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6 January 2023 / Laura Garvin Gomez

How to Use Clove Oil for Toothache

Target tooth pain quickly and effectively with this raved-about natural method.

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Woman holding side of mouth in discomfort.

Sore teeth can really put a halt on our daily actions. 

From eating and drinking to talking, applying cosmetics, or even trying to get through regular work tasks, the pain of an achy tooth can make life feel like agony - and it's a problem many people want to see the end of as quickly as they can. 

Unfortunately, it's not always possible to go and visit your dentist right away, so if you need a quick fix  to relieve pain in the meantime, a few drops of clove oil could be just the thing to ease your discomfort. 

Historical Benefits of Cloves

Clove essential oil has been used for centuries to help tackle oral health issues, and ancient Chinese societies even saw it as a mandatory practice to have citizens freshen their breath with whole cloves before visiting the emperor. 

These days, scientists and dentists alike are realising the invaluable qualities of clove oil against toothache, and its popularity has been steadily growing throughout the last few decades as an unmatched reliever for short-term dental pain. 

So, if you're wanting to learn more about how to use clove oil for toothache, as well as what it is and how it works, you've come to the right place. 

Clove Leaf Illustration

What is clove essential oil? 

Identified by the botanical name Eugenia Caryophyllata, clove essential oil is extracted via steam distillation from the Southeast Asian clove tree, and contains a warm, aromatic scent sometimes considered akin to gunpowder.

There are two main types of clove oil available on the market: clove bud and clove leaf. Both types have very similar properties and are largely determined by the part of the clove plant used to extract the oil. 

The primary difference between both clove types is that clove bud is extremely potent and should never be used for topical application in any form. 

Why Clove Leaf Essential Oil?

Clove leaf, on the other hand, is more gentle and therefore safer for use on the skin, gums, and other external points. This is the oil you'll want to look out for if you're trying to temporarily eliminate toothache. 

Clove oil also contains a number of additional benefits for the body, including a positive impact on the immune system, gut health, and skin health among other areas. 


Is clove oil good for toothache? 

Clove oil is considered such a good remedy for toothache because of one of its strongest natural components: eugenol. 

Eugenol is responsible for the oil's spicy, aromatic scent as well as its strong and fragrant flavour. It is also responsible for providing pain relief in certain areas of the body, including the teeth. 

This is because of the compound's natural anaesthetic and antibacterial effects, which can work to numb painful areas and reduce inflammation as well as clear the area of harmful microbes. 

It also produces a natural warming sensation that can help deter from pain. 

While eugenol alone provides clove oil with strong properties against toothache, it is not the only effective quality. 

How does the Clove Oil work?

Applying a bit of clove oil onto a sore tooth can also stimulate the production of a protein known as Trans Receptor Potential Vanilloid-1 (TRPV-1). 

When activated, this protein can desensitise nerve endings to help completely cut off pain, and can also work as a strong antibacterial agent to assist in healing the area over time.

When put together, it is clear to see exactly just how powerful clove essential oil can be against oral ailments like toothache. 

Scientific Proof of Clove Oil Anaesthetic Properties

In fact, these effects are considered so powerful that a successfully compared clove oil to the commonly used dental numbing agent, benzocaine. 

While clove oil is great in the short-term, it's important to remember that it is not a substitute for going to see your dentist.

If you see your clove oil not working for toothache, or if you're dealing with an infected tooth, it's even more essential to book an appointment as soon as you can. 

Clove buds bunched together on a table.

How to use clove oil for toothache

Once you've acquired your products, it's now time to learn exactly how to apply clove oil for toothache. 

The method itself is really quite simple, and there are a number of other options to choose from if you feel it doesn't quite work out for you.

Here's how to use it: 

  1. As with all essential oils, clove oil should always be diluted before topical use. Add two or three drops to a neutral carrier oil, like coconut or olive oil, and mix together. 
  2. Grab a piece of tissue, a cotton bud, or a cotton ball.
  3. Gently dip it into the oil solution for a brief moment (holding it there for too long may make the compress too potent).
  4. Dab the solution onto the affected area, or keep hold of it until you feel the numbing commence. 

