It is common knowledge that if you have a bad toothache, you go and see the dentist. This is something that we all know but it isn’t always that simple as the dentist may already have other patients to see.
The home remedies for a bad toothache that we are going to be looking at here are only short-term relief but can be used to give relief until you can get an appointment.
- 1 Common Causes of Toothache
- 2 15 Home Remedies for a Bad Toothache
- 2.1 1. Salt Water Rinse
- 2.2 2. Cold Compress
- 2.3 3. Hydrogen Peroxide
- 2.4 4. Alcohol
- 2.5 5. Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2.6 6. Peppermint
- 2.7 7. Vanilla, Almond, or Lemon Extract
- 2.8 8. Oils
- 2.9 9. Leaves and Roots
- 2.10 10. Citrus
- 2.11 11. Potatoes
- 2.12 12. Onions
- 2.13 13. Cucumber
- 2.14 14. Turmeric
- 2.15 15. Acupressure
- 2.16 16. Elevation
- 3 Final Words
Common Causes of Toothache
- Inflammation and cavity pain – the living tissue inside each of your teeth has an artery, a vein, and a nerve. These can become inflamed and/or infected. Some bacteria in the mouth excrete acids that bore their way through the tooth enamel. Once the bacteria pass through the enamel, they gain access to the inside structure of the tooth, called dentin. The dentin responds with inflammation. And, most often, pain accompanies inflammation. Because the dentin is inside the tooth, when it swells it has nowhere to go and so it pushes against the outer enamel.
- Root sensitivity – root sensitivity is not as serious as cavity pain. You can test for root sensitivity by monitoring your toothache after eating sugary foods. If the pain is worse after eating sugary foods then it is more than likely root sensitivity.
Less common causes of a toothache include:
- Trapped food
- Trauma such as grinding
- Sinus infection
15 Home Remedies for a Bad Toothache
If you can’t get to see a dentist right away there are several natural methods that you can use to reduce the pain of a toothache.
1. Salt Water Rinse
This is the most common and probably the one method that you will have heard about many more times than the rest. This is also the easiest method of them all to do at home as all you need is salt and hot water. Both of which can be found in almost every household.
What happens is that the salt draws the fluids that are causing the pain out from the gums and helps reduce the aching sensation.
- Mix 1 tbsp of salt in a glass of hot or warm water
- Rinse or gargle the mixture to provide relief
- Repeat if necessary.
Normal table salt works perfectly fine although I have found that Himalayan or dead sea salt works best if you just stir it into warm water until you see salt crystals at the bottom that are no longer dissolving. Use 4-5 times per day to reduce inflammation and contract the tissues.
2. Cold Compress
This method of pain relief is as simple as using ice or a cold compress on the inside or outside of the side of your mouth that has the hurting tooth. Grab some frozen peas out of the freezer or get a plastic Ziploc bag with half water and half ice.
You can also try a wrap such as the Therapaq that lets you apply ice consistently to the area without having to hold it up to your face.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
If you have hydrogen peroxide in the house this will be an easy short-term solution. You can either use it as it is or dilute it in water and simply gargle and spit.
Alcohol is a good solution for numbin the pain. Swishing a strong alcohol such as whiskey, vodka, or brandy will kill the germs and help numb the area around the tooth. You could also soak a cotton ball in the alcohol and apply it to the affected area if needed.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar not only has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, but because it is acidic, it also kills the bacteria that is causing your toothache. You can use apple cider vinegar for pain by soaking a cotton ball in it and pressing it gently on the affected tooth.
Peppermint has many uses especially when it comes to helping reduce swelling and soreness. This makes it a great home remedy for treating toothache.
- Fresh peppermint leaves – chew them to help with the pain, or if they are dry, simply hold them against the tooth.
- Peppermint extract – soak a cotton ball or a Q-tip in it and hold it on the affected tooth.
- Peppermint tea – add a few dry leaves into a cup of warm water. Simply steep them for 20 minutes and swish some in your mouth.
7. Vanilla, Almond, or Lemon Extract
Simply soak a cotton ball or cotton swab in any of the above extracts and apply to the affected tooth to provide temporary pain relief.
There are several oils that contain pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that can safely be used to reduce a bad toothache. You can either apply the oil to a cotton swab and then place on the affected tooth or rinse your mouth with a small amount of oil and water. You can use any of the following:
9. Leaves and Roots
Plantain leaves, ginger root, and garlic are all able to reduce pain similarly to the above mentioned temporary treatments. The leaves contain anti-inflammatory properties and the roots have antibacterial properties.
- Plantain leaves – chew the leaves to release the anti-inflammatory agents and then hold them over the sore area.
- Garlic – crush a garlic clove into a paste and then apply to the affected area.
- Ginger – take a fresh piece of ginger and chew it. Doing this should bring pain relief shortly.
This may not be the most pleasant tasting for some people but lemons and limes can also provide relief from a toothache. High amounts of citric acid and vitamin C present in both fruits work to destroy bacteria and support the immune system. Just cut them into slices and bite into them to release the juice, and then place on to sore areas.
This is one that my grandad swore by anytime that he had pain in the mouth. Many people that experience toothache will notice that they produce extra saliva. Raw potato can absorb that extra moisture and reduce swelling. If you want to give it a go, slice a medium size piece and hold it inside your cheek against the painful tooth.
Like some of the other methods mentioned above, simply chew a small slice of fresh onion for a few minutes, or you can hold the slice in your mouth and bite it to release the juices that soothe the pain.
Did you know that cucumber could be used to help relieve pain from a Toothache? Just hold a slice of fresh cucumber against the tooth that hurts.
If you have a spice rack then you may find that you already have some turmeric in there. Turmeric utilizes antiseptic and antibacterial properties that aid in relieving pain. Make a paste using turmeric and water, then apply the paste to the affected tooth. Raw turmeric can also be ingested.
This is one method that I have never personally got to work but others swear by it so it must just be me. To relieve tooth pain with acupressure, find the pressure point on the back of your hand between the thumb and forefinger. Massage this spot for two minutes or try applying ice to the area to release endorphins.
Keeping your head elevated at all times can reduce the excess blood flow to the inflamed tooth that can make swelling increase and the pain feel worse. This may sound simple but it really can help. For sleeping, stay elevated with a wedge-shaped pillow or by stacking several standard pillows.
Remember, although the methods above may work, they are only short-term methods of toothache relief. They are in no way meant to replace a dental check-up to diagnose the cause of the pain. If you have a dental emergency, please don’t wait to call your local dentist.
Related: How to Pull a Tooth in an Emergency