How to Handle Toothaches Post Collapse

I thought I would write this as I still can remember the inhumane pain a few Christmases back when I had some horrible tooth pain when my wisdom teeth decided to come back in. As it was Christmas, I put off getting seen about throbbing jaw pain that came and went for as long as I could.

I had other things on my mind, well I guess as there additional pressure on them from the wisdom teeth, I had two teeth that had filling from when I was a kid break in one week. I think I was eating almonds and then pieces started to come out. The exposed nerves and tissue were so sensitive.

This is also when I learned that many dentists close from Christmas to after New Year’s Day. It was about 2 weeks of pain.

I went to the ER a few times as I felt my head was going to explode, I had sensitivity to light, sounds, and even my husband’s deep voice as it vibrated my eardrums. From my mouth, through the nose, and to behind the eyes and ears- it was pain.

So I feel I can tell you of some home remedies worked honestly by experience, as I scoured the internet and asked anyone I could for home remedies and old wives tales, secrets, etc. Even through pain meds and all the OTC pills and store products, it was the home remedies and natural cures that worked the best.

I had some mishaps and a few I overdid and I will list those as well, as with any natural substance you have to use care when using it. I actually worked in orthodontic restorations for a decade, not bridges, but making veneers and caps, and specialty items like vampire teeth, “grills”, and overlays with gold and gemstones.

One thing that is for sure, you will still have teeth after SHTF or post collapse. Most will have thought of tooth brushes and toothpaste for their stockpiles, and oral care may not be the first thought when prepping for SHTF.

But a simple abscess can kill a person very quickly. So it’s smart to not only think about routine dental care and maintenance, but to educate yourself and prepare for any dental emergencies in a time that dentists may not be readily available. Hopefully you will not to need to know for a long time.

These remedies can be good to barter with and help the poor soul who may be suffering from tooth and jaw pain. Being proactive now, and stocking up can sure help you in the long run.

Stone Age Cavity Repair

An interesting article is this piece on finding a beeswax cap making a cavity filling on a Neolithic body that is over 65,000 years old. Another find was the use of flint drills on teeth from bodies in a 9,000 old Pakistan grave.

Why do my teeth hurt video going over the makeup of a tooth:

Why do my teeth hurt? Toothache symptoms: Sensitive Teeth, Gum Pain, Tooth Pain, Infection, Wisdom

What is a Toothache?

Commonly called odontalgia, a toothache is one of the worst pains imaginable. It is considered a pain in, or around, the tooth and its gum that can go into the jaw and it can be quite severe. It generally is described as a “pulsating” pain.

There are a few different ways this pain can be generated, and you will want to identify the cause as well as you can to be able to treat it.

There are a few conditions that can cause pain in the area that are not related to teeth (like referred pain of a myocardial infarction, chemotherapy neuropathy or TMJ that affects the trigeminal nerve), but in this article we are talking about toothache and jaw pain.

Conditions that cause toothaches and tooth pain:

  • Poor oral hygiene, although cavities are the most common reason. Bacteria east through the enamel.
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Dry sockets left after extraction
  • Jaw pain
  • Broken tooth
  • Filling falling out
  • Abscess
  • Swollen jaw, usually from an abscess
  • Teething in younger children
  • Injury, bleeding can be stopped. If the tooth is chipped or lost, care will be needed.

A few things you can do to the alleviate pain, or at least not make it worse, are:

  • Stick to lukewarm temperatures a crack or break in the tooth exposes the tender nerve inside, and any extreme temperatures can cause pain and aggravate the situation.
  • Carefully floss and rinse around the area you will want to remove any particles that may put pressure on the tissue, and avoid anything from getting into the exposed site. Rinse the mouth with a salt water rinse for the same reason. The saltwater will help wash away blood and any infection or drainage.
  • Elevate your head having your head elevated is the preferred method, as is you lower it below heart level it can cause your heart to work harder to push blood, increasing pressure and intensifying pain signals and throbbing.
  • Avoid high sugar and high acid foods as they can stimulate the nerve, and intensify the pain.
  • Try OTC pain medications use the ones that are anti-inflammatory, to help keep the swelling at a minimum.
  • Cold compresses with ice on the outside of your face. Reflexologists swear icing your hand will quell any signals to the brain, place ice between the thumb and forefinger.
  • Make a plug from gauze, gum or beeswax to fill a hole or seal the crack (see below).

Rinses to desensitize the mouth, kill bacteria, and help fight infection

  • Salt water– use 1/3 cup to 1 glass of hot water. Dissolve and use when warm. 30 seconds rinses several times a day.
  • Salt water mixed with 3% hydrogen peroxide, some add essential oils such as peppermint or cinnamon. Check our article on essential oils to help pick ones that may help, disinfect, and lessen pain, depending on your immediate needs.
salt rinse
  • Black tea is known for its soothing and inflammatory qualities. The tannic acids will help sooth burning and inflamed tissues.
  • Peppermint tea peppermint is a known headache and numbing remedy, so use leaves in hot water and make an astringent rinse. A wet tea bag against the tooth can help also.
  • 1/2 Maalox liquid and ½ liquid Benadryl may help by coating and numbing, do not swallow.
  • Hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria, wash away infection and squash any growth of microbes, use 3% solution as a rinse. Infection can be signaled by a metallic taste in the mouth and accompanying fever. Rinse well with water after use.
  • Guava leaves use their leaves to make a thick concoction by steeping for 20 minutes, rinse the mouth and in about a minute you should feel some relief as to the high concentration of analgesic properties.
  • Myrrh a natural astringent, myrrh may have been a gift to the baby Jesus to help with teething, just joking but it was considered a treasured substance for its medicinal properties and it’s easy to grow.

