Since publishing Dental MythBuster #5 – Placing Aspirin on a Tooth Cures a Toothache back in February 2013, the post has quickly become the second most widely viewed on this site, with over 40,000 page views as of January 2016. It is no surprise why – the internet is rife with home remedies for all types of conditions – including the aforementioned one.
As a dentist in private practice, I’ve seen lots of unexpected things (such as patients sucking on fentanyl patches, tattoos in mouths, etc). But recently, I had someone come in who was medicating his toothache with garlic. I had only read about the whole “garlic cures a toothache” topic but never seen it up close. I was actually quite excited to see what the area looked like!
A Detailed Photo After Placing Garlic for a Toothache
This individual had a toothache for nearly one month and had been primarily medicating it with a combination of oil pulling as well as placing garlic next to it for several hours at a time. According to him, he would crush the garlic to release the oil, and then place it up next to the tooth. This is what it looked like when he came to see me:
The above photo shows the effects of the garlic on his soft tissue. The white patch was somewhat painful to the touch. And, even after medicating the area for over a month, the tooth was still extremely painful. He also indicated that upon placing the garlic, he would frequently experience a burning sensation.
So did the Garlic Work?
As a medical professional who relies on hard science for treatment recommendations, I can’t say definitely whether the treatment worked or not. To do so would require a detailed study with multiple subjects and other controls. But several key observations can be made:
- The patient’s pain did not go away despite the daily use of garlic.
- His pain and symptoms continued for at least a month.
- He developed a painful ulceration that was presumable caused by the garlic.
- Upon placing him on antibiotics and then having me extract the offending tooth, the toothache pain – and garlic induced ulceration – went away within days.
- Within one week, he was back to normal and could eat, chew, and smile without any complications.
So did it work? I’ll let you readers be the judge. I think the facts speak for themselves – at least in this case.
But we do know for sure that the patient did not experience any vampire attacks during the course of treatment. He’s on the lookout now given that he’s no longer using the garlic…