With the festive season under way, sweet sugary treats become more accessible and eating them in mass is seen as acceptable. You and your family might even be nibbling on them endlessly throughout the run up to the big day! With this in mind, the increase in sugar consumption will increase the chances of developing tooth decay, resulting in the dreaded toothache. If one of your little ones falls victim, it is normal to feel helpless whilst you are waiting for you dental appointment, as unfortunately the most discomfort comes knocking as soon as bedtime arrives and dentists aren’t open.
Below are some natural remedies that Dr. Chig Amin, the principal dentist and owner of the Epsom Dental Centre, recommends will be perfect for the little ones in your family. You can find them within your home, often right in your kitchen cupboards!
Onions contain properties that can kill the germs in your child’s mouth that are causing the infection, thus resulting in the toothache. The stronger the onion the better: the red and yellow onions are stronger than the sweet, white ones.
Method: As soon as the toothache starts, get a slice of onion and place it on your child’s tooth. Chewing the onion slightly will release the onion juice, which is primarily what soothes the sore area. However, if your child’s toothache is so painful that chewing only makes it worse, crush the onion to make onion juice, then your child can swish it around their mouth for a couple of minutes before spitting it out.
If you little one isn’t keen on the idea of onions, this method will do the trick! The scent of vanilla can have a soothing and calming effect, making your child or baby feel relaxed. The vanilla extract contains a small concentration of alcohol which essentially numbs the gum around the painful tooth.
Method: Either put a few drops on your finger. Gently but firmly put pressure on your child’s sore tooth. This added pressure will also help relieve the pain. Alternatively, soak a bit of cotton wool with the vanilla extract, and then either you or your child can hold it there for a few minutes, this way it allows the extract to really soak into the gum area, relieving the pain. Lemon, peppermint and almond extract are also very effective!
Warm up a small cup of milk and drop in 3 to 4 drops of vanilla extract into it, the milk and vanilla will act as natural comforters for your child, as well as alleviating the pain. An added bonus is that they will think it is delicious and it will make your child sleepy! Win win!
Green tea and peppermint tea
Drinking peppermint tea is a perfect remedy for your child as it has a nice delicate taste to it, but more importantly it contains a numbing power to ease the pain. This remedy is weaker and more suitable for mild tooth pain.
Method: Put a tea bag, (preferably green tea or peppermint tea because of the high levels of astringent tannin) in a dish and cover it in boiling water. Wait until the tea bag is warm so it doesn’t burn your little one, drain any excess water then place it in their mouth on the sore area, if possible place it in between their teeth to keep it stable.
Warm potato and/or cucumber
Potatoes contain a natural anti-inflammatory that eases the inflamed gums. Cucumber has anti-oxidant property which helps to reduce the toothache and soothing properties which help to reduce the pain.
Method: Cut the fresh cucumber and potato up into little pieces and wait for them to reach room temperature. Then place the pieces onto the sore area, once again, get your child to hold the pieces in between their teeth for 5 to ten minutes, repeat when necessary.
Hot water bottle
Either a hot or cold sensation can help ease the pain, however I find that warmth is more effective. Ice creates a sharp sensation, and as babies and toddlers have sensitive teeth this will only make it worse. Get your child’s hot water bottle with a cover on it (if you have a cover that is in the shape of their favourite cartoon character etc. it will act as a cuddling comforter for your child!)
Method: Don’t let the kettle come to the boil so it’s not too hot. Lay your little one down with their face up against the bottle, that way by the time the heat has lost affect your child will hopefully of fallen asleep with the heat soothing the pain.
Try and distract your child
As soon as you have chosen your natural remedy, now it is time to distract your child with the activities they love to do the most. Whether it’s watching their favourite cartoon, or playing with their favourite toy, taking their mind off the pain will work wonders, plus it will calm and relax your child and eventually will make them sleepy and ready for bed.
All of these remedies are temporary solutions to get your child through the night or up until their dental appointment.