I added this to my herbs for me and my pets in our medicinal garden to dry and stockpile. Dogs get tooth pain and abscesses, so this is a safe and non-burning way to administer an astringent for them.


Applying pressure to the area where the base of your thumb and your index finger join is supposedly to help increase endorphins if you do it 2 minutes. This may work for some, this is also the area for headache relief and where you should ice (above).

Here is a video on how to do the acupressure method to cure tooth pain:

Acupressure : Acupressure Points for a Toothache


Black pepper and vinegar pack soak One country cure is on the outside of the cheek, use a vinegar soaked piece of brown paper bag and fill one side with loose black pepper and apply that side to the cheek. I made a pocket with the pepper inside and lay my head on it. It is a warming sensation that was quite soothing.

I do know this is an old remedy for a homemade liniment, before the days of Bengay and Icy Hot or portable heating pads, for athletes. Especially horse ones, as this was a backfield fix to sooth swollen legs post-race. I live in Kentucky, believe me on this. So this makes sense it would be a warming, soothing compress for tooth pain.

Topical Applications to Help Toothaches

The following can be applied in a paste (use a Q-tip for better aim), inside a filtering device such as a coffee filter, tea bag, or stocking piece as a poultice to allow it to soak in and only affect that area, or as a rub. They can also be placed onto a cotton ball and placed between the cheek and gum, or the bite can hold them in place.

salt and pepper paste toothache
  • Most Effective Toothache pain remedy I tried:
  • Salt & black pepper paste this 50/50 salt and pepper paste was a cure I heard from Eric’s mother from her great grandmother. I thought it so simple. There was no way it would work, right? After it did wonders, like a switch to the pain suddenly turned to “off.” I am now a believer.

Now, a few years later, I can see many, many comments on places where this was a recommendation, as it works. It worked when lidocaine soaked cotton balls from the ER wouldn’t. That’s how effective this simple mix is!

salt and pepper paste toothache
Photo: Salt and pepper mixed 50/50 and made into a paste with vanilla, apply with a Q-tip.

 Quick fixes to plug a cavity, seal a crack, or cover the nerve

  • Wheatgrass can be chewed or used as a rinse as it is a natural antibiotic. It also draws out heat and toxins, so helps relief pain from swelling.
  • Asafetida this is an ancient Indian cure, its name literally means “stank resin”. Use a pestle and mortar to mix it with lemon juice. Then heat to make a lotion for quick pain relief. It had the same effect as Oragel for me, and about 90% cheaper. It’s very cost effective. It has a smooth taste, but stinks like hell. Do not store around other foods, only in sealed plastic containers. It is also a digestion aid and fights flu and the H1N1 virus as its antiviral. This is another you may want to plant for trade and barter as it is good for asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, and epilepsy. The Dutch colonists wore it around their neck in small bags.
  • Garlic this has a very strong antibiotic effect, and also allicin to slow down microbe growth. Crush and apply. Many recommend a daily garlic clove for improved oral health and to fight early stages of gingivitis, which may apply in a solitary way of life. The smell is strong. No vampires attacked.
  • Onion the studies have shown the highly concentrated antibacterial properties of onions, they saw eat them raw daily or chew for 3-5 minutes to kill all the germs in your mouth. I can see this in a SHTF use, plus they are easy to grow and dry. Place a slice of onion over the tooth that is affected. If the toothache is ongoing, such as with wisdom teeth coming in, eating onions daily will boost immunity and improve overall tooth and gum health.
  • Aspirin this one was very effective with a broken tooth I had. When my wisdom teeth came in, a few teeth had fillings that came out, leaving open “pits” over the nerves. Well, it was horrible. The aspirin worked by scalding the nerve and deadening it. I made the mistake of getting it on my gums, it left white chemical burns as I had used it overnight. It was effective in deadening horrible pain inside a tooth, as it was hard to get to. But use with caution. It works, but it will numb your lips and tongue and anything it touches. I powdered it, and just used my finger to pack it in the filling cavity.
  • Ginger crush and apply, see belowpepper and vanilla mix
  • Cayenne pepper make a paste and apply with a Q-tip, see below
  • Cayenne and ginger paste both ingredients are potent painkillers and block pain signals from entering the brain basically by burning the area, and causing that “fight or flight” to set in and increase endorphins and serotonin to the “traumatized area”. This is the science with “hot” applications. Place on a cotton ball and when the pain fades, remove.
  • Lime helps with bleeding gums and by adding vitamin C. It is also smart to use it when you have a decaying tooth and loose teeth. Grind the peel and add it directly to gums and eating raw lime will heighten your vitamin C concentrations.
  • Tea The tannins in many teas are very soothing and act as an antiseptic. Use them in their tea bags to soak the area for relief. Make combos with salt, pepper, olive oil, clove oil, garlic for added benefits.
  • Bay berry this little berry has antiseptic, antibiotic, and antipyretic properties so it helps stop the toothache and strengthen teeth while toning gums. Use the bark with vinegar to make a paste to apply directly to the painful tooth.
  • Oil of oregano swabbed on is an antiseptic and antimicrobial.clove powder
  • Clove powder the eugenol in clove powder is a powerful anesthetic and it also has antiseptic properties. It is said to mix this with vanilla as vanilla enhances chemical properties. I did find some relief with this, it numbed the tooth.

