Vitamin C for Tooth Pain
I’d been under a heavy load of emotional stress for some days and noticed that I was developing pain around an upper molar – not awful enough to keep me up at night but certainly unwelcome and inconvenient. I mentioned it to David Miller, MD (the nutritional supplements guru at LifeThyme Market in Greenwich Village) just to see if he had a trick up his sleeve for this that didn’t involve an emergency dental appointment. And he did! He recommended taking vitamin C. Knowing I had some Emergen-C at home, he suggested taking one packet of it every two hours until mildly loose stool began.
So that evening I drank a packet of Emergen-C Immune Plus (Blueberry-Acai) mixed into a cup of filtered water – and my tooth pain was gone a few hours later!
SO WHY DID IT WORK? I’ve since learned it was the high amount of Vitamin C in Emergen-C that stopped the pain. Emergen-C Immune Plus® System Support (Blueberry Acai) contains:
1000 mg Vitamin C
1000 IU Vitamin D
7 B Vitamins, antioxidants and Electrolytes
Other Natural Flavors
Vitamin C destroys bacteria and also enlivens blood circulation so more blood began going to the tooth and gum area that had become tender. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had been clenching my jaw during that time of great stress. Vitamin C also supports the immune system and is critical to the formation of collagen. VITAMIN C IS A NATURAL ANTIBIOTIC Vitamin C is a powerful, natural broad-spectrum antibiotic, antihistamine, antitoxic, and antiviral. The astute, early 20th-century dentist Weston Price, best known for his theories on the relationship between nutrition, dental health, and physical health, labeled Vitamin C an “invisible toothbrush”. (Cheraskin, 2001). More research led to the 3rd edition (2011) of Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD’s interesting book Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins. This is Amazon’s description of it:
“Several years ago the author, cardiologist Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD was asked to assist Hal Huggins, DDS, with a number of Dr. Huggins’ dental patients. Each of the patients was quite ill and obviously suffering with one or more very serious medical conditions. Prior to sedating each patient Dr. Huggins asked Dr. Levy to administer a specific protocol of vitamin C. “Dr. Levy had never performed or even heard of such a practice but was greatly impressed as each patient left the dental office markedly improved — many were asymptomatic. As a result, his interest in vitamin C was greatly aroused and he began a search through all the medical literature for any studies concerning this vitamin therapy and the miraculous results he had witnessed time and time again. “He quickly found the medical journals were filled with thousands of studies and articles about vitamin C. Many of them reported similarly dramatic results with a myriad of diseases and other difficult medical conditions. Dr. Levy knew that this was information that all his colleagues needed. Consequently, he was compelled to spend the next four years researching and writing Curing the Incurable. Because this book was written especially for his medical colleagues, Dr. Levy has taken great care to research, document, and report the vital truths about vitamin C — he cites over 1,200 scientific references.
“Curing the Incurable provides the information you need to most effectively use vitamin C to:
Prevent, cure, reverse and/or greatly improve a massive list of health conditions.
Cut your mortality risk (from all causes) by as much as 50%.
Boost your immune system and energy levels to optimum levels.
Optimize blood and intracellular levels of vitamin C.
Dramatically increase bio-availability (up to 800% or more) without increasing your dose size.
Avoid gastric discomfort, the diarrhea, and increased urination that prove most of your large doses of vitamin C are headed for the sewer.
And much, much more
I also came across another person’s report of his experience using Vitamin C for a painful toothache: “I got a terrible toothache from an impacted dental implant. My face swelled. My vision blurred as the swelling put pressure on my optic nerve. The pain was extreme.
“I decided to take 15 of the 500 mg. vitamin C three times a day with a lot of water. It was now almost impossible to eat due to pain and swelling. The day after I began taking the large amount of vitamin C there was improvement: I no longer felt like screaming from the pain. By the third day the swelling was down and the pain was mostly a memory. I was, to say the least, impressed.” (Health Boundaries, 2016) I don’t know for sure, but my assumption is that the 1,000 mg of Vitamin C in the packet of Emergen-C brought more blood to the afflicted area and attacked whatever infection was beginning in that tooth and/or the gum surrounding it.
