Introduction: Using Clove to Cure Toothaches

Picture of Using Clove to Cure Toothaches

Clove oil is hands down the most effective home remedy for tooth pain of any kind.

This instructable will show you how to make a decoction from whole cloves but I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that clove oil can be purchased from most pharmacies and is, due to the steam distillation process, much more potent and effective at relieving severe dental pain.

[However if you are suffering from severe tooth pain you should consult a dentist. Clove oil should only be used for temporary relief as prolonged use can deaden the nerve.]

Cloves have been used to treat toothaches since medieval times and knowing this trick can save you from experiencing a world of pain and discomfort. The active ingredient in clove oil is eugenol and this treatment is ideal for someone about to undergo a root canal or suffering from dry socket.

If you use clove oil to get relief from a simple cavity please do no do so repeatedly as it is possible to do more harm than good in the long run - only use this remedy to make the wait for your dentist's appointment go by more easily.

Step 1: Whole Cloves

Picture of Whole Cloves

You can simply place a whole clove into your mouth on or near the tooth that hurts, bite down & grind to release the oils, and wait. You'll know the oil has been released when you sense a bitter taste and a tingling sensation on your tongue and gums.

Whether chewing a whole clove or using the oil you will want to spit - don't.
Wait a couple of minutes before rinsing your mouth out with water.

The analgesic effect should last a couple of hours and the bitter taste should subside in under ten minutes.

If you don't have access to clove oil and want to make a close approximation at home, grind whole cloves with a mortar & pestle, coffee grinder or blender.

You can also make clove tea to effectively relieve the pain with less mess - Thanks to putty1cat for sharing!

Step 2: Make a Satchel

Picture of Make a Satchel

Cut a small square of cheesecloth, place a small pile of ground cloves in the centre and tie up with a piece of string.

You can also make a satchel full of whole cloves and chew on it. The oil will soak through the cheesecloth to your teeth and you won't wind up with bits of clove in your mouth.

Step 3: Oil & Boil

Picture of Oil & Boil

Place the satchel into the canning jar and cover with oil. Seal the jar tightly.

Place the jar into a double boiler for 30-50 minutes, then let cool.

Step 4: Wait & Apply

Picture of Wait & Apply

Leave sealed for 1-2 weeks to increase potency. 

Add a few drops of oil to a cotton ball and apply to sore tooth.


Laynie (author)2013-11-06

My dentist told me to use clove after having my wisdom teeth pulled, it really does work!

legionmanchild (author)2013-10-25

I thought the thumbnail picture was a pile of rotten teeth :) Very appropriate!

bruce.desertrat (author)2013-10-24

This is the main ingredient of commercial preparations, like anbesol. Nice to have a 'ibile to save several bucks!

This is also used by dentists all the time. This is what's on the little q-tip they swab your gum with to numb it before sticking the novocain needle in, and mine packed in some when he attached a temporary crown.

Still, if you have tooth pain at all, you should have it checked by a dentist, severe or not...getting some mild pain checked out can well prevent going from 'hey this tooth is sensitive to cold' to ' ouch ouch ouch ouch now I need a root canal!'

kennan (author)2013-10-24

Presumably, this would work for other pain, too, no?

alannarosewhitney (author)kennan2013-10-24


Clove / clove oil has also traditionally been used to sooth sore muscles and other aches besides dental pain. Just use it as a topical salve and don't get it into an open wound, cut or scratch, etc.

kennan (author)alannarosewhitney2013-10-24

Thanks, good to know. And great Instructable.

Yashfa Zafar (author)2013-10-23

Voted! this works, I know :)

whitepaper_01 (author)2013-10-22

This actually WORKS !!
My grandmother forced this "old-wives B.S." upon me.
I was just about to kick her so I could get away when the pained stopped.
After that I pestered her to teach me everything she knew.
She knew a goddam awful lot !!
It was more than once she tried to get rid of me with her boot. But I kept on at her.
I only recently learned that her whole family has this knowledge and that she never went to the hospital once in her life.
Are you kidding me or what!!
Now that ive taught my sons and daughter the same (although I cant recall how i did it) Im pretty sure now that that old woman tricked into learning and passing on that "old wives B.S"

JadeB34 (author)2017-11-24

Bet you will never eat corned beef with cloves stuck in it ever again .

mmarchesoni (author)2013-10-25

Nice instructable. It really works, but sometimes we can't wait for 2 weeks or so to obtain some clove oil to releaf a toothaches.
when it occours, a really good shortcut is to apply the light from a red laser pointer over the sore tooth for a few seconds up to a minute, 3 times a day or more, if necessary.
Common red laser pointers, these ones of 5mW only, works very very well, and are quite safe if no one decides to aim it on others eye, just for fun.

What do you mean? I didnt think that a lazer could help with pain at all can it really do somethng

Yes, it helps very well. I hope you never get a chance to try it yourself, but if it happens, try it
I've used it a few times myself, one time with a ex-girlfriend, with some friends and relatives until now, all with good results.
I've also commented with a two dentists who doesn't belive like you do, but they tried lasers and confirmed the efficacy.

KellyQLD (author)mmarchesoni2015-11-24

this is interesting. Where do you get a red laser pointer from?

Jennifr1966 (author)KellyQLD2016-11-17

I just read this comment and went searching online. Apparently there are laser pointers that will work on pain! (But they usually aren't your regular $5 ones; they need to be more powerful.) I bet you could find one at an office supply place, Ebay, or Amazon.

