Cloves x Teeth

Growing up, there was always an easy remedy for any dental pain to be found in our pantry. Cloves.

Just take a clove or two and gently clamp it between your bottom and top teeth in the offending area. Just leave it there. You don’t need to crush it; just clamp it so that the essence of cloves just seeps out slowly.

Makes me wonder what’s actually happening here…


Wiki says clove or clove oil is recognised in Western “herbalism” and dentistry as an “anodyne” for dental emergencies. I’m not sure about emergencies, but I know we’ve used it at home for just niggling pain tooth before we can go and get that pain checked out at the dentist (hopefully not to actually avoid the dentist, but I know that not all my family loves going to the dentist like I do!).

Herbalism = using plants for medicinal purposes (awesome!)

Anodyne = the term in common use before “painkiller” and “analgesic” in the 20th century

From reading a little further into the chemical composition, it’s the eugenol from cloves which is extracted into an essential oil to help with toothaches. But Wiki also links to reports where certain levels of eugenol are toxic. But who knows.

I think I’ll stick to squeezing a few simple cloves between my teeth. I figure that this is the same level of eugenol that I would be exposed to with a dish that uses cloves anyway. A massaman curry or a chilli con carne or a Greek spaghetti… I’ll be right.


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