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Plants used in dentistry: Cloves

This item is adapted from the British Dental Journal: Plants used in dentistry past and present (January 2015)

  • Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the Myrtaceae family, Syzygium aromaticum.
  • In the past cloves were used as a remedy to ease the pain of toothache. Clove oil has a local anaesthetic effect and temporarily numbs and relieves pain.
  • It is used in the preparation of some toothpastes and in Clovacaine solution, a local anaesthetic used in oral ulceration and inflammation.
  • Eugenol, which is extracted from essential oils including clove oil, is also mixed with zinc oxide to form temporary tooth restorations.