Pop quiz: Can you name all of the oral health care items in your home? We’ll bet that you have a toothbrush at the very least. There may also be floss and mouthwash, which is definitely a great start. But most people’s dental arsenal stops there, so if that includes you, you’re likely not prepared for an at-home dental emergency.
But we’re here to help. Today, we’re sharing the most essential items to add to your emergency kit for when an urgent dental issue happens. And if you are unable to see your dentist right away, you’ll be thankful you made the extra investment in these simple items until you can get the care you need.
- Disposable gloves
You may actually have these in your home already, so stash a few extra sets in your emergency kit. You should absolutely not dive into any situation involving blood and other fluids without proper protection. (Tip: Skip the latex version and go with nitrate to avoid potential allergic reactions.)
- Cotton balls
You probably have these in your medicine cabinet, too. Their absorbency makes them a great bandage if you have any oral bleeding.
- Oral gel
For toothache relief, you’ll want to stock up on a topical benzocaine gel, which can be purchased at your local drug store.
- Temporary filling material
Yes, you can patch up a damaged tooth with a drugstore tooth filling kit. However, we want to be clear: this is NOT a replacement for seeking care from your dentist. This should only be used as a temporary fix until you can make that essential appointment to repair the damage.
If you’re not going to be near your pantry, you’ll want to include some salt in your kit. If you have oral bleeding, a warm salt-water solution can help disinfect the area prior to any care you apply. The pH level caused by the salt creates an alkaline environment, which makes it harder for bacteria to survive.
- Black tea bags
No, these aren’t for drinking! Black tea contains lots of tannins, which have three key properties to help with oral bleeding, usually after surgery. To use, boil a black tea bag for 2-3 minutes and let it cool before applying to the affected area.
- Hemostatic: This causes blood to coagulate and stop bleeding.
- Astringent: This help body tissues shrink or contract.
- Antiseptic: Black tea is a mild antiseptic, which means it kills bacteria.
The bottom line: Prevention and preparedness are the best tools in your arsenal. At the end of the day, no one is immune to dental accidents and emergencies. But with the proper preventative care of brushing, flossing and regular exams, you can certainly reduce the chance of them occurring. And when emergencies do happen, the items listed above can aid in treatment until you can see your dentist.