One of the disappointing things we learn as we grow up is that the wisdom teeth don’t really bring any wisdom along! But even more painful is the fact that they can unleash a whole lot of dental problems. You’ll know what we’re talking about if you have pericoronitis – the infection and inflammation of gum tissue surrounding a wisdom tooth.
When a wisdom tooth hasn’t completely come out, a flap of tissue may develop around it. This can collect debris like food particles and become a great breeding place for bacterial growth. The result is often pericoronitis. This needs immediate medical care.
If you have been grappling with pericoronitis signs like swelling and pain in the affected area, pus discharge, or as an unpleasant taste or smell in your mouth, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist may clean out accumulated debris from the area and prescribe oral antibiotics and an antibacterial mouthwash as well as painkillers. In some cases, the flap of gum tissue or your wisdom tooth may need to be removed.1 Swelling in the face, jaw spasms, and swollen lymph nodes can be indicative of a more critical, spreading infection which can impair your ability to swallow and breathe. It could even be life-threatening.
If you’re unable to get to a dentist immediately, some home remedies can work as a stopgap solution to ease symptoms and reduce chances of the condition worsening.2
1. Disinfect With A Salt Water Rinse
Plain old salt water has an anti-inflammatory effect. It is also a disinfectant that can tackle bacteria growing in your mouth. Dissolve a teaspoon of table salt in a cup of boiled water and swish it around for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. As a bonus, the act of swishing water around in your mouth can dislodge and help rinse out food particles and other debris.3
2. Apply Ice To Ease Pain And Inflammation
Ice can reduce inflammation in your gum tissue. Place ice in a ziplock bag, wrap it in a thin, clean towel and place it over the affected area 3 to 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time.4
3. Use A Guava Mouthwash To Kill Bacteria
Guava leaves are anti-inflammatory and have exhibited antibacterial properties against many oral pathogens including Streptococcus mutans. This antibacterial property is mainly due to the presence of flavonoids such as guaijaverin and quercetin. A paste of tender guava leaves has also been a traditional oral hygiene remedy and can be used 2–3 times a day.5 You can also boil 4 to 5 guava leaves in a cup of water and add a little salt to make a simple antibacterial mouthwash. Don’t forget to cool it before use.
4. Rinse With An Anti-Inflammatory Sage Mouthwash
Sage has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can treat inflamed and bleeding gums and soothe the ache. Sage’s anti-inflammatory property is attributed to components like camphor and 1,8-cineole.6 Mix a teaspoon of crushed dry sage or fresh sage to a glass of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture, cool it, and your mouthwash is ready for use. Swish this solution around your mouth for about 5 minutes at a time twice or thrice a day.
5. Dab On Lemongrass Oil To Reduce Inflammation And Plaque
Lemongrass contains various beneficial compounds such as limonene, citral, citronellal, linalool, β-myrcene, and geraniol which may help prevent bacterial biofilms from forming on your teeth. One study found that a 0.25% lemongrass oil mouthwash was effective against gum inflammation and plaque when used twice a day for 21 days. In fact, the researchers found it a comparable alternative to chlorhexidine, a commonly used antibacterial mouthwash. So add 2–3 drops of fragrant lemongrass oil to a glass of water to make a simple and effective mouthwash.7
6. Try Oil Pulling With Antimicrobial Coconut Oil
Oil pulling is a technique recommended in ayurveda for maintaining dental health. It involves swishing oil around in your mouth and spitting it out after a while. Lauric acid present in coconut oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Studies show that coconut oil can ease gum inflammation and also decrease plaque.
Take a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and pull and suck it between your teeth till it becomes thin and milky white. This should take around 10–15 minutes. Then spit out the oil. Take care not to swallow the oil as it may contain harmful oral pathogens.8
7. Apply Sesame Paste Or Oil To Tackle Pain And Bacteria
Sesame seeds have been traditionally used to treat toothaches in China for centuries. Studies also show that sesame oil can relieve pain when topically applied.9 It has also been found to act against oral bacteria such as S. mutans and L. acidophilus.10
Boil half a cup of sesame seeds with 5 cups of water till the water reduces to half. Grind it into a healing paste and apply to the affected area 2–3 times a day. Dabbing on some plain sesame oil will also work.
