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How to get rid of a toothache at night

However, there are a number of remedies that may help people find relief and get to sleep, including taking pain relievers or applying a cold compress or even cloves to the tooth.

In this article, learn more about nine home remedies for relieving a toothache at night.

6 ways to treat a toothache at night

Treating a toothache at night may be more difficult, as there is not much to distract a person from the pain.

However, people can try the following methods to relieve pain:

1. Oral pain medication

Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) is a quick, simple way for many people to effectively reduce mild-to-moderate toothaches.

Always stay within the recommended dosage on the packaging.

If the toothache is severe, it is best to see a dentist and speak to them about stronger pain relievers.

2. Cold compress

Using a cold compress may help ease the pain of a toothache.

Applying a bag of ice wrapped in a towel to the affected side of the face or jaw helps constrict the blood vessels in the area, which can reduce pain to allow a person to fall asleep.

Applying a cold compress to the area for 15–20 minutes every few hours in the evening may also help prevent pain when going to bed.

3. Elevation

Pooling blood in the head may cause additional pain and inflammation. For some people, elevating the head with an extra pillow or two may relieve the pain enough for them to fall asleep.

4. Medicated ointments

Some medicated ointments may also help reduce toothache pain. OTC numbing gels and ointments that contain ingredients such as benzocaine may numb the area.

However, benzocaine is not suitable for use by young children.

5. Salt water rinse

A simple salt water rinse is a common home remedy for a toothache.

Salt water is a natural antibacterial agent, so it may reduce inflammation. This, in turn, helps protect damaged teeth from infection.

Rinsing with salt water may also help remove any food particles or debris stuck in the teeth or gums.

6. Hydrogen peroxide rinse

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that generally occurs as a result of poor oral hygiene. It can cause issues such as soreness, bleeding gums, and teeth that come loose in their sockets.

The author of a 2016 study found that rinsing with hydrogen peroxide mouthwash helped reduce plaque and symptoms of periodontitis.

People should always dilute food-grade hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water. Swish the solution in the mouth, but do not swallow it.

This remedy is not suitable for children, as there is a risk they may accidentally swallow the mixture.

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Tooth extraction aftercare: A how-to guide

A dentist or dental surgeon will perform the extraction in their clinic and then give the person some instructions for caring for the area as it heals.

During the appointment, the dental surgeon will inject a strong anesthetic into the area around the tooth to prevent the person from feeling any pain. They will then use a series of instruments to loosen the tooth before pulling it out.

After removing the tooth, they will place gauze over the extraction site to help control bleeding and promote clotting.

Learn more about tooth extraction aftercare in this article. We also provide a general healing timeline and explain when to speak to a dentist.

Aftercare

Aftercare for an extracted tooth can vary slightly depending on a few factors.

These include which tooth the dentist took out, as some teeth have deeper roots than others and take longer to heal. However, most people find that pain decreases after about 3 days.

One of the most important aspects of aftercare is maintaining the blood clot that forms in the socket where the tooth used to be.

Caring for this blood clot is key to the healing process, and it helps prevent painful complications, such as dry socket.

Days 1–2

Much of the aftercare in the first couple of days following an extraction focuses on allowing a blood clot to form and caring for the mouth in general.

As some experts note, low level bleeding for up to 24 hours after an extraction is perfectly normal. However, active bleeding after this point requires treatment.

