Taking Care of Dental Emergencies Post-SHTF

Medical preps are the most difficult aspect of any survival plan – and toothache remedies are not exception. Actually, it is usually a bit more difficult acquire a quality toothache and SHTF oral care and repair kit than it is to buy or assemble an emergency medical kit.

Growing your own apothecary should be a top priority for all preppers. Not only can you cultivate and preserve medicinal herbs and roots to treat emergency medical needs that expensive doomsday disaster kits of that type proclaim they can satisfy, but use your own dirty to garner a large stockpile of toothache remedies as well.

It takes very little space to grow the herbs and roots you will need to use for toothache tinctures. But, if you do not have a green thumb, don’t have a few feet of growing space to spare, or simply just want to immediately stock up on natural toothache remedy ingredients, a quick trip to the local grocery store should get the job done, also.

25 Best DIY and Natural Toothache Remedies

1. Tea Tree Oil

Nature’s “antibiotic” can be used to treat many common ailments, including a painful toothache. Simply dab one or two drops of the essential oil into a glass of slightly warm water and gargle – making sure to completely rinse out the part of the mouth where the toothache exists. It is not recommended to use many essential oils, including tea tree oil, on young children, particularly those under two years of age. Tea tree oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties.

2. Salt

Mix together 1 tablespoon of salt and 16 ounces of lukewarm water. Gargle the mixture, rinsing and repeating may be necessary several times per day for several days to relieve toothache pain.

3. Cloves

These herbs possess both natural antibacterial and anesthetic properties. You can chew on a clove and then spit it out afterwards, or dab a drop or two of clove oil onto the area where the toothache pain exists to soothe the discomfort.

4. Whiskey

Swish some whiskey around inside your mouth to help alleviate toothache and gum pain. Alcohol can also be used as the basis or a natural homemade mouthwash to help prevent tooth decay, sore gums, and general mouth pain. Vodka is the most often recommended type of alcohol used in oral home remedies, but about any type of alcohol, including homebrewed, should work.

5. Turmeric

This is my go-to spice for just about every type of ailment. Not only can it help eliminate toothache pain, some folks use turmeric in natural treatments for cancer, heart disease, and debilitating arthritis pain – it is no wonder why so many fans of natural remedies refer to turmeric as the “miracle herb.”

To treat toothache pain, mix together 1 teaspoon of turmeric with just enough water to make a thick paste. Dab the paste onto the area of the toothache, gum bleeding or tear, or mouth sour to harness its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Vanilla Extract

Thoroughly saturate a cotton ball (or clean piece of cloth of similar dimensions) with vanilla extract and dab it onto the area surrounding the sore tooth. Although vanilla seems to work the best and tastes the best, in my opinion, peppermint, almond, lemon, as well as other types of extracts, can also help stop toothache and sore gum pain.

7. Activated Charcoal

Use activated charcoal to draw out toxins from an abscessed or aching tooth, and gum or mouth sores.Mix itl with just enough water to make a damp poultice and pack it around the problem area and allow it to remain for at least five minutes before removing.

8. Garlic

This herb garden staple offers a superb natural remedy for not only toothaches but intense cavity pain and bleeding gums. Chew on a clove of garlic (coat the clove with salt for even better results) or place the garlic clove directly on top of the cavity or gum injury area to reduce pain.

Garlic’s antibacterial powers should help reduce pain fairly quickly and hasten the healing process for gum and mouth sores. You can also crush the garlic clove and mix it with just enough water to make a paste and then pack the mixture into the cavity or around the source of toothache or mouth pain,

9. Peroxide

While hydrogen peroxide is not going to taste sweet like vanilla extract or even pleasantly like whiskey, it should reduce or eliminate the painful throbbing of a toothache when gargled.

10. Chamomile

This herb has a plethora of healing uses as well – and they go far beyond the calming benefits of drinking chamomile tea. The herb can be effectively used to treat toothaches, bleeding gums, abscessed teeth, gum swelling, and mouth sores.

Swish chamomile antiseptic rinse around the mouth, lingering over the infected area, and then spit out the liquid. See below to learn how to make chamomile mouth rinse.

