Best Remedy for Toothache - Saliva and Tongue




Saliva contains opiorphin, which as an analgesic is more potent than morphine (J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 2010, 61, 483) but has a poor bioavailability (J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 2010, 61, 483; Behav. Brain Res. 2010, 213, 88). Thus saliva has some potential as an analgesic.

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Step 1: Just Your Saliva

If you gather a lot of saliva inside your mouth (do not add water from outside, just secrete as much saliva as you can in your mouth) and then swish the whole saliva in your mouth - as long as you can, typically 3 to 5 minutes - the pain will subside. The saliva needs to be swallowed and replenished from time to time to ensure the levels of opiorphin, the most probable active agent.

Step 2: Just Your Tongue

If you put the tip of the tongue on the gum of the affected tooth and hold the tongue there for at least a minute - you can get some relief. Increasing the duration will definitely help. I do understand that going by the literature the saliva (or the opiorphin in the saliva) should be responsible and not the tongue, but the tongue might just be applying pressure on the nerves at that point thus numbing them until the saliva can do its job. Also I have observed that when I hold my tongue at the desired position (image), i.e. at an angle to the normal orientation of the tongue, the saliva secretion increases. Thus the tongue might be playing a dual role of numbing the nerves as well as enhancing saliva secretion.

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    9 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I googled if saliva contained numbing agent and found this! I have a hole in my tooth, it's been 4 years now (i've seen the dentist, they said it's small and there isn't much they can do about it. The tooth isnt dead. And they asked for 1k to fill the

    At any rate, ibuprophine DOES work best but when I first started having toothaches, they were extremely painful---mind numbingly painful and somehow my mouth would fill with saliva and compact around the hurt tooth. I didn't even notice I was doing this until after I started feeling better.

    Now when I get a toothache and no meds around I simply fill my mouth with saliva and let it run over the tooth. I'm pretty sure whatever numbing stuff in it has gotten more potent in my mouth because it really works fast now.


    I've taken the liberty to look at the studies that you reference.
    Frankly, it doesn't make much sense to me.

    I think that you have more benefit from pressing on the tooth with your tongue and interfering with the pain signals via pressure (Gate's Theory of Pain). A tooth is a closed system, and stuff can't really get inside the pulp space to affect the nerves of a tooth.

    The study asks why rats (40 subjects, I think) feel some pain relief when they administer spit to wounds (and extrapolates it to humans). The proteins are identified as a potentially new class of painkilling drugs in the future (which should be exciting if viable).

    If you have a toothache, go see a dentist!

    (disclaimer, I'm a dentist. I've also seen a lot of nasty things when people ignore things until they hurt.)

    2 replies

    Sir, I am sure ibuprofen works better - given the time. But the saliva provides some relief - even if you just do step 1. The problem with opiorphin is its biodegradability which means it is available only transiently. If somehow its bioavailability can be increased, it will become a tremendous thing.
     I am a graduate student in Chemistry. I have done controls (or control reactions) on myself to check for the effect of pressure; pressure is important. Pain cannot be felt if I keep (hold) water (just water, nothing else) in my mouth, but as soon as I throw the water out, the pain returns. I used this technique to keep the pain out until the ibuprofen took effect. Then suddenly, rather accidentally, I came across this tongue or saliva technique. With tongue (hence pressure, step 2 only, not step 1) technique, the pain is not felt and though the pain can subside after moving the tongue out of the affected place - it takes time. But if I swish a good amount of the saliva in my mouth (hence a greater concentration of opiorphin) the pain takes lower times to subside, and it is not psychological.
     Sir, you mentioned you are a dentist. I will be very grateful if you suggest some of your patients to try this technique (step 1 - swishing with saliva only, not the step 2) before they take the ibuprofen. At least, the saliva does not contain any hepatotoxic compound to my knowledge. I will be waiting to hear back from you, until then I will keep looking at the literature and forward you if I find something relevant.
    Thank you.


    By closed system, I mean that the nerves inside a tooth should be hermetically sealed and NOT interacting with the outside environment (unless it's a really, really big cavity!). Thus, saliva shouldn't really be touching things (unless you have an open hole through your tooth). Furthermore, a control of one isn't relevant from a research standpoint.

    In any case, I'll pass this along to my research colleagues next time I see them--it'd be interesting to see what they think. I'm pretty sure that peer review would suspend my license if I told my patients to swish with saliva for pain!

    Again, let me know if you find some good literature.
    If you happen to be in SF, I'd be happy to buy you some lunch.


    5 years ago on Step 1

    To produce a lot of saliva... just imagine biting into a lemon. Imagine each bite with the sour lemon juice squirting into your mouth. Keep it up. You'll have plenty...

    3 replies
    harmless mattTexGEOas

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not sure about how effective saliva is as a painkiller.
    It's got a number of good compounds for preventing tooth decay and fighting bacteria--but as a painkiller I haven't seen anything in the literature.

    I think that this is more due to the pressure that you're putting on the area, which corresponds with the Gate's Theory of pain (pressure signals can overload pain signals in a nerve).

    Anyways, I think that I'll stick to ibuprofen until I see further literature..
    Please PM me some supporting studies.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Sure, I'll try that. But the active component opiorphin degrades very quickly in the biological system. I don't know how long it will survive in the presence of citric acid (from the lemon juice).


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I rather think TexGEOas was alluding to IMAGINING the lemon rather than actually eating it.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    That would be the---imaginary citric acid from the---imaginary---lemon, right?

    Maybe better to use a small item like an unshelled hazelnut (or similar size) that won't add to the mouths chemistry but would help make more saliva---like the pebble in the mouth in the desert effect.