Here are a few additional tips for the first 2 days of aftercare:

  • Get plenty of rest: Expect to be resting for at least the first 24 hours after the extraction.
  • Change the gauze as necessary: It is important to leave the first gauze in the mouth for at least a few hours to allow the clot to form. After this, it is fine to change the gauze as often as necessary.
  • Avoid rinsing: As tempting as it can be, avoid rinsing, swishing, or gargling anything in the mouth while the area is still clotting. These actions may dislodge any clot that is forming and affect the healing time.
  • Do not use straws: Using a straw places a lot of pressure on the healing wound, which can easily dislodge the blood clot.
  • Do not spit: Spitting also creates pressure in the mouth, which may dislodge the blood clot.
  • Avoid blowing the nose or sneezing: If the surgeon removed a tooth from the upper half of the mouth, blowing the nose or sneezing can create pressure in the head that may dislodge the developing blood clot. Avoid blowing the nose and sneezing if possible.
  • Do not smoke: Smoking creates the same pressure in the mouth as using a straw. While it is best to avoid smoking during the entire healing process, it is crucial not to smoke during the first couple of days as the blood clot forms.
  • Take pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers may help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Use cold compresses: Placing an ice pack or a towel-wrapped bag of ice on the area for 10–20 minutes at a time may help dull pain.
  • Elevate the head: When sleeping, use extra pillows to elevate the head. Lying too flat may allow blood to pool in the head and prolong healing time.
  • Take any medications that the dentist recommends: The dental surgeon may order prescription medications for complex removals. It is important to complete the full course of treatment.

Days 3–10

After the clot has formed, it is vital to keep it securely in place and to follow some extra steps for oral hygiene to help prevent other issues.

Tips for aftercare between the third and 10th day include:

  • Saline rinses: When the clot is securely in place, gently rinse the mouth with a warm saline solution or a pinch of salt in warm water. This mixture helps kill bacteria in the mouth, which may prevent infections as the mouth heals.
  • Brush and floss as usual: Brush and floss the teeth as usual, but take care to avoid the extracted tooth altogether. The saline solution and any medicated mouthwash that a dentist recommends should be enough to clean this area.
  • Eat soft foods: Throughout the entire healing process, people should eat soft foods that do not require a lot of chewing and are unlikely to become trapped in the empty socket. Consider sticking to soups, yogurt, applesauce, and similar foods. Avoid hard toast, chips, and foods containing seeds.

Aftercare for multiple teeth

Sometimes, dental surgeons will need to extract more than one tooth at a time. When extracting multiple teeth, the surgeon is more likely to recommend general anesthesia instead of using a local anesthetic.

The person will, therefore, be unconscious throughout the process. The dentist will also give them some special instructions leading up to the extraction, such as avoiding food for a certain time. After the procedure, the person will need someone else to drive them home.

Caring for multiple extractions can be challenging, especially if they are on different sides of the mouth. Dentists may have specific instructions for these cases, and they may request a follow-up appointment shortly after the extraction.

They may also use clotting aids in the extraction sites. These are small pieces of natural material that helps clotting. The body breaks the clotting aids down safely and absorbs them over time.

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How whitening strips can damage your teeth

Our results showed that treatment with hydrogen peroxide similar to those found in whitening strips is enough to make the original collagen protein disappear, which is presumably due to the formation of many smaller fragments.

Kelly Keenan

The team is not yet sure whether this damage is permanent or if there is any way of reversing it. In the future, the researchers also plan to find out whether hydrogen peroxide affects not just collagen, but also other proteins that dentin contains.

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Health benefits of baking soda and lemon juice

Several scientific studies have examined the health benefits of baking soda and lemon juice separately, but there is not much research to support the combined effects of these two ingredients.

This article discusses some of the potential health benefits of consuming baking soda and lemon juice mixtures.

A note about pH

The idea of combining baking soda and lemon juice draws on basic principles of acidity and the pH scale.

Scientists use the pH scale to measure the acidity of a solution. A solution can have a pH level between 0 and 14.

The lower the pH, the more acidic the solution, so:

  • pH levels below 7 indicate an acidic solution
  • pH levels above 7 indicate an alkaline, or base solution
  • neutral solutions, such as pure water, have a pH of 7

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a base. This means that when people dissolve baking soda in water, it forms an alkaline solution. For example, a 0.1 molar solution of baking soda has a pH of around 8.3.

Lemon juice contains citric acid and has a pH of around 3. Adding baking soda to lemon juice will raise the pH to produce a more neutral solution.