And now I’ve just ordered Dr Levy’s book and am eager to read it.
VITAMIN C INCREASES BLOOD CIRCULATION Vitamin C both tones blood vessels and prevents free radicals from damaging the circulatory system, ensuring that blood flows freely throughout the body. (Poor Circulation, 2016)
“One of the most intensely studied areas of vitamin C benefits is in the area of cardiovascular health. Researchers are finding that vitamin C impacts several aspects of cardiac health, ranging from blood pressure to endothelial health. Perhaps it’s not surprising that as the relationship between oxidative damage, inflammation, and atherosclerosis becomes increasingly investigated by science, vitamin C is seen as a key protective element against many aspects of cardiovascular disease.
“For years, scientists have warned us against the dangerous buildup of plaque that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Researchers are investigating the possibility that vitamin C may play a role in reducing our risk of plaque buildup.
“In the early stages of atherosclerosis, white blood cells called monocytes migrate and stick to the walls of the endothelium. Once this process begins, our vessel walls begin to thicken and lose their elasticity, which paves the way for atherosclerosis.
“Interestingly, British researchers studied the effects of vitamin C supplementation (250 mg/day) on this adhesion process in 40 healthy adults. Before the study, subjects with low pre-supplementation levels of vitamin C had 30% greater monocyte adhesion than normal, putting them at higher risk for atherosclerosis. Impressively, after six weeks of supplementation, the rate of this dangerous monocyte adhesion actually fell by 37%.
“The researchers went on to demonstrate that the same small dose of vitamin C was able to normalize a molecule that white blood cells use to adhere to the endothelium. The findings indicated that through supplementation with vitamin C scientists were able to regulate how specific genes produce vital proteins, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease at the molecular level. “Building on this important work, scientific researchers in 2005 studied the impact of antioxidant supplementation on degenerative aortic stenosis, an age-associated heart valve disorder that has an inflammatory component.9 The scientists studied 100 patients with mild-to-moderate aortic stenosis, randomly assigning 41 of them to receive vitamins C (1,000 mg/day) and E (400 IU/day), 39 to receive vitamin C only (1,000 mg/day), and 20 to serve as untreated controls. Both supplemented groups experienced significant reductions in levels of several important adhesion molecules, potentially reducing further inflammatory damage to the heart valves.
“And just as vitamin C helps preserve vascular integrity, it is also proving beneficial in combating other risk factors for endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.” (Goepp, 2008) HEALTHY MOUTH, HEALTHY HEART
“Not getting enough ascorbic acid — more commonly known as vitamin C — in your diet can lead to atherosclerosis and the build up of plaque in the blood vessels that impedes blood flow. Vitamin C may also assist in keeping arteries flexible, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Foods that contain ascorbic acid include fruits such as watermelon, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapefruit, tomatoes and mango. Vegetables are good sources of vitamin C as well, including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, winter squash and leafy green.” (Miller, 2015)
VITAMIN C SUPPORTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
“One of the most important functions of vitamin C is to support and energize the body’s immune system. Immune cells have active vitamin C transporter molecules embedded in their membranes that actively pump the vitamin into the cells when more vitamin C is required.” (Robertson, 2015)
People with many common diseases have severely reduced Vitamin C blood levels compared to healthy individuals. And, in part because of an increasingly oxidative environment that eats up Vitamin C, the elderly tend to have lower levels of Vitamin C circulating in their bloodstream and immune cells, leading to impaired immune function. (Robertson, 2015)
The table below shows lower plasma vitamin C levels in people with serious diseases (especially cancer and sepsis) than in healthy individuals. Note that a healthy Vitamin C blood level range is considered to be 61-80 micromolecules/L. (Robertson, 2015) TABLE: VITAMIN C LEVELS FALL IN MULTIPLE DISEASE STATES Healthy Vitamin C Range is 61-80 mmol/L
Vitamin C In Disease States Mean Plasma Vitamin C Level (micromol/L)
Diabetes 42 mmol/L
Gastritis 46 mmol/L
Pancreatitis 33 mmol/L
Pneumonia 31 mmol/L
Cancer < 24 mmol/L
Trauma or sepsis (overwhelming infection) 10 mmol/L
Arthritis 27 mmol/L
A healthy vitamin C level is considered to be between 61 and 80 micromol/L. Those afflicted with serious diseases have much lower vitamin C levels. It is likely that the inflammation and oxidative stress caused by some of these diseases contributes to this reduced vitamin C since it will rapidly be used up quenching free radicals. It’s also possible that lower levels of vitamin C contributed to the development or progression of some of these disorders. VITAMIN C IS NECESSARY FOR COLLAGEN PRODUCTION
The body requires Vitamin C for collagen production. Collagen is a protein that performs many important functions in the body (English & Cass, 2013):
Collagen forms connective fibers in tissues such as skin, ligaments, cartilage, bones and teeth.
