An abscess is a cavity formed due to the decay of body tissue and the accumulation of pus in that cavity. The decay of tissue occurs when microbes invade the body through cuts or wounds. The formation of pus in the abscess is the body’s natural defense mechanism to contain and localize the microbial infection to a small, restricted area. There are three types of abscesses that affect teeth: gingival abscess, caused by injury or infection on the surface of gums; periodontal abscess, which affects the gums more deeply and causes the formation of pus within the gums; and periapical abscess, which infects the pulp of a tooth and accompanies tooth decay. Dental caries are one of the most common abscess causes, as they corrode the enamel and the dentin of teeth, allowing bacteria to invade and infect the tooth pulp and lead to pus formation. External injury may also sometimes cause abscesses. In some cases, an improper root canal surgery may also be followed by the formation of an abscess. Acute toothache and inflammation of the gums, sometimes accompanied with fever, foul breath and malodorous oral secretions are the most common abscess symptoms. Maintaining oral hygiene is the most effective way of preventing abscesses.
Any form of abscess treatment must involve purging the tooth or the gums of the pus, since this is the medium in which the bacterial growth takes place. There are a few popular means of natural cure of abscesses. Adding a few drops of clove oil into a small cup of water and using this as a mouthwash not only relieves pain but also kills bacteria in the affected region. Sometimes, direct application of clove oil to the abscess is also recommended. A mouthwash made by mixing small quantities of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in a glass of water and using this after every meal also cures abscesses. Using black or green tea, to which no milk or sugar has been added, also helps. A few drops of iodine or, alternatively, tannic acid mixed with half a glass of water serves as an oral disinfectant solution. External application of onion juice and eucalyptus oil is known to help as well. Make a poultice by beating an egg with three tablespoons of white flour and heated slowly till it becomes a white paste. Apply this paste on piece of soft cotton cloth and dab the affected area with it.