11. Wheatgrass

The juice from wheatgrass can be used to both soothe toothache and gum pain and perhaps even cure tooth decay. The wheatgrass juice draws out toxins present in the gums and helps thwart the growth of bacteria.

12. Onions

Nibble on a piece of onion (any variety of onion) to allow its juices to infiltrate the toothache, cavity, mouth sore, or gum tear area. The juices from the onion should help kill bacteria and promote healing, while reducing pain and swelling.

13. Parsley

Chew on parsley leaves to help soothe toothache pain and to freshen an odorous mouth.

toothache remedies

14. Peppermint Tea

Drinking peppermint tea will typically offer some relief from toothache pain, but lightly chewing on the actual tea bag will generally produce better results.

Simply use the peppermint tea bag as you typically would when brewing tea, but allow it to cool enough that you can place it in your mouth without burning. Put the tea bag over the source of pain and then gently chomp down on the tea bag to release the peppermint juice.

You can also freeze to chill the tea bag, and use it like a cold compress on the area of soreness, still biting down on it to release the juice as it melts. If you grow peppermint, chew on a couple of leaves for a minute or two to garner the same pain relief benefits.

15. Cayenne Pepper

Mix 1 pinch of pepper with either 1 drop of clove oil (or half a clove) and 1 pinch of salt and gently rub and nibble on the mixture around the toothache area before spitting it out and rinsing your mouth.

16. Basil

Chew on fresh basil leaves (or nibble on basil spice) to curtail toothache pain and hasten bad breath.

17. Thyme

This herb possesses strong antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Chew on a few pinches of thyme or pour up to two drops of thyme essential oil into a 16 ounce glass or water and use gargle with it, paying particular attention to the area of the mouth where the toothache pain exists.

18. Blueberry Bark

Make a paste using 2 parts bark from a blueberry bush and one part distilled white vinegar (approximate measurements) and pack it around the aching tooth to relieve pain and swelling.

19. Spilanthes

This herb might be relatively uncommon to most folks, but it has numerous healing properties and should either be cultivated in your backyard apothecary patch or purchased as a powder and stored for SHTF use. Spilanthes leaves, when chewed upon, can numb an aching tooth or gums and offer almost instant relief.

20. Sage

Brew a cup of sage tea and swoosh it around inside of your mouth for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out – or swallowing it if you desire. Repeat this process until the cup of tea is gone.

It may take several days for the sage tea to completely eliminate toothache pain. Sage has also been used successfully as a natural teeth whitener.

21. Echinacea Tincture

Dab several drops of the tincture around the source of toothache or gum pain. The tincture will not only help fight any infection growing in the mouth, but will numb the aching pain, as well. See instructions below on how to make echinacea tincture.

22. Oregano Oil

Oregano also boasts healing and anti-inflammatory properties. You can chew on about a half a teaspoon of oregano spice to benefit from its germicidal components or use several drops of oregano essential oil poured onto a cotton ball to pack around an abscessed tooth or similar painful mouth sore.

23. Ginger Root

Harness the anti-inflammatory and infection-fighting properties of ginger by chewing lightly on a piece of the root or packing the powdered version around the toothache pain area inside of the mouth.

24. Yarrow

Gently rub fresh yarrow leaves around the toothache area for relief. You can also chew gently on yarrow root to relieve the pain.

Powdered yarrow can be used to brew a tea and gargled as an antiseptic mouth rinse to soothe both toothaches and sore and bleeding gums.

25. Myrrh

This herb has been a favorite with natural healers since ancient times. Myrrh possesses substantial anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties..Rub just one or two drops of myrrh essential oil on the toothache area to relieve pain.

If you are using powdered myrrh, simmer 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in 2 cups of water and gargle the solution up to 5 times per day until the inflammation, abscess, or pain has subsided. Do not take myrrh for chronic conditions or as a preventative because prolonged use can be harmful and may cause kidney problems.

How (and Why) to Make Echinacea Tincture

The echinacea plant is also commonly referred to as the purple coneflower. The leaves, flowers, and roots of the plant have been used in various natural medicinal remedies for centuries. Typically, the flowers and the leaves are generally considered to pack the most powerful healing punch.