Collagen acts as a kind of intracellular “glue” that gives support, shape and bulk to blood vessels, bones, and organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver.
Collagen fibers keep bones and blood vessels strong and help anchor our teeth to our gums.
Collagen is required for the repair of blood vessels, bruises, and broken bones.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, accounting for more mass than all the other body’s proteins put together.
Dr Emily Kane, ND, LAc, recommends 4-9 grams/day of Vitamin C, to promote collagen healing and retard plaque growth. She says gums that bleed easily may be a sign of Vitamin C deficiency. “Vitamin C is a large, complex molecule that can ‘absorb’ a free-radical and stop the chain of destruction.
Vitamin C is inexpensive (manufacturers never cheat in its production, unlike with Vitamin E), widely available in a variety of forms and generally well tolerated. Some people with very sensitive stomachs need to take a buffered form, rendered a neutral pH with the addition of minerals such as calcium or magnesium.” (Kane, 2001)
WHY HUMANS NEED TO GET VITAMIN C FROM OUR DIET OR NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS Most animals and plants are able to synthesize Vitamin C to meet their nutritional needs. 4,000 species of mammals produce it in their livers from glucose, but a few – including humans, guinea pigs, bats, and dry-nosed primates – have lost this ability due to a mutation in the GULO (gulonolactone oxidase) gene. We – and they – must obtain our Vitamin C from outside sources. (Biology, 2012), (Cell Press, 2008) & (Misner, 2016)
“Normal GULO is an enzyme that catalyses the reaction of D-glucuronolactone with oxygen to L-xylo-hex-3-gulonolactone. This then spontaneously forms Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). However without the GULO enzyme, no vitamin C is produced.” (Biology, 2012)
Because humans are unable to produce vitamin C and must obtain it from other sources and because most of us don’t consume enough foods containing ascorbic acid, it makes sense to supplement daily with vitamin C. (Robertson, 2015)
A footnote to my recent experience taking Emergen-C for dental pain: It took only that single dose of Emergen-C to produce the loosened stool effect Dr Miller said to look for. I’ve always been sensitive to big doses of Vitamin C and generally take a buffered version when I can.
Irwin Stone (an American biochemist, chemical engineer, and author) and my father (an enzyme chemist) became good friends during their time working together at the Wallerstein Company (a processor of malts and hops for beer making) in the late 1930’s-early 1940’s. Stone was the first to use ascorbic acid in the food processing industry as a preservative. He also originated and published the hypothesis that humans require much larger amounts of Vitamin C for optimal health than is necessary to prevent scurvy.
Stone’s book, The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease was first published in 1955.
He piqued Linus Pauling’s interest in the health benefits of Vitamin C and is recognized as one of the founders of Orthomolecular Medicine. Stone’s research provided additional scientific background for the clinical results of megadose ascorbate treatments claimed by Dr Frederick Robert Klenner, his contemporary.
