A Toothache: Home Remedies That Really Work

A toothache is a common problem that refers to an ache in and around the jaws and teeth, which is typically caused by tooth decay. You may feel a toothache various ways. It could come and go or be persistent. Drinking or eating can make the pain worse, especially if the drink or food is cold or hot.

The ache could also be mild or severe. It can start suddenly and feel “sharp”. It may be worse at night, especially when you are lying down. A broken tooth or lost filling can sometimes be a reason for the pain.

Toothache symptoms may be caused by:

  • Inflammation of the pulp in the teeth
  • Cavities
  • Tooth enamel erosion
  • Periodontitis
  • Grinding of the teeth, or bruxism
  • Sinus pressure 
  • Angina
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Heart attack 

Natural Remedies for A Toothache

 The best way to get rid of a toothache is to visit your dentist. Still, many people believe in the power of natural remedies, so we decided to take a look at the most popular remedies and discuss how effective they actually are at providing  pain relief. So, why people use home remedies? There are 3 basic reasons for that:

  • Fear of treatment
  • Belief in natural remedies
  • Lack of time

The problem with these reasons is that the longer you go without proper medical treatment, the more severe your pain can become. However, before you find the time or get the strength to see your dentist, these natural remedies may provide pain relief.

  1. Salt Water

Why Salt Water? It cleanses are usually used to clean out an irritated and infected area, releasing debris and providing brief relief.

How to Use It? Swish a little amount of saline solution or salt water in your mouth for about 30 seconds. Repeat 1-2 times a day.

Does It Work? The laxative effect of the salt can eliminate festering pus or some nasty bacteria, but salt water cannot provide long-term benefits.

Is It Safe? Yes. It is all natural and one of the safest things you can do for your tooth and mouth.

  1. Peppermint Tea Bag

Why Peppermint Tea Bags? Moist tea bags are usually used to calm irritated skin. Peppermint has great numbing properties useful for treating inflammation and pain.

How to Use It? You can use peppermint tea bag in 2 ways. Place a cool, moist tea bag right on the affected area, or put the peppermint tea bag in the fridge for a few minutes, and then place it on the tooth. Leave the tea bag on for about 15-20 minutes.

Does It Work? Some people claim that tea bag can decrease the pain. But, there are no long-term benefits, as ache comes back a few minutes after the tea bag is removed.

Is It Safe? Yes. Any herbal toothache pain relief method won’t hurt you in at all.

  1. Clove Oil

Why Clove Oil? Cloves contain eugenol, a natural anesthetic, which could numb whatever it comes in contact with.

How to Use It? Drip 1-2 drops of clove oil into a cotton ball and place it on the throbbing tooth.

Does It Work? Clove oil can numb the painful area temporarily, but it’s short-term relief lasting just a few minutes.

Is It Safe? Clove oil is not entirely safe. If it comes in contact with other sensitive areas of the mouth, it can make pain worse, and it can hurt the tongue as well.

  1. Bourbon

Why bourbon? Just as most alcohols, bourbon has potent numbing properties.

How to Use it?  You can use bourbon in two ways. First, you can use soaked cotton ball by applying some bourbon on a cotton ball, and cover the throbbing area with the cotton ball for a few minutes. Second, you can use bourbon as a mouthwash, twice a day.

Does It Work? It can provide a few minutes of relief, but the decrease of toothache pain is temporary. The pain will probably come back as soon as the alcohol evaporates.

Is It Safe? Yes, for adults. But, no if you are using it to heal a child. Although many people think the small amount of alcohol used in this home treatment is minimal enough to be safe for children, the truth is that any amount of alcohol ingested by a kid may have serious consequences, such as throwing up or seizures.

  1. Vanilla Extract

Why Vanilla Extract? Vanilla extract contains alcohol, and as we have already mentioned, alcohol acts as a numbing agent. Plus, the scent of vanilla is thought to be relaxing and soothing, which can help relieve pain.

How to Use It? You can use vanilla extract in 2 ways. Dab a small amount of it on the finger and rub the affected area. Or apply a small amount of it to a cotton ball and put it on the throbbing tooth. Repeat 2-3 times a day.

Does It Work? It can offer temporary relief, but it lasts for only a few minutes and requires reapplication.

Is It Safe? Yes, for adults. But, no for children. While the amount of alcohol in vanilla is minimal, it’s still alcohol, so this method is unsafe for children. 

  1. Garlic

Why Garlic? It acts similarly to an antibiotic. Garlic can inhibit the growth of bacteria which is attacking the tooth.

How to Use It? You can use it in 2 ways. First, smash a garlic clove and a pinch of salt, and place the paste to the affected area. Second, put 1-2 cloves into the mouth and chew. Do this 3 times a day.

Does It Work? It can briefly relieve pain, but it depends on the cause of the tooth pain. For instance, if a toothache is caused by the temporomandibular joint disorder, garlic might not offer any relief at all.

Is It Safe? Yes. Though, people may avoid you because of the strong smell.

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

Why Hydrogen Peroxide? Just like salt water, is a cleaning aid, but it’s even more effective than a saline solution because it could attack bacteria rather than just clean it away.

How to Use It? Mix equal parts water and 3%hydrogen peroxide, and swish the blend in your mouth for about 30 seconds. Repeat 1-2 times a day.

Does It Work? This solution can provide a few minutes of brief toothache pain relief, and it may help ward off gingivitis that is a potential cause of tooth pain.

Is It Safe? No. The risks of using hydrogen peroxide overshadow the benefits. If this blend is ingested, it could cause intestinal or stomach problems, and if you don’t mix in enough water, the hydrogen peroxide could burn your mouth.


When to Visit Your Dentist

If you have toothache pain for more than 1-3 days, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Remember, the longer you leave it untreated, the worse it can be.

If your tooth pain is not treated, the pulp inside the tooth will become infected. Moreover, this can lead to a dental abscess, with a constant throbbing toothache. Painkillers, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, can reduce the pain and discomfort while you are waiting for an appointment. Kids under the age of 16 should not be given aspirin.


Preventing Toothache

The best way to avoid dental problems and getting toothache is to keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible. In order to do this, you should:

  • Brush your teeth 2 times a day using a toothpaste which contains fluoride. Gently brush the tongue and gums as well;
  • Limit the intake of sugary drinks and foods;
  • Use mouthwash and dental floss to clean between the teeth;
  • Do not smoke – smoking can make dental issues worse, and
  • Ensure you have regular dental check-ups.  





Visiting a dentist is the best remedy for a toothache. As you can see, natural remedies aren’t generally effective in treating toothache, and in some cases, they could even be dangerous. Just a few of these home treatments can be useful to numb pain temporarily but none of them can be long-term solutions. Use these natural remedies before you can get an appointment with your dentist. In the case of unsupportable pain, as wisdom teeth pain, you can use some painkiller, as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
References: Arizonafamilydental.com January 19th, 2015      Nhs.uk 21/04/2015

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