while to get used to it.

Also, try not to swallow the oil.

4. Clove Oil Compress

This has been touted as the most effective method for treating toothache. This is plain good news for anyone who detests putting clove directly into their mouth.

  1. Add ½ teaspoon of olive oil to a bowl. To this, add 2 to 3 drops of clove oil. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Take a cotton ball and dip it into the mixture.
  3. Apply it to the painful tooth and the surrounding area.
  4. Hold the ball in place by gently biting down on it.
  5. This is called the compress.
  6. Leave it as it is for about 20 minutes. Then, remove the ball and rinse your mouth with a warm salt solution.

[ Read: Home Remedies To Treat Swollen Gums ]

5. Clove Tea

It has a spicy aroma. It has a rich flavor. And most importantly, it helps cure your toothache. Though there is no specific dose of clove tea recommended for treating toothache, you can simply steep one teaspoon of clove in 470 ml of boiling water. However, ensure you don’t intake the tea in large amounts. This is because clove might have anticoagulant effects, meaning it can thin your blood – which, in a way, is good, but not always.

If you are about to have a tooth extraction surgery, avoid clove as it might cause excessive bleeding. Yes, this is contradicting what we have discussed of eugenol numbing the problem area during surgery. This is because of the lack of sufficient information in this regard. Hence, consult your doctor.

6. Gargling With Clove Water

Take a few cloves and grind them to a fine powder. Add this powder to a glass of warm water. Gargle with water with clove powder for toothache. This process helps remove the bacteria present in the mouth (especially around the infected area) and can also act as a painkiller.

If you are wondering if you should use clove alone for your tooth problems, there is great news for you. Following is one effective combination of clove with something else that can work wonders for your toothache.

The Combination With Oil Of Cloves For Toothache

That something else is cayenne pepper.

And yes, for obvious reasons, this remedy can cause a burning sensation. But it’s worth the sacrifice.

Crush a few whole cloves and add them to a bowl. Take an equal amount of cayenne pepper powder and add it to the clove powder. Add a few drops of water to this mixture to get a thick paste.

Take a cotton ball and roll it into the mixture. This thoroughly coats the cotton ball with the mixture. Now, place the ball directly on the affected area in your mouth. This treatment might irritate the gums – so what you can do is avoid the gums and place the ball on the tooth.

All fine. But where do you buy clove oil?

[ Read: Home Remedies To Strengthen Loose & Shaky Teeth ]

Where To Buy Clove Oil For Toothache

This is not the rarest of the rare ingredient we are talking about. It is as common as cold! You can find clove oil (or cloves) in the medicinal section of your nearest supermarket. You can also find it at the pharmacy at the end of your street.

One smart way of using clove oil is to use it with a carrier oil. A carrier oil is a neutral oil that is made from vegetables or nuts – it helps dilute the stronger essential oils, like that of clove.

Also, when you are picking your clove oil, you must ensure it is the right kind. You must get the 100% pure oil. Organic is best. Anything lesser than pure will not give you the needed benefits.

You have seen how supremely great clove oil can be. But yes, you guessed it right, it has its side effects too. There are certain things (apart from its seemingly unbearable taste) you need to keep in mind before using it.

Risks, Warnings, And Side Effects Of Clove

  • Allergies

If you have any allergic reaction like hives, swelling of your face, tongue, or lips, or difficulty in breathing, stop consumption and visit doctor.

  • Muscle Pain And Fatigue

Consuming clove can cause muscle pain or weakness, also called lactic acidosis. You might also feel numb in your arms or legs. Uneven heart rate and dizziness or extreme fatigue are other side effects one must take note of.

  • Issues With Blood Glucose Levels

Clove oil, when taken internally, might lower blood glucose levels. Hence, individuals who are prone to low blood sugar must exercise caution before taking clove. The same applies to people who are on diabetes medications.

  • Toxicity

This might happen following the intake of large doses of undiluted clove oil. The side effects can include nausea, sedation, sore throat, and even seizures. In certain cases, it can cause blood disorders and kidney or liver damage.

  • Other Common Side Effects

A few other common side effects of topically applied clove include problems with erection, delayed ejaculation, skin rashes and itching, and sore gums (7).

Hence, take care. If the intake of clove oil upsets your stomach or causes a burning sensation, stop immediately.

You can use cloves in numerous other ways as well.

Tips For Using Cloves

  • You can use them to flavor your food. They have a strong and spicy flavor. Just a little bit of the spice goes a long way in making your food taste better. You can also add crushed cloves to cakes and desserts. Cloves make a good addition to chutneys and pickles as well.
  • You can use cloves in the household as well. Whether it is shooing away pests or creating a lovely fragrance, cloves work pretty good.
  • Cloves can also be used to cure morning sickness. Grind 3 cloves along with turmeric and sugar. Add this mixture to water and drink twice a day.

Cloves definitely offer respite from your harrowing toothache. There could be other medicines in the market, but this thing works best.

And we have seen how to use cloves for a toothache.

So fret not – use clove and bid adieu to your tooth troubles!

Also, let us know how this post on using cloves for toothache has helped you. Just leave a comment in the box below.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the digital media field for over six years. He has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University. He considers himself a sculptor born to chip away at content and reveal its dormant splendor. He started his career as a research writer, primarily focusing on health and wellness, and has over 250 articles to his credit. Ravi believes in the great possibilities of abundant health with natural foods and organic supplements. Reading and theater are his other interests.