The great thing about the internet is its ability to connect us with a world of information. Unfortunately, not all of that information is accurate. Take the old wives’ tale about treating toothaches with an aspirin. Bad idea, says Dr. Ryan Hussong. Dr. Hussong, who treats toothaches in Polk City, IA, explains that only your general dentist is qualified to dispense advice on oral health. In today’s post, he debunks a so-called remedy that’s been circulating on Pinterest and elsewhere.
Is Placing an Aspirin on Your Tooth Safe?
It’s easy to spot a failed home remedy, especially one that involves aspirin, also called acetylsalicylic acid, Acid—that’s the key word here. If you’ve ever suffered from heartburn or reflux, you’re well aware of the destructive, uncomfortable effects of acid, whether in the form of stomach acid or aspirin. When you introduce acetylsalicylic acid to the sensitive tissues in your mouth, the aspirin creates an effect not unlike heartburn. Taking an aspirin for a headache doesn’t harm your mouth because you swallow the medication. Applying it to the tooth and oral tissue results in a chemical burn that causes pain for several days. Why risk an infection on top of a chemical burn on top of a toothache?
Why Doesn’t the Aspirin Remedy Work?
The mechanism of action for aspirin involves inhibiting production of chemicals that cause you to feel pain. You chew or swallow the medication, which is absorbed by your intestines before entering the bloodstream. Aspirin circulates throughout your body, interfering with pain-causing chemicals along the way. When you take aspirin or any other over-the-counter pain reliever, the medication will be most effective when taken exactly as recommended. Even if you dissolved an aspirin in your mouth, only a negligible amount of the medication would enter your bloodstream—not enough to have a therapeutic effect on your pain. You might just as easily get the same results from gluing an aspirin to your elbow!
Can I Still Get Pain Relief From Taking Aspirin?
It’s true that aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relievers provide temporary relief from toothaches, but none of these medications actually address the cause of your discomfort. Suppose you break your ankle. You might take pain medication, but that doesn’t mean you’ll forgo treatment altogether. Your tooth shouldn’t be any different. Tooth pain may stem from decay, nerve damage, or an infection deep within the tooth. The best way—the only way—to find real relief is to treat the problem, usually with a crown, root canal treatment, or extraction.
Questions about treating your toothache in Polk City, IA? To learn more about caring for toothaches, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental Group at (515) 984-6001. We welcome patients living in Ames, Alleman, Ankeny, Urbandale, West Des Moines, and the neighboring communities.