8. Use A Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash To Reduce Inflammation
A study found that a mouthwash containing 1.5% tea tree oil was able to reduce inflammation in the gums. Lab studies also show that this beneficial oil acts against oral pathogens.11 12 Add 2 drops to a cup of plain water and shake well to make your own antiseptic mouthwash.
9. Apply Turmeric Paste To Eliminate Bacteria And Inflammation
Curcumin, a compound present in turmeric, is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. It can also inhibit the growth of oral bacteria. Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric with half a teaspoon of mustard oil and salt each to make a smooth paste. Apply this to the affected area to ease inflammation and tackle harmful bacteria.13
10. Use Green Tea Mouthwash For Pain Relief
There’s an unnoticed painkiller sitting in your kitchen cabinet – green tea! Research has found that a green tea mouthwash can ease pain following surgery to remove impacted molars. In fact, one study found that people who rinsed with green tea needed significantly fewer painkillers post operation. So brew yourself a nice cup of green tea and use it as a mouthwash to ease pain due to pericoronitis.14
Remembr, while these remedies will certainly help relieve the painful symptoms of pericorinitis and keep you up and about, you mustn’t stall a visit to the dentist.
|↑1||Pericoronitis. Columbia University.|
|↑2, ↑3||Karimi, M. “Grandma remedies and herbal medicines for relieving toothache.” Journal of Dental Sciences, 1(1): Sep 2016.|
|↑4||The Editors of Prevention. The Doctors Book of Home Remedies: Quick Fixes, Clever Techniques, and Uncommon Cures to Get You Feeling Better Fast. Rodale, 2010.|
|↑5||Ravi, K., and P. Divyashree. “Psidium guajava: A review on its potential as an adjunct in treating periodontal disease.” Pharmacognosy reviews 8, no. 16 (2014): 96.|
|↑6||Abu-Darwish, M. S., C. Cabral, I. V. Ferreira, M. J. Gonçalves, C. Cavaleiro, M. T. Cruz, T. H. Al-Bdour, and L. Salgueiro. “Essential oil of common sage (Salvia officinalis L.) from Jordan: Assessment of safety in mammalian cells and its antifungal and anti-inflammatory potential.” BioMed research international 2013 (2013).|
|↑7||Dany, Subha Soumya, Pritam Mohanty, Pradeep Tangade, Prashant Rajput, and Manu Batra. “Efficacy of 0.25% lemongrass oil mouthwash: A three arm prospective parallel clinical study.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR 9, no. 10 (2015): ZC13.|
|↑8||Peedikayil, Faizal C., Prathima Sreenivasan, and Arun Narayanan. “Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis—A preliminary report.” Nigerian medical journal: journal of the Nigeria Medical Association 56, no. 2 (2015): 143.|
|↑9||Shamloo, Marzieh Beigom Bigdeli, Morteza Nasiri, Aazam Dabirian, Ali Bakhtiyari, Faraz Mojab, and Hamid Alavi Majd. “The effects of topical sesame (sesamum indicum) oil on pain severity and amount of received non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs in patients with upper or lower extremities trauma.” Anesthesiology and pain medicine 5, no. 3 (2015).|
|↑10||An, T. Durai, C. Pothiraj, R. M. Gopinath, and B. Kayalvizhi. “Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria.” African Journal of Microbiology Research 2, no. 3 (2008): 63-66.|
|↑11||Rahman, Betul, Sausan Alkawas, Elaf A. Al Zubaidi, Omar I. Adel, and Nuha Hawas. “Comparative antiplaque and antigingivitis effectiveness of tea tree oil mouthwash and a cetylpyridinium chloride mouthwash: A randomized controlled crossover study.” Contemporary clinical dentistry 5, no. 4 (2014): 466.|
|↑12||Thosar, Nilima, Silpi Basak, Rakesh N. Bahadure, and Monali Rajurkar. “Antimicrobial efficacy of five essential oils against oral pathogens: An in vitro study.” European journal of dentistry 7, no. Suppl 1 (2013): S71.|
|↑13||Nagpal, Monika, and Shaveta Sood. “Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview.” Journal of natural science, biology, and medicine 4, no. 1 (2013): 3.|
|↑14||Eshghpour, Majid, Hamed Mortazavi, Naser Mohammadzadeh Rezaei, and AmirHossein Nejat. “Effectiveness of green tea mouthwash in postoperative pain control following surgical removal of impacted third molars: double blind randomized clinical trial.” DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 21, no. 1 (2013): 59.|