Nosy Nelly that I am, I couldn't just leave it there. . .I had to find out what it was used for and whether it was a crucial piece missing from my daily oral care routine. :)
What I found out was pretty interesting!
Turns out, Oil of Cloves has been used in dentistry and home oral care for over a century! Made, not surprisingly, mainly from cloves, which are the dried buds of the clove plant (Syzgium aromaticum), though other parts of the plant can also be used. Its main ingredient is eugenol, which is an effective antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, germicidal AND helps to relieve tooth pain, etc!
I've also seen a number of online references to a 2006 Journal of Dentistry study on the effects of Clove Oil. In the study, three groups of people were given either Oil of Cloves, a placebo (sugar pills with no medicinal value), or Benzocaine (a topical anesthetic) for tooth pain. Surprisingly, the patients receiving Oil of Cloves AND Benzocaine reported equal amounts of relief, while those getting the placebo got no relief.
So, it looks like there is some good evidence (along with all the anecdotal!) that suggests that Oil of Cloves could provide good, temporary pain relief. Keep in mind, however, that pain is an indicator that something is wrong, so this isn't the 'fix' to a dental problem, but could be a help to you before you can get the permanent treatment you need.
One other thing before I explain a method of use. . .there is a bit of a significant health warning that goes along with this treatment, too. Oil of Cloves has been shown to be toxic in some amounts, which varies from person to person. It's not approved by the FDA and has been linked to liver and respiratory failure, among other things. So, clearly, this is not something you want within reach of children, and should only be used in small amounts when it is used. Check with your doctor to make sure it's right for you before you add it to your natural health arsenal.
If you do decide it's a good option for you, here's how to use it:
As Oil of Cloves can, if applied directly to soft tissues, cause nerve or tissue damage or irritation, it must ALWAYS be diluted before use.
- Small Clean Dish
- Small piece of Cotton Ball
- 1/2 Teaspoon Measuring Spoon
- 3-4 drops Oil of Cloves
- 1/2 Teaspoon Olive Oil
- Rinse mouth with water
- Mix oils in small, clean dish
- Soak small piece of cotton ball in oil mixture
- Blot piece on a tissue to remove excess oil
- Place soaked cotton against the painful tooth
- Hold against tooth for 20-30 seconds
- Do NOT swallow oil
- Rinse your mouth with a weak saline solution
- Seek dental assistance for treatment of underlying problem
(photo of cloves courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)