Top 5 Home Remedies for Toothache

There is quick relief for a toothache

Reducing your toothache while you wait for your dental appointment.

If you’ve ever experienced a toothache, you know just how painful they can be. At some point, you’ve likely found yourself asking, “Why in the world do toothaches hurt so much?” Well, the answer is actually quite simple. We only get one set of adult teeth, so a toothache is your body’s way of waving a red flag and telling you that something is wrong. Temperature sensitivity when you’re eating could be a sign that you have enamel erosion or a severe cavity that needs a root canal, while pain from the pressure of chewing could indicate that you have a cracked tooth.

No matter what, tooth pain doesn’t happen for no reason! When you experience a toothache, it’s important to listen to your body and seek treatment from a dentist as soon as possible. Taking action quickly is the best way to ensure that the issue is caught early, which will often save you from more invasive and expensive treatments. And we know that toothaches often occur at inconvenient times when your dentist may be closed, so what can you do for your toothache in the meantime? Thankfully, there are plenty of home remedies for tooth pain that you can try right at home! Here are a few ideas for what to do for tooth pain while you wait for your dental appointment.

1. Clove Oil

Clove oil has been used as a toothache remedy for centuries, and it’s easy to see why—it’s one of the most effective natural home remedies for tooth pain. One study even found it to be as effective as benzocaine. It’s so effective because it contains eugenol, which is a natural anesthetic. It helps numb the area naturally and can reduce inflammation and swelling. You can use clove oil by mixing it with a carrier oil, such as coconut, almond, or olive oil, and then applying it directly to the affected area using a cotton ball. Alternatively, you can turn it into a mouthwash by mixing a drop of clove oil into a small glass of water.

2. Salt Water Rinse

Rinsing your mouth out with salt water is also a great way to clean your mouth and help relieve a toothache while you wait for your appointment. Salt water is a good disinfectant and anti-inflammatory, so it can help fight any infections that may be causing your toothache. It also reduces swelling and helps promote healing. Some toothaches are a simple matter of food getting stuck between your teeth or just under your gum line, so a warm salt water rinse can also help dislodge any food that may be stuck there. To make your salt water rinse at home, use 8 ounces of warm water and ½ teaspoon of table salt, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds. Just like any other mouthwash, make sure to spit the rinse out when you’re done swishing.  

3. Peppermint Tea Bags

Used peppermint tea bags are a surprising—and much tastier—toothache remedy, but they work pretty well because peppermint contains menthol. Menthol creates a cooling sensation and helps numb the area to reduce pain. Tea also has antibacterial properties, which can be useful for helping fight bacteria that may be causing the issue behind your toothache. Even better, you can choose what temperature you want your tea bag to be! If warmth is helping you most, steep the tea bag a little and allow it to cool so it’s no longer hot before putting it in your mouth against your sore tooth. If you’d rather go all-in on the cooling sensation that peppermint provides, you can stick the tea bag in the freezer for a few minutes after it’s done steeping to make it cool.

4. Ice Packs

Cold compresses and ice packs are always a great go-to when you’re experiencing pain. They numb the area and help reduce swelling, so they’re a particularly good choice if you’re experiencing noticeable swelling. Whenever you use an ice pack, however, you need to be careful not to apply it for too long. The cold reduces pain by causing your blood vessels to restrict, but this also reduces blood flow to the area. Restricting this blood flow for too long can worsen your pain in the long run, so even though the numbness might feel good, make sure to set a timer when you start applying your ice pack. Wrap your ice pack in a towel to keep it from getting too cold and keep it on for 20 minutes at a time, then it off for at least an hour before reapplying.

5. Elevation

Do you know why toothaches are infamous for getting worse at night? When you lay down, blood rushes to your head. This increases the pressure in your head. We usually don’t notice it, but when your tooth is already hurting, the added pressure can make a huge difference. It can even add a pulsing or throbbing pain to the mix. Thankfully, elevating your head is a simple way to prevent this! Simply using a few extra pillows or angling your bed to elevate your head when you go to sleep should make a big difference in your pain levels when you go to sleep at night, helping you sleep more comfortably. Toothaches are never fun, but using over-the-counter pain medication or home remedies like these can provide significant relief. No matter how much they help, though, don’t forget that they’re not long-term solutions. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, the only way to find long-term relief is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sexton. He’ll identify and treat the cause of your toothache, allowing you to begin enjoying pain-free days again!