How to control the pain from a toothache

Updated August 17, 2016

Is your mouth throbbing? Are you experiencing swelling on one side of your face? Do you have a tooth that is causing you pain? If so, you may have a toothache.

Most of us take the health of our teeth for granted. We visit the dentist for our regular cleanings and brush and floss when we are supposed to, but for the most part we don't think about our oral health very often. That is, until you get a horrible toothache. 

A toothache can be the result of several things, but chances are the first thing you want is some pain relief. It could be a cavity, or worse, an abscess. It might also be a cracked tooth or a problem with a previous filling. Whatever the cause, you can find relief instantly with some of the following treatment options.


Home remedies

There are a few home remedies that work and can make you more comfortable, but you really should contact your dentist first. A toothache can be a sign of hidden problems, so you definitely want to have your dentist check it out even if you find pain relief on your own. Home remedies tend to only band-aid the problem instead of getting to the root of it. 

Salt water

Salt water is widely known to be incredibly cleansing. One home remedy for a toothache is to swish salt water around in your mouth. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into a cup of boiling water. When the water cools in temperature (to at least warm) swish some around in your mouth for a minimum of 30 seconds. Do this as often as necessary. It will prevent swelling and cleans the toothache area.

Hydrogen peroxide

Just like salt water, you can rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide. This also cleans the gums around the problem tooth and will provide some pain relief. It will kill any bacteria and can help you manage the discomfort until you are able to see your dentist.

If you suspect the toothache is due to a cracked tooth or a loose filling, it's suggested that covering it with a chewed up piece of sugar free gum or dental wax can act as a barrier until your dentist can fix the problem.


Believe it or not, some common household spices contain healing properties. There are many spices and other foods that can drastically help with a toothache. Some of these are old wives tales and home remedies from long ago, but they continue to work. Some of these home food remedies include vanilla and other flavor extracts, citrus, garlic, oils, and leaves and roots.

Vanilla and other flavor extracts such as almond and peppermint can be useful it you dab a bit of the extract on the sore tooth r area a few times a day, helping to numb the area. Alternatively, you could soak a cotton ball or Q-tip in any of the extracts to receive temporary pain relief from a throbbing or aching tooth. All you need to do is take the soaked material and hold it to the area causing you pain for a small amount of time and the pain will disappear!

Citrus works magic for toothache pain. The flavors of natural lemon and lime can be used on an aching tooth to neutralize and combat bacteria. Since lemon and lime are high in vitamin C content as well as citric acid, they are perfect for supporting an immune system that is under attack. Although they may be sour, if you cut both up into slices and then bite into them, the juice can be swished around in your mouth and you can place a piece of the slice directly on the sore tooth to provide pain relief.

Garlic may taste a little nasty in your mouth, but it works wonders for relieving the pain of a toothache. Take a garlic clove and chew it or place the clove on the tooth that is throbbing. Alternatively, you could mash the garlic clove into a paste and then spread it on your affected tooth for fast and effective pain relief.

Oils from seeds and spices can be very effective in relieving pain from a toothache. They are so efficient because of the anti-inflammatory effects they produce. Most of the time it is recommended that you swish the oil in your mouth to reduce the tooth pain. You can also place some on a Q-tip or cotton ball and apply the material to the sore area. The best oils to perform this task with include sesame oil, nutmeg oil, oregano oil, sunflower oil, tea tree oil, and clove oil.

Lastly, leaves and roots can be very helpful if you are suffering from a toothache or mouth pain. Items such as ginger root, plantain leaves, and peppermint leaves date back to medicine man times. Natural remedies were used as there were no modern medicines concocted from a formula and sold by big business. The leaves of peppermint and plantains both have anti-inflammatory properties, while ginger root is naturally anti-bacterial.

When using peppermint and plantain leaves, you will have to suck on them and chew them for a short amount of time to release the anti-inflammatory juices. Then just place the leaf over the tooth that is causing you pain. As for the ginger root, just chew the piece of ginger which will automatically give you instant pain relief.


One of the most common home remedies is good old-fashioned ice. Even massaging the sore area with a very cold fingertip can help. A pack of cold ice on the cheek can help make your toothache feel better too. A word of caution though, if a toothache is caused by an exposed nerve, the extreme cold could make the pain worse instead of better.

While all of these home remedies will help alleviate discomfort, it is extremely important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get to the root of the problem, even if the pain fluctuates and can be managed at home!

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