Echinacea grows wild throughout the eastern and central regions of America. If it does not grow where you live, it can easily be cultivated indoors or in a patio container. It is really an easy to grow plant that can thrive in most types of soil with little to no tending by human hands.

The plant has often been used in natural remedies to thwart oral pain, gum disease, bodily infection in general, symptoms of the common cold and flu, as well as both urinary tract and upper respiratory infections. Other more serious conditions echinacea has been used to treat include malaria, streptococcus infections, typhoid, diphtheria, syphilis, bloodstream infections, and tonsilitis.

Echinacea Tincture Supplies

• ½ of a cup of echinacea leaf – dried. A mixture of dried leaves and roots will work as well.
• 80 proof alcohol (rum and vodka work great) or apple cider vinegar.
• Pint Mason jar with ring and lid or glass jar with a firm-fitting lid.
• 2 tablespoons of water – approximate measurement
• Wood or metal mixing spoon
• Cheesecloth or coffee filter


1. Fill the glass jar about half full with the dried echinacea leaves or root and leaves mixture – do not pack the dried ingredients down into the jar.

2. Boil the water.

3. Pour the water over the dried echinacea to steep the mixture and draw out its medicinal properties.

4. Fill up the rest of the glass jar with your chosen type of alcohol or apple cider vinegar – leaving only a small amount of head room like you would do if water bath canning – about ¼ of an inch.

5. Stir the ingredients inside the jar thoroughly together with the mixing spoon.

6. Firmly attach the lid to the jar.

7. Store the echinacea tincture in a cool and dry spot for at least three weeks (but six is best) before using.

8. Shake the mixture daily while it is resting in its storage spot.

9. Strain the echinacea tincture through the cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove the residue left behind by the leaves and roots.

10. The mixture can be stored in smaller bottles until ready to use or kept in the pint glass jar. It is recommended to store in smaller jars with a dropper style lid to reduce exposure to light and air when opened. The echinacea tincture should have a shelf life of at least two years when made and stored properly – this shelf life will be reduced if the jar or opened repeatedly for use.

Chamomile Mouth Rinse


• 2 chamomile tea bags, or 2 chamomile “pill balls,” or 2 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers.
• 1 cup of water
• Up to ¼ of a teaspoon of vanilla extract – recommended but optional
• Up to ¼ of a teaspoon of lemon juice – recommended but optional


1. Put the chamomile into a bowl or a coffee cup.
2. Boil the water.
3. Pour the boiling water over the chamomile to release it antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
4. Allow the chamomile to steep in the boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes.
5. Stir in the lemon juice and/or the vanilla extract.
6. If you used flowers, strain them away now. If using a tea bag, remove it now.
7. Gargle for at least one minute with the chamomile mouth rinse before spitting it out.

Antibacterial Mouth Rinse

This natural and antibacterial and antifungal mouth rinse will help soothe toothache swelling and pain while also reducing discomfort often associated with sore gums, cavities, and mouth sores.


• 2 teaspoons of baking soda
• 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
• 2 drops of tea tree oil
• ½ of water – distilled or filtered is recommended


1. Pour the baking soda in a pint Mason jar or glass jar. Allow the baking soda to settle into the base of the jar on its own – do not pack.

2. Pour in all of the other ingredients and shake the jar (after putting the lid on it, of course) vigorously.

3. Gargle about three teaspoons of the mouth rinse daily as a preventative or several times a day to treat toothache pain and other oral discomfort.

4. The mouthwash should keep well when stored in a glass jar with a firm-fitting lid, for at least two weeks but likely up to 30 days.

The Toothache Plant?

There is one potentially powerful natural toothache plant that I intentionally left out of this list. Am I attempting to keep the plant a secret so I can buy them all up? Nope, that would not be in the spirit of “we’re all in this together” any good prepper community (virtual or not) is founded upon.

The supposed miracle plant, aptly named the toothache plant, is only now thriving in my apothecary patch. Unlike the rest of the plants, herbs, roots, natural ingredients, and recipes on this list, I cannot personally attest to its effectiveness. It is a rather odd looking plant because it really does not produce any petals.

