WSJ: Rainforest Toothache Remedy

In a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, scientists are said to have discovered a new plant that can treat toothaches. An anthropologist studying in the Peruvian rainforest developed a toothache and was given the now popular plant to chew on. The Peruvians she was with noticed her ailment and gave her what is said to be a centuries-old indigenous Peruvian tribe remedy for toothaches, ulcers and abscesses.

Although the remedy became an afterthought to Cambridge University anthropologist Francoise Freedman after treatment, she quickly remembered the plant once a Cambridge-based neuroscientist asked her to bring back medicinal plant samples back for research. The plant was one of the last on the list but was actually one of the first plants tested by labs in the UK. Its immediate success spurred excitement as it has since performed well during its first two phases of clinical trials. Dentists are excited because if the plant is successful it may negate the need of synthetic anesthetics in dental use. This means no need for needles in many dental surgeries.

What Causes a Toothache Anyway?

Toothaches are pains in or around the teeth that are often caused by tooth decay, tooth fracture, a damaged filling, grinding teeth, or infected teeth. Current treatment depends greatly on the cause of your toothache and your dentist will first try to determine this before administering any treatment. If your toothache is caused by a cavity, your dentist will fill the cavity, pull your tooth, or administer a root canal.

Toothache Prevention

Good oral hygiene habits are the best way to prevent toothaches and most other dental health issues. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist biannually for a regular cleaning and diagnosis. If you feel the effects of a toothache frequently, contact your dentist immediately to prevent more severe dental problems from occurring.