Skin care

Usually, the skin has a weakly acidic pH of about 5.7. Bases, such as baking soda, will increase the pH of the skin. Higher pH levels can disrupt the barrier function of the skin, which may lead to dryness, excess oil production, and acne.

Lemon juice appears to have obvious skincare applications because it contains concentrations of vitamin C and citric acid, which both provide powerful skin benefits. Citric acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that manufacturers commonly use in chemical peels.

However, skin cells naturally repel water-soluble molecules, such as vitamin C. This means that very little vitamin C will actually penetrate the skin.

The high acid content of lemon juice can lower the pH level of the skin. Low pH levels may cause skin irritation, hyperpigmentation, and UV light sensitivity.

Alternatives

Using a homemade mixture of baking soda and lemon juice may potentially be harmful to the skin. Instead, a person can try using neutral cleansers or chemical peels that contain AHAs, such as glycolic acid.

Neutralizing stomach acid

Excess stomach acid can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as heartburn, vomiting, and indigestion.

Many people with excess stomach acid take over-the-counter (OTC) antacids to relieve their symptoms. Consuming baking soda and lemon juice together may also neutralize stomach acid in a similar fashion as an antacid.

A 2017 study examined the antacid effects of various foods. The authors of this study created artificial stomach acid with a pH of 1.2. Although lemon juice by itself had almost no effect, sodium bicarbonate successfully neutralized the synthetic stomach acid.

Many OTC antacids contain sodium bicarbonate and citric acid. Lemons and other citrus fruits are rich sources of naturally-occurring citric acid.

When a person mixes lemon juice and baking soda, the citric acid reacts with the sodium bicarbonate to produce a buffer called sodium citrate. A buffer refers to a weak acid or base that prevents drastic pH changes. Although lemon juice does not neutralize stomach acid, it may help stabilize the pH level inside the stomach.

Alternatives

Using baking soda and lemon juice to combat excess stomach acid may be a good home remedy, as effective OTC antacids contain similar ingredients.

However, mixing the correct proportions of baking soda and lemon juice can be difficult.

Consuming a mixture with too much baking soda may cause diarrhea and gas, whereas too much lemon juice could trigger acid reflux and make symptoms worse. Purchasing an antacid at the drug store is often much safer.

Other home remedies for reducing excess stomach acid include:

  • avoiding or reducing acidic foods and beverages
  • limiting caffeine intake
  • limiting alcohol consumption
  • eating smaller meals
  • drinking more water
  • getting enough sleep

People with severe or persistent acid reflux or heartburn should speak to a doctor or gastroenterologist.

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Xylitol: Uses, effects, and possible benefits

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, which is a type of carbohydrate and does not actually contain alcohol. Xylitol occurs naturally in small amounts in fibrous fruits and vegetables, trees, corncobs, and even the human body.

Manufacturers use xylitol as a sugar substitute because its sweetness is comparable with that of table sugar but with fewer calories.

Xylitol is a common ingredient in many products, from sugar-free chewing gum to toothpaste. People also use xylitol as a table-top sweetener and in baking.

In this article, we look at the uses and potential health benefits of xylitol. We also cover its side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and alternatives.

Uses

Xylitol has a similar level of sweetness to sugar but with a fraction of the calories. It is a popular ingredient in a variety of products, including sugar-free gum and toothpaste.

Manufacturers add xylitol to a range of foods, including:

  • sugar-free candies, such as gum, mints, and gummies
  • jams and jellies
  • honey
  • nut butters, including peanut butter
  • yogurt

Xylitol is also an ingredient in some dental care products, including:

  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • other fluoride products

Xylitol sweeteners are available to purchase online.

Potential benefits

Xylitol has several potential health benefits, including:

Low glycemic index

Xylitol has a low glycemic index (GI). This means that consuming it does not cause spikes in blood glucose or insulin levels in the body. For this reason, xylitol is a good sugar substitute for people with diabetes.