The toothache plant hails from South America, but seems to be surviving Ohio weather just fine. It could also be grown in a planter that is relocated inside during chilly months. It is a perennial that grows about 12 inches tall and can sprawl out to approximately two feet wide.

Toothache plant is in the aster family and is sometimes dubbed the “electric dairy” or “buzz buttons” The leaves of the medicinal plant have been eaten safely in small amounts, but only once they have been cooked.

The plant boasts numbing, antifungal, antiviral, and antibiotic properties. It has routinely been used to treat toothaches, swollen gums, mouth sores, and even bug bites.

To treat a toothache or similar painful swelling with this plant, all you have to do is chew on one of the red or yellow flowers it produces. The toothache plant flowers reportedly do not taste bad and resemble the flavor or grass.

Medicinal users of this plant often staunchly maintain the grass-like taste of the toothache plant flowers evaporates almost instantly once munched upon and is replaced by blissful numbness where pain once throbbed. A prepping pal who regularly uses toothache plant, was incredibly surprised at how strong the numbing sensation truly was the first time she nibbled on some flowers to alleviate cavity pain until she could get in to see her dentist.

Now, there is one distinct drawback to using toothache plant, at least in public or in front of a new significant other – it causes you to drool…like a lot.

The toothache plant is what is referred to as a sialagogue – that means something that makes you salivate. Now, from what I have been told, the type of salivation the toothache plant prompts is not just some mouth watering that you can easily swallow or wipe away, it is all-out drooling that occurs.

If you tooth is aching or it is a SHTF scenario, momentary uncontrollable drooling is not going to be at the top of you list of concerns – especially if the plant provides the magnitude of relief users claim it offers.

After chewing on toothache plant and experiencing the drooling, you may also feel a cooling sensation down your throat for approximately 15 minutes. This is not an unpleasant feeling, I am told, but it does often occur.

You can make a tea or a tincture from the toothache plant to treat oral ailments. Steep approximately 3 flowers in about eight ounces of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture and allow it to cool before gargling. The pain relief from gargling approximately one ounce of the toothache plant tea is supposed to last for about a half an hour.

Some users maintain just rubbing the leaves from the plant onto their gums help reduce pain and have even used the natural remedy on teething babies. How well the numbing effect works outside of the mouth is not clear. My prepping pal who introduced me to the plant has rubbed leaves and flowers onto bug bites, insect stings and small abrasions on herself, her children, and even small livestock and believes it has temporarily thwarted the discomfort.

Toothache Plant Growing Tips

• If starting the plant from seeds (like I did) put them in the dirt indoors about six weeks before the last frost of the season is expected in your area.

• The seeds do best when grown in at least 70 degree temperatures.

• Sow the seeds on top of the soil, the require direct sunlight to germinate – only cover them lightly once they have sprouted.

• When transplanting the seeds outside, make sure they are place in well-draining and nutrient-rich soil for the best results.

• While the toothache plant can tolerate some shade, it grows best in full sun.

• If you cut the plant back to about six inches after it hits its expected one foot tall height, it will grow back and should be able to be harvested once more time before the end of the season.

• The plants will need water about once every couple of days during intense heat in the summer when rain is not taking care of your garden.

I plan on dehydrating the flowers and the leaves from the toothache plant to preserve them for long-term use. Although I have not tried this before, I feel relatively confident stating the dried form of the plant can be as or nearly as, effective as freshly picked flowers and leaves, based upon my prepping friend’s long-term use of the natural remedy.

What are you favorite and tried and true homemade toothache remedies?

9 thoughts on “Taking Care of Dental Emergencies Post-SHTF”

  1. well first of all it takes sensodine and crest sensitivity any other other toothpaste aimed towards sensitivity about 3 -4 months to give full effect
    and again the first answer you got is correct as well there might be a pocket you are not aware of (did you notice foul smell from your mouth or very bad taste when you try to suck your saliva really hard?)
    and of course there might be small cavities that you couldnt possibly see in a mirror

  2. I had a dental abcess that would not go away… for about a year, antibiotics would knock it down and it would return. Lady told me about Peppermint oil applied topically 3 x a day for 3 days then 2 x a day for 3 days. then daily on toothbrush for oral care. after day 5 the pockt the infection was in came out and has not returned in 12 years. This was the start of my herbal use. My dentist recommended clove oil for a toothache.