You should start to feel an effect at around the five to ten minute mark, so try to avoid applying oil to the area for any longer than this. 

Another method that is considered very popular for toothache is oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient mouthwash technique created by the Ayurveda to help improve oral health. 

It can also be used to improve toothache if you have several areas needing attention. Add a few drops of clove oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil and swirl it around in your mouth for a few minutes. 

Once you feel the numbing effect taking place, spit the oil out, being careful not to swallow any in the process. Then, rinse your mouth out well with water. 

If you've only got one tooth causing you trouble, be sure to keep the oil concentrated to this one area to avoid numbing your whole mouth accidentally.

It may also be a good idea to spit the oil out into the bin if you don't wish to clog your sink. 

Some people also opt for the use of clove paste (made out of a mashed whole clove) or ground cloves to help with toothache instead, however this is not considered as effective as clove oil and can produce a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth. 

How long does clove oil last for toothache?

Once you've applied your clove oil to the affected area, relief should persist for a good while, with most sources recommending re-application as and when it is needed around every two to three hours. 

Remember that clove oil is only a short-term solution for relieving pain, so try not to rely on it too heavily before seeing your dentist. 

Woman holding cold compress to her face.

Are there any precautions for using clove oil for toothache? 

Clove oil is generally safe when used correctly. But, as with any natural remedy, it is important to take heed of some important precautions before getting started. 

Never use clove oil undiluted

    Clove oil, like all essential oils, is extremely concentrated and very potent on the skin. Make sure to always dilute it with a carrier oil before applying it anywhere on the body.

    It is also very important to remember that only clove leaf oil should ever be used for topical application, even after diluting with a carrier oil - so make sure you're using the right type of oil before trying to apply it.

    If you've never used clove oil anywhere on your body before, it may a good idea to patch test it on the back of your hand before using it on the soft tissue in your mouth.

    Look out for any symptoms of an allergic reaction, like redness, itching, or rashes, and cease use immediately if you find any of these symptoms arising. 

    Do not swallow the oil

    You may have heard in some places that essential oils are safe for internal consumption, but unless they are food grade oils, they should never really be swallowed if you can avoid it.

    While it may seem difficult for techniques like oil pulling, it's best practice to try and prevent any oil at all from being ingested in the process. 

    You can learn more about why you shouldn't ingest essential oils by following this guide. 

    Do not use on children

    In the interest of avoiding accidental ingestion of the oil, it is important that only adults or older teens conduct this practice as a short-term solution for toothache. 

    Some reports also suggest that the use of clove oil on infants and young children in this way may even damage their developing nerve tissues within their delicate teeth, so avoiding it altogether is wise to prevent future problems. 

    What other remedies can I use alongside clove oil? 

    While you're waiting for your dentist, there are a few other home remedies that could also help with reducing the pain and inflammation in the meantime. 

    Rinsing your mouth out with salt water for a few minutes may help ease swelling and can draw out inflammation in the mucosal tissues, while using a cold compress like an ice pack on and off for 20 minutes at a time may also help to reduce pain. 

    If you don't mind steering away from the all-natural, over the counter pain medications like ibuprofen or paracetamol are always effective solutions for these types of issues as well. 

    Clove Bud Illustration

    Regardless of what choices you make during the process, it is never an option to simply use clove oil all by itself and expect the problem to fully go away. 

    Unless the pain is solely derived from something benign like a cold sore or a stuck piece of food, you should always consult your dentist or a healthcare professional on the best long-term practices for relieving your discomfort. 

    Learn more about the benefits of clove essential oil.

    Buy clove oil here.

    Product Name

    100% Pure Clove Leaf Essential Oil
    Botanical Name Eugenia Caryophyllata
    Scent Type Spices
    Benefits & Uses Decongestant, Anti-Inflammatory, Warming
    Suitable for Diffusers? Yes, this clove leaf essential oil is perfect for diffusers.
    Suitable for Candles and Soaps? Yes, this clove leaf essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.
    Extraction Method Steam Distillation
    Bottle Type Tamper proof and UV resistant

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