Due to its low GI, xylitol is also a weight loss-friendly sugar substitute.

Also, a 2015 study revealed that xylitol had significant blood glucose-lowering effects in rats that ate high-fat diets.

Dental health

Xylitol is an ingredient in many dental hygiene products, including toothpaste and mouthwash. This is due to the fact that xylitol is non-fermentable, which means that the bacteria in the mouth cannot convert it into the harmful acid that causes tooth decay.

The oral bacterium Streptococcus mutans is largely responsible for plaque, which is the sticky, white substance that can accumulate on the outside of a person’s teeth.

Plaque binds lactic acid against the surface of the tooth. This acid breaks down the enamel and leads to tooth decay.

While it is normal for people to have some plaque on their teeth, excess amounts can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

A 2017 systematic review suggests that xylitol reduces the amount of S. mutans bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the amount of plaque and may help prevent tooth decay.

A 2014 study examined the effects of xylitol on Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is the bacterium responsible for gingivitis, or gum disease. If left untreated, excess amounts of P. gingivalis can move into the bloodstream and lead to systemic inflammation.

In the study, scientists grew samples of P. gingivalis in a laboratory and added them to human cell cultures pretreated with xylitol. They saw that xylitol increased the production of immune system proteins and inhibited the growth of the bacteria.

Side effects and safety

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved xylitol as a food additive. Xylitol is generally safe, but like other sugar alcohols, it can cause digestive issues such as bloating and diarrhea in some people.

It is worth noting that xylitol can be very toxic to dogs. It is vital to store products containing xylitol in a safe place that pets cannot reach. Anyone who thinks that their dog has consumed xylitol should call their veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

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Eleven tips to treat white spots on teeth

Although people may see white spots on their teeth as undesirable, they rarely need to be a serious cause for concern from a medical point of view.

In this article, we look at the reasons why people might get white spots on their teeth, and provide 11 tips for treating and preventing them.

Causes

There are several possible causes of white spots on the teeth.

A common cause is dental fluorosis.

People usually get this when they are young if they consumed too much fluoride as a child. It is usually a harmless condition that only tends to develop before the teeth break through the gums.

Another common cause is enamel hypoplasia.

This condition occurs when a person’s teeth enamel does not form properly. Like fluorosis, hypoplasia only occurs during childhood when a person’s teeth are still developing. However, it can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Other causes of white spots on the teeth include poor dental hygiene, especially when someone is wearing braces, or eating too many acidic or sugary foods.

Treatments

There are several possible treatments for white spots on the teeth. The suitability of these treatments may depend on the underlying cause of the white spots and the condition of a person’s teeth.

1. Enamel microabrasion

Some people may be able to have microabrasion done to treat their white spots. During this procedure, a dentist removes a small amount of enamel from the teeth to reduce the appearance of the white spots.

This professional treatment is typically followed by teeth bleaching, which can make the teeth appear more uniform in color.

2. Teeth whitening or bleaching

Whitening or bleaching teeth can help to reduce the appearance of white spots and other stains. A variety of teeth whitening products, such as strips and paste, are available over-the-counter (OTC.) People can also buy these products online.

People with white spots can also see a dentist for professional whitening treatments. These treatments tend to use stronger bleaching solutions than those available OTC, which may make them work better.

3. Dental veneer

Dental veneers are thin, protective coverings that attach to the front surface of a person’s teeth. They can conceal white spots and other blemishes very effectively.

Dental veneers are only available from a dentist and must be professionally fitted. This can make them costly.

4. Topical fluoride

A dentist may apply topical fluoride to the teeth of people with enamel hypoplasia. This may encourage the development of enamel on the teeth and help prevent tooth decay.

5. Composite resin

For people with enamel hypoplasia, a dentist may apply composite resin to fill in cavities and to bond the outer enamel of the teeth. This may not be suitable if people have large numbers of white spots on their teeth.

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