Why You Should Try Using Vanilla Extract To Reduce Tooth Pain

The word vanilla is often used to describe something ordinary, but pure vanilla — a dried, cured "bean" from a vine-like plant that is a member of the orchid family — is anything but. In fact, the value of the global vanilla market came in at $510 million in 2018, and that number is expected to rise to an estimated $735 million by 2026, according to Zion Market Research.

The vanilla plant originated in an area of southern North America and part of Central America called Mesoamerica, which includes Mexico, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. Specifically, the earliest growers of vanilla are believed to be the Totonac people of what is known today as Veracruz, Mexico, with the Maya civilization being the first to use vanilla in a beverage, per Smithsonian Magazine.

As a result of European conquests, the vanilla plant made its way to Europe, and eventually, Madagascar. Here, a new pollination technique emerged and helped vanilla proliferate around the world. Vanilla quickly became an ingredient in desserts, perfumes, and medicines. However, cultivating vanilla plants requires skill, and the cost of vanilla can be upwards of $300 a pound. As a result, less than one percent of the vanilla flavoring that is estimated to be in 18,000 products comes from the actual vanilla beans. Consequently, most of what we consume is likely a replication of the vanillin compound that naturally occurs in the vanilla plant, per Smithsonian Magazine.

How pure vanilla extract provides temporary tooth pain relief

Once vanilla seeds — or pods — are fully mature, vanilla producers soak the pods in alcohol to extract the vanilla flavor, which forms the product of pure vanilla extract, per Reader's Digest.

Though mainly used for baking and cooking, health experts say it is the alcohol that makes pure vanilla extract a good home remedy to have for tooth pain. 1Dental explains that pure vanilla extract is effective for soothing tooth pain due to cavities, receding gums, and abscesses — this is due to the antiseptic and analgesic properties of the alcohol. Additionally, an active ingredient in vanilla extract called eugenol contains pain-relieving properties and is regularly used in dentistry.

To provide temporary tooth pain relief, apply a small amount of vanilla extract to a cotton ball and hold it on the affected gum area for several minutes. Re-apply and repeat for as long as you need over the course of the day to further dull the pain. Alternatively, you can apply the vanilla extract to your fingertip and massage the affected gum area. You may also discover that as you apply the extract, you'll find comfort in vanilla's aroma, per Mission Bend Family Dentistry.

While pure vanilla extract may numb your pain, it will not cure the cause of your dental issue. If your pain does not subside, make sure you see a dentist as soon as possible.