    • Anonamo Also,

      My dentist recommended clove oil for a toothache.

      Growing up I recall my parents FAK had a dental emergency kit that contained concentrated clove oil with a dropper and chunks of beeswax. You put a drop or two of oil in the cavity and when it stops hurting you fill it with beeswax to keep it clean and keep out the air until you could get to the dentist.

      • TOP,

        Oil of Cloves is also known as Eugenol and easily obtained at a pharmacy. It may not be on the shelves, in which case it is probably behind the counter and you just have to ask for it.

  3. I would add that using dental floss, or those Plackers Dental flossers, are a great item to stock up on the dollar tree, has them and Walmart, has them in 75 count and 150 count for a couple of dollar’s. I have had toothaches start up and when I used the floss getting all the stuff out between my teeth the toothpain stopped. I believe that’s a major problem that could stop tooth decay using floss, cut out sugar drinks, and brush and floss each night don’t go to bed with out doing that. My daughter, had four cavities, though small she was eating late at night and would fall asleep and in just 6 month’s had these cavities, so it’s a good habit to take care of those teeth.

  4. Zulu 3-6,

    Oil of Cloves (Eugenol) is supposed to be very good with toothache pain and when mixed with zinc oxide, can make a decent temporary dental filling.

    I looked up Eugenol and found it is a phenylpropene extracted from clove oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, basil and bay leaf. It is present in concentrations of 80–90% in Clove bud oil and at 82–88% in Clove leaf oil and I’m glad you mentioned it, since it seems to be a bit more potent than just plain clove oil.
    That being said I can vouch for the combination of clove oil & bees wax. When you have a painful cavity or break in a tooth you clean it as best you can with a tooth brush or toothpick, apply the clove oil to dull the pain, and then fill the hole with beeswax to seal it and keep the air away from the nerves. I’ve used this many times, or actually had it used on me, mostly by my parents as a kid and it does work until you can get something more permanent done, since the beeswax is of course not going to hold up very long; but, does stop the pain.
    This is a prescient article for me, since I’m having a root canal performed next week, followed by the 3rd of 4 crowns, before we start the implants. Of course, good dental hygiene (brushing & flossing) is important as is a genetic predisposition for solid teeth in the ffirst place.
    My last few dental visits for minor surface cavities were essentially sandblasted and filled with a polymer that hardens under blue light. I’m familiar with this polymer, since I’ve been using it for years. It is a clear goo similar to a 2-part epoxy, except instead of adding the hardener, you use the blue (UV) light to cure / harden the plastic. I’m not sure if it is really safe or all that good an application for use in the mouth; but, in an emergency it could be an option. Here’s an example:

    Ontel 5 Second Fix – Liquid-Plastic Welding Repair Tool, As Seen On TV and may be found on Amazon: https://simplefamilypreparedness.com/dental-emergencies-in-survival-situations/#comment-4475

  5. Zulu 3-6,

    Thanks for sharing your tips! I don’t like Scotch, but if it works that good I am glad there is some in the liquor cabinet! I knocked out my two front teeth in fourth grade and chipped the ones on either side severely. I had my skates on my handlebars – like my Mother said never to do because it can cause you to wreck and.. I wrecked when going to fast around a corner. The skate wheels hit my teeth and then my teeth hit the handlebars, followed by the pavement. Worst pain I have experienced except childbirth – but I did not cry a single tear. You learn to be tough when you grow up with two older brothers and a neighborhood full of boys, lol. I did this on a Friday evening and there were no 24/7 emergency dentists then, so I had to suffer every time air hit the exposed nerves on the two teeth I knocked completely out until Monday, water through a straw was painful and food almost an impossibility. I spent hours upon hours in the dentist chair and thus started my lifelong loathing of dentists!

    • Tara,

      I can partially sympathize with you in the chipped tooth department. One of my front teeth got chipped as a kid when I got hit accidentally by a golf club. By a girl. 🙂 It did hurt to eat and drink for a while, for sure and for certain.


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