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CBD for Toothache: Can it Relieve Tooth Pain?

A toothache can make you miserable. There’s nothing as annoying as a sudden toothache early in the morning. But they do happen to almost all of us and can be very painful, accompanied by aches in other parts of the face and head.

A lot of it has to do with your oral hygiene. But that’s not all there is to it.

Toothaches often occur due to inflammation caused by an infection in a dental pulp, known as pulpitis, abscessed tooth, or dental cavities, also known as tooth decay.

It may also occur due to dental trauma, post-surgical recovery pain,  dental impaction, or grinding teeth (better known as bruxism, caused by stress, sleep apnea, a parasitic infection of the intestines, or dental anomalies).

At times, it may have nothing to do with your teeth, per se. You may be suffering from an inflammation in your sinuses, and yet the pain can be felt in your teeth. This is called referred pain. Sinusitis and ear pain are examples of referred pain that are felt in your teeth.

No matter what the reasons for toothache may be, it’s best to visit a dentist or an orthodontist if the pain is persistent or gets unbearable. Ignoring toothaches can lead to further complications.

People often tend to ignore oral hygiene and dental care. However, one must maintain good dental health to prevent infections to develop and spread. One must go for regular dental check-ups every six months to a year to prevent any dental disease.

What To Do To Prevent Toothaches?

Often toothaches come on without warning and can be quite intolerable. So much so, it can even keep you from carrying out normal life activities. Trying to get rid of toothaches can be quite difficult.

So, what should a person do until he can get professional medical help?

Most people reach for home remedies, like a cold compress, eating cold beverages, keeping the head in an elevated position, rinsing the mouth with salt water or other dental hygiene mouthwash, dabbing clove oil over the affected tooth, or drinking peppermint tea.

But, these are temporary solutions. It can only help you manage the pain until you can get proper medical attention.

There are some over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), which can be taken to numb the pain to a considerable extent.

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However, these won’t address the underlying problem. Besides, all pharmaceutical drugs come with some acute or chronic side-effects, including nausea, diarrhea, constipation, drowsiness, dizziness, slurred speech, skin rashes, aggravation of symptoms, insomnia, headaches, blurred vision, auditory dysfunction, or even hallucinations.

Even the slightest overdosing of such OTC drugs could make your situation even worse.

Can CBD Oils Help Rid You Of Those Pesky Toothaches?

There has been some emerging evidence, indicating the benefits of both the key cannabis compounds – THC (∆-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) – to dental health.

Both available in marijuana as well as hemp plants, these cannabinoids have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

While these certainly do seem to indicate that CBD could have some benefits in dental health, there is very limited direct research into the applications of cannabis derivatives, like CBD, in the field of dentistry.

Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence has driven researchers to look more closely into the possible ways this non-psychoactive cannabinoid could have an impact on human teeth.

  • According to a study, published in Future Medicinal Chemistry in October 2009, cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties, with capabilities to control inflammation, reduce it, and manage pain.
  • A 2019 review, published in the Antioxidants, cannabidiol has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. That is to say, it not only reduces inflammatory responses in the body, it also takes care of the reason for the inflammation.
  • Another 1976 study, published in the Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a peer-reviewed scientific journal on microbiology, found evidence of CBD having antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It is capable of not only inhibiting bacteria from entering the body, but it also kills them before they can spread the infection.

Dental surgeon, Mark Burhenne, has, in his blog, said that he recommends CBD oil to patients to reduce surgery-related anxiety as well as to speed up the healing process and reduce post-surgery pain from dental work or surgery. He even recommends CBD oil for sensitive teeth and toothaches.

However, is there any study, focusing specifically on periodontal therapy?

  • In a 2020 study, published in the Cureus, the efficacy of cannabinoids, CBD, and THC, were compared with commercial oral care products in reducing bacterial content from dental plaque. The study revealed that “cannabinoids were more effective in reducing the bacterial colony count in dental plaques as compared to the well-established synthetic oral care products, such as Oral B and Colgate”.
  • In another 2017 review, published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, the team of researchers, pointed to the potential of CBD in treatment of oral mucositis, a type of inflammation inside the mouth, generally caused by radiation therapy or chemotherapy, and other oxidative stress‐mediated side-effects of these therapies on the oral mucosa. The researchers felt that this cannabinoid could be a safer option over painkillers and synthetic mouthwashes.

These seem to suggest that cannabinoids could be used as an “effective and safer antibacterial agent against dental plaque-associated bacteria instead of synthetic antibiotics and other oral hygiene products” available in the market.

What about antibiotic-resistant infections?

  • In one 2019 study, published in the Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, CBD was found to be effective even on antibiotic-resistant infections. It was also seen to enhance the efficacy of antibiotics when taken together.

This opens up a new avenue of studies – one that could suggest that CBD’s interaction with antibiotics could be minimal. In fact, they could be more impactful – together!

If CBD can be such an enhancer of oral and dental health, how would you use it? It is not like a joint pain – it’s inside your mouth – and you can’t put anything into your mouth that you wouldn’t want inside your body, right?

How to Use CBD for Toothaches

CBD is available in different forms, infused in a variety of products, in the market. Many of them are designed to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation in teeth and gums.

For oral and dental health, you can choose a good brand of CBD oral sprays, oils, tinctures, or even capsules.

Some online brands and retail stores also stock CBD-infused health foods, toothpaste, mouthwash, beverages (water, juices, tea, and coffee).

However, you’d do well to remember that the concentration in the latter types of products isn’t high enough to relieve pain. For those, you may want to stick to the former type of products and may complement them with the latter type of products.

In the absence of sufficient direct evidence of CBD’s efficacy in treating toothaches, we must remember that for toothaches, like in case of any other medical condition, cannabinoids, like CBD, don’t interact with everyone’s body in the same way.

Besides, not all types of products interact with the human body in the same way. While vaping CBD, using it sublingually, or directly on the tooth and gums may be fast-acting, capsules, though effective, have a slower uptake. That is due to the first-pass effect that happens when a substance or drug goes through the digestive system to break down and enter your bloodstream.

However, to get a better understanding of the best route of administration for you, you must seek a dentist’s advice.

Do You Need A Prescription To Use CBD for Toothache?

Cannabis laws in the USA can be a bit confusing. While marijuana and any product derived from it are illegal, hemp production and hemp-derived CBD products are federally legal.

However, very few commercially made CBD products are adequately effective like medical marijuana, which requires a MM card to buy and can be purchased only if you live in the 33 states where medicinal marijuana is legal.

Besides, in some states, any CBD product is illegal. So, it’s imperative that you know and understands the laws of your place of residence.

Key Takeaway: Should You use CBD if You Have Toothache?

To use CBD for toothaches, you would need to do quite a bit of homework. Although CBD may seem like an excellent alternative to painkillers in reducing toothaches, you must be absolutely sure about the products available in the market as well as the laws of the place you live in before ordering a CBD product online.

It’s always best to consult your dentist or orthodontist before you opt for self-administered treatments to reduce dental pain.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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