These are meant to be temporary, but covering the area whether it is a crack or actual hole, can really go a long way to bringing pain levels down and protecting the area.

The last thing you want to do is get food or particles in there that develop into a major infection.

So I would rinse well and clean it the best you can. If you have a loose filling or tooth, these may help by offering some steadiness.

  • Chewing gum
  • Beeswax or candle wax
  • Epoxy
  • Wood (many pirates had wooden teeth crowns)
  • Resins
  • Anything that can seal it
  • Rubber cement
  • I used a spackle type of repair kit

Preventative Measures to Incorporate

Hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it? There are a few things that may be worth incorporating into your life now, which can help to avoid future dental pain or work. If we are in a world where you do not know if you will be able to see a dentist, these can be very important as tools to avoid painful and maybe life threatening conditions.

I never want to go through that pain I had when I couldn’t see a dentist over the holiday. I won’t add procrastination to the list, but these things do not improve. So maintaining your teeth with checkups and good oral hygiene practices is the best way to prevent, or push away, any extra trips to the dentist.

  • Use a toothpaste and water that is fluoridated

For as much flack as it gets, fluoride is a natural element that does prevent tooth decay in children. I have seen many stockpiles that have fluoride tablets for the future, but you can get it right from your garden.

It is actually in many foods (for a list of the 524 foods highest in fluoride check here), so in a post collapse situation you can still get that advantage in oral health from fluoride from foods like:

  • Pickles
  • grapes and raisins
  • Grape juice
  • Orange juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Apple juice
  • Spinach
  • Tomato products
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Farina
  • Oats
  • Many baby foods
  • Asparagus
  • Popcorn
  • potato chips
  • Prevent impacts

Be careful in sports or any aggressive playing activity, especially for children, when the teeth are in the stages of growing. Use helmets and protective dental guards.

  • Limit sugars or brush more to level it out

I have a sweet tooth, so when they say cut out sugars, nope for me. But I do brush up to 3 times a day. After consuming sugars or sugary drinks, I at least wipe them with a cloth. If they aren’t sitting on the surface they can’t damage them, this goes for high acid foods too, and then I can wait to brush them when I get home.

The Egyptians used this as a source of tooth care, but it doesn’t take care of the junctures in between, as evidenced by the dental records of the thousands of mummies examined. The primary cause of their periodontal diseases was bacterial irritation in the accumulation of plague at the dentogingival junctions- gum lines.

The main thing they noticed about the teeth, in all levels of society, was how ground down the teeth were from the sand in everything!

  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, tobacco?

Well, add that to sugar and that’s just not feasible for the population. Moderate your amounts and just brush more if you partake of anything fun or good.

  • Maintain a healthy diet, or try to eat healthier

The crux of everything, a healthy diet. Think of your body as a machine and food just boring fuel. If portions and supplies limited, and a lot more work goes into producing anything for the table such as in a post collapse scenario, this will be easier to do. For now, moderate.

Ways to protect your tooth enamel:

Sprinklings from the Tooth Fairy

I think in writing on this site more than ever, I have taken stock and become more aware of things I need to do and not slack on, or to start if we are not already. I have certainly added things to my garden, BOB bags, and EDCs.

So I would suggest stockpiling a few of these items, if you are not already, to make all natural cures for post collapse tooth aches and dental emergencies for you, your family, and even your pets. Many natural ingredients here can be used in other types of home remedies too.

If there is anything you’d like to see us talk about or explore more, please let us know!

5 thoughts on “How to Handle Toothaches Post Collapse”

  1. I had a tooth that had rotted from the inside, and once it reached the outside I was in terrible pain. I tried everything – cloves, rum, meds, etc. – but it wasn’t until I stuffed it with a piece of cotton soaked in pure vanilla extract that the pain went away. As long as I kept soaked cotton in the hole, I had no pain. I even slept with the cotton in hole until I could see my dentist. I’m not saying this will work for everyone because we are all so different from one another, but it worked great for me.

    1. Oh, I will add that to my list as I love Vanilla and used it on a soak filled with rice for an earache- nice to know it can be sued here also

  2. I’ve learned that clove leaf essential oil can be diluted & used as a mouth rinse to help prevent periodontal disease. Also, whole cloves soaked in a little organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil can be placed on a cotton ball, then placed against the tooth to help lessen pain. I hope you succeed in getting your nMd.

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