does placing Crushed aspirin on toothache help?

Crushed aspirin on toothache

Aspirin is the most widely used drug worldwide to treat various medical conditions. Physicians prescribe it for rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and tooth infection for pain relief. In low doses, it prevents heart attack, stroke, and bowel cancer. Additionally, patients use crushed aspirin on toothache for pain relief. 

In this article, we will see how use of crushed aspirin on toothache affects your mouth. Also, I will recommend a few safe alternatives for toothache.

Aspirin is an acidic medicine and contains salicylic acid as the active ingredient. The weak acid (pH 3.5 to 5) in aspirin allows rapid absorption from the gut. It reaches the bloodstream within 20-30 and relieves the pain. 

Composition of tooth enamel

Enamel constitutes the outer layer of the tooth. A tooth enamel comprises of 96% mineral salts and 4% soft organic material and water. The needle-like crystals of calcium phosphate salt make enamel extremely hard to sustain the loads or forces applied during eating, swallowing, etc. 

These strong crystals are susceptible to dissolution by acid present in the environment. Enamel loss due to frequent acid exposure is known as enamel erosion. 

the Consequences of use of crushed aspirin on toothache 

Crushing aspirin and applying it directly to a toothache is not recommended. While aspirin is an analgesic (pain reliever) and anti-inflammatory medication, it is typically intended for oral ingestion, not topical application.

The crushed aspirin may give an instant pain relief. However, its frequent use may cause enamel erosion, an irreversible process. 

Salicylic acid from aspirin also tends to dissolve in saliva and can potentially erode any tooth in the mouth. 

Its long-term use demineralizes the tooth, weakens it and makes it more prone to breakage. The mineral loss also leads to increased sensitivity and a reduced height of the affected teeth. 

The aftermath of crushed aspirin contact with gums

Applying crushed aspirin directly to the gums, tongue and cheek can lead to irritation, potential chemical burns, ulceration or allergic reactions. These chemical burns are known as aspirin burns.

The ulceration occurs due to the death of cells induced by acid. The intensity of the damage is directly related to the frequently of acid exposure.  

Occationally, patients aren’t aware of the ulcer but experiences dull, continuous pain with a burning sensation. The area appears red and swollen, with a white peeling layer of dead cells.    

A case was reported in 1989 where a four-year child was prescribed four chewable aspirin tablets before bedtime for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She fell asleep before swallowing them and came to the clinic the next day with a huge ulcer in the mouth. 

Alternate remedies for pain relief 

There are a few remedies you can do at home to control the pain: 

  • Take a 500mg tablet of aspirin with water. Don’t dissolve or crush it. It takes 20-30 min for the aspirin to reach the blood and relieve the pain. 
  • Instead, you can take ibuprofen (Advil) 400 or 600mg with food every 4-6 hours (don’t take aspirin and ibuprofen together). 
  • If pain persists, you can add 500 mg of acetaminophen (Panadol) to aspirin or ibuprofen. 
  • You can also apply clove oil to the painful tooth. Clove oil contains eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory and numbing properties. 
  • If you have cloves at home, biting on a clove on the painful tooth also helps.
  • Warm salt water rinses 3-4 times daily also reduce inflammation. 
  • Ice application or a cold pack wrapped in a cloth decreases the blood flow at the site of infection and provides transient relief from pain. 

Summary

The crushed aspirin on toothache is not a good idea for pain relief. Aspirin contains salicylic acid as an active agent. If it comes in contact with your gums and cheeks, it may burn them. It appears as an ulcer covered by a layer of dead cells. It can also erode the tooth enamel and can lead to severe consequences. 

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