Irwin Stone and his wife Barbara were living in the San Francisco Bay Area when my husband and I moved to Palo Alto for a year. My dad wrote to his friend, who invited us and our infant son to come for dinner at their house. Barbara made a beautiful looking, tart, refreshing soup to start the meal. I couldn’t quite place the source of its tartness but shortly after dinner found myself desperately needing to know the location of their bathroom.
When I returned to the table and said I couldn’t figure out what had caused this reaction, Irwin confessed that my father had told him I was nursing a baby and not getting much sleep so he’d asked Barbara to put 1,000 mg of ascorbic acid into my soup to boost our immune systems. Irwin Stone (1907-1984), a founder of Orthomolecular Medicine
REFERENCES Biology. (2012). Why do Humans not produce Vitamin C like other mammals? See: http://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/401/why-do-humans-not-produce-vitamin-c-like-other-mammals Cell Press. (2008). How Humans Make Up For An ‘Inborn’ Vitamin C Deficiency. ScienceDaily. See: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080320120726.htm Cheraskin, W. (2001). The Invisible Toothbrush. Weston A. Price Foundation. See: http://www.westonaprice.org/holistic-healthcare/the-invisible-toothbrush/ English, J. & Cass, H. (2013). Linus Pauling’s Unified Theory of Human Cardiovascular Disease. Nutritional Review. The Collagen Connection. See: http://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/collagen-connection/ Goepp, J. (2008). Newly Discovered Health Benefits of Vitamin C. Life Extension Magazine. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/4/newly-discovered-benefits-of-vitamin-c/Page-01 Health Boundaries. (2016). Vitamin C. See: http://www.health-boundaries.com/home/b12-malabsorption/diarrhea/vitamin-c/ Kane, E. (2001). Toothache and Gum Disease. See: http://dremilykane.com/2001/12/16/toothache-and-gum-disease/ Levy, T.E. (2011) Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins, 3rd Edition. See: https://www.amazon.com/Curing-Incurable-Vitamin-Infectious-Diseases/dp/0977952029 Miller, S-J. (2015). Vitamins That Increase Blood Flow. LiveStrong.com. See: http://www.livestrong.com/article/511125-vitamins-that-increase-blood-flow/ Misner, W. (2016). Humans lack the ability to make vitamin C. Hammer Nutrition. See: https://www.hammernutrition.com/knowledge/humans-lack-the-ability-to-make-vitamin-c.278.html PoorCirculation.net. (2016). VITAMINS FOR CIRCULATION OF BLOOD – HOW DO THEY HELP? See: http://poorcirculation.net/blood-circulation-vitamins/ Robertson, C. (2015). The Link Between Vitamin C And Optimal Immunity. Life Extension Magazine. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2015/11/the-link-between-vitamin-c-and-optimal-immunity/page-01 © Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Comments submitted prior to 8/25/2021
Excellent post, Joan. I have a couple of thoughts: first, upper molar pain can be, for me at least, a symptom of severe sinusitis. The vitamin C may have gone right to such an infection rather than to the tooth which may not have been involved at all, just a nerve. I will try that
if I ever have such pain again. Second, steam is a big help to acute sinus pressure and pain. You can fill a sink with the hottest tap water or boil water in a pot on the stove (move pot away from stove first) and make a tent with a towel over your head to trap and direct the steam toward your nose where you breathe it in deeply through the nostrils. Also, cabbage is high in vitamin C, so that’s another good reason to eat some of this healthy vegetable. I love to make coleslaw, and now I have a new and easy recipe. We just returned from a trip to the South where we ate at a restaurant called the Lizards Thicket in Columbia, SC, that served “Alabam’ slaw”, shredded raw cabbage topped by thousand island dressing, very yummy! Thanks again for the great info you disseminate on your blog!
I love this post! We began using a non GMO Vit. C from Doctors Best called Quali C from Scotland! Come in a Veggie cap!