KellyQLD (author)Jennifr19662016-11-22

Thank you! I forgot all about this until I got a notice of your reply. I'm googling right now :)

ccc0706 (author)2015-02-01

Clove oil has always been a family favorite for my family when curing tooth pain! But the strangest thing is my grandmother is no longer around so i come to look for it online thinking surely someone else knows how she did it ? But i am finding that everywhere i go to it says to put the clove oil directly on the tooth which she never did ! She always warmed it and dipped a cotton ball in the oil and placed the oil filled cotton ball in my ear on whichever side the tooth was affecting me and she would have me lay on the other ear for 15 mins. and the pain would go away for hours !! Today i cant find clove oil anywhere and i dont know how long she warmed it for or if she mixed it with olive oil

AllisonS49 (author)ccc07062016-06-21

I live in Barbados and we do have clove oil hear a lot, but i guess your mother would have gotten a saucepan and cloves put it on the stoves with heat turn down untill the oil came frm the clothes or u can try amazon

patty.welch.77 (author)ccc07062015-03-10

I bought clove oil from amazon. Most older pharmacies still carry it, too. This has been used in my family for generations. You can make your own from whole cloves which are in the spice aisle of most grocery stores. I mix it with olive oil, heat in the microwave till hit to the touch, but not burning, dip a Q-Tip or the end of a cotton ball in the warm mixture and apply completely around the sore tooth and gum. If its a dry socket or where a tooth was pulled, place the cotton ball in the sore spot. You should feel a tingling and soon relief will follow. Rinse your mouth out first with warm salt water as that will remove any film or loose bacteria floating around.

lalexander6 (author)2016-01-04

THIS 100% works even if your in a rush and just want relief chuck the woody little herb in your mouth bite down on it to release the oils and the numbing will begin - move the herb to the area where it hurts and you'll be pain free in no time. - don't worry the horrible taste you will get used to it. - not advised if you are allergic to cloves of course.

lassensurf (author)2013-10-24

This is great. Just reiterating that this is for temporary relief only. If you have a toothache it's because germs are inside your tooth already and getting into the jawbone, creating infection. Go get it taken care of!!! (the longer the tooth is infected, the worse/more painful it is to get it taken care of, I'm a dentist and trying to get a long-time infected/aching tooth numb can be almost impossible!)

Eugenol is the active ingredient in clove oil and it's also used in Orajel, some mouthrinses, topical anesthetics and even some cements that dentists use.

This is a great 'ible. I'll try this! Thanks!

FrankD38 (author)lassensurf2015-12-25

There is no Eugenol in Orajel. Benzocaine is the active ingredient in Orajel. Are you really a Dentist?

JosefH3 (author)2015-09-07

Thank you so much, it really saved me from a lot of pain and suffering...

tammy.alicea (author)2015-01-29

Nasty...but it really does work numbed the tooth , gum and part of my tongue. ...almost insyant relief!

sunnygyk (author)2014-12-28

Thanks! I will try it.

trishaluv30 (author)2014-11-03

I actually got dry socket after getting a tooth pulled so my dentist put a clove wrapped in guaze in the hole that the tooth came out of and all thought it taste horrible it took the pain away almost instantly!!!

james.cooper.9828 (author)2014-07-25

So glad a friend suggested this because on a Friday night (and no access to a dentist) what better way to relieve some of the pain. However, it didn't last for "a couple hours" more like 15/20 minutes. Not letting that stop me: going to make some clove tea now.

motleyjust (author)2013-11-01

In a pinch, I have used ordinary ground cloves from my cooking spices. Just put a bit on a finger tip and rub onto the gums, or into the tooth, if there is an actual hole in it.

SparkyGage (author)2013-10-25

Just chiming in that this does work for TEMPORARY relief. Might want to change the title to say "Relieve" instead of "Cure". Other than that, great writeup I thought.

MrIlson17 (author)2013-10-25

I figured this lil trick with the oil out when I was working in a spice factory. Never knew how to make it though. Thanks

cindi59 (author)2013-10-24

I have clove oil everywhere! Seems like every time I misplace my little bottle someone has a toothache!
I haven't made my own because it is cheap enough in the store.

stephenfitton (author)2013-10-24

Lovely ,yep! it works.
One I haven't tried is the gum from the mulberry tree onto a decayed tooth , rub it in firmly once only and a week later the tooth will crumble recipe- 200 year old.

foolishcop (author)2013-10-24

What kind of oil are you using? Vegetable? Olive? Corn? Something else?

Good question. I'm using grapeseed oil in the instructable.

You can use olive oil, canola, or vegetable, etc... as well. Whatever is on hand or easy to get.

The oil base is acting as a solvent for absorbing the clove oil so the type you use does not make a drastic difference except possibly in colour and taste (though the clove flavour will be strong as well).

Choosing a variety of oil with a higher smoke point is a good idea since you will be heating it for such a long period of time. (i.e. Olive oil is 375℉ while grapeseed is 420℉ and canola is between 400/450℉.)

putty1cat (author)2013-10-23

I just have the whole cloves [3] in a cuppa tea, then tuck them up in my cheek next to the tooth. Less work, lol

Great! I edited the Instructable to include this. Thanks for providing yet another method for using clove to cure toothaches!

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