11 ways to stop a toothache at home
- Salt water rinse. Salt water acts as a natural disinfectant and alleviates inflammation. You can prepare salt water at home by mixing a half teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Swish your mouth with this solution to relieve a toothache.
- Hydrogen peroxide rinse. Rinsing your mouth with a 3% percent hydrogen peroxide solution can help kill bacteria and reduce pain and inflammation in your teeth and gums. Dilute hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water and rinse thoroughly.
- Cold compress. Applying a cold compress for 15-20 minutes 5-6 times a day can help minimize swelling and relieve pain by constricting blood vessels in the area. You can wrap ice in some cloth and keep it on the affected tooth.
- Clove oil drops. Clove oil is an antiseptic that numbs pain and may help stop a toothache. You can use clove oil by putting 2-3 drops in a cotton ball and applying it to the affected area. Alternatively, you can rinse your mouth with a solution of clove oil mixed with water.
- Guava mouthwash. Guava has antimicrobial properties that can help heal wounds, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Chew on guava leaves or make a mouthwash by boiling crushed leaves.
- Thyme mouthwash. Thyme has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties that can help fight bacteria and alleviate toothache. You can apply a few drops of thyme oil to the affected area, or make a mouthwash and rinse with it.
- Peppermint tea. Peppermint tea can help soothe your mouth and alleviate pain. Rinse your mouth with peppermint tea or apply tea bags dipped in cold water on the affected tooth.
- Garlic paste. Garlic can kill germs in your mouth and help relieve toothache. Crush garlic and apply it as a paste to the affected area. Keep in mind that this can cause some stinging. Avoid giving raw garlic to children.
- Vanilla extract. Vanilla extract contains both antioxidants and alcohol, which can help you heal faster. Take a few drops on your finger and apply to the affected part a few times a day.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) anesthetic gels. Some OTC anesthetic gels, such as the ones that contain benzocaine, can numb the mouth for a while and provide short-term toothache relief.
- Pain medications. OTC pain medications can help reduce pain and inflammation: acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen (avoid giving aspirin to children under 16).
What causes toothaches?
Causes of toothaches include:
- Tooth decay (most common cause)
- Gum disease such as gingivitis
- Pericoronitis (inflammation of the flap of the tissue that covers the tooth)
- Trauma to a tooth or jaw (fracture)
- Dental abscess (pus pocket in a tooth)
- Trapped food particles between teeth
- Loss of dental fillings
- Wisdom teeth eruption
- Sinus infection
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
- Repetitive activities such as chewing gum or grinding teeth
When to see a dentist for a toothache
If home remedies are not enough to relieve tooth pain, you will need to see a dentist. Contact your dentist if you have the following symptoms:
How can you prevent toothaches?
Following good oral hygiene is the best way to avoid tooth problems:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Rinse your mouth after every meal or at least twice a day (preferably with an antiseptic mouthwash).
- See your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning.
- Avoid eating too much sugar.
You can also ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride applications.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Cleveland Clinic. Toothache. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10957-toothache
Ashu Agbor M, Naidoo S. Ethnomedicinal Plants Used by Traditional Healers to Treat Oral Health Problems in Cameroon. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:649832. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26495020/