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Some toothaches may go away on their own, especially if they primarily affect the area around your tooth. When you have a toothache, it often helps to eat soft foods and avoid intense chewing.
If your teeth are sensitive, avoid hot and cold foods and drinks, as well as sweets. Elevating the head can also reduce toothaches by reducing blood pressure in blood vessels around the mouth and jaw.
Certain home remedies can also provide short-term relief from toothaches. These include:1,2
One of the easiest ways to ease a toothache is by taking OTC pain relievers or anti-inflammatories.1 A pain reliever works by blocking pain signals to the brain. Anti-inflammatories work by reducing swelling.
Examples of OTC medications for toothache include:
A dentist may also recommend using an OTC antiseptic product with benzocaine that can provide temporary relief. You can apply these products directly to the impacted tooth and gum.
Never use more than the recommended amount of benzocaine or give it to children under the age of 2. Always be sure to follow the instructions found on the label.
Saltwater is a natural antibacterial agent that can loosen debris and bacteria between teeth. It can also help reduce inflammation and work as a disinfectant.
To make a saltwater rinse, combine 8 oz warm water with ½ teaspoon of salt. Swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit it out.1
According to the Cleveland Clinic, rinsing with a solution that is 3% hydrogen peroxide can reduce pain and inflammation.1 To make an at-home rinse, dilute hydrogen peroxide with water in a 1:1 ratio. Never swallow hydrogen peroxide rinses.
An ice pack or cold compress can help reduce pain and swelling, especially before bed. Wrap the ice pack in a cloth and place it at the site of the swelling. Apply the cold compress for 20-minute periods and repeat every couple of hours.1
A hot pack or heated bag to the affected tooth or gums for throbbing pain. You can make a DIY heating bag by putting rice in a sock, tying off the end, and microwaving it for 1 to 2 minutes.
A compound in garlic called allicin can help destroy harmful bacteria and reduce oral discomfort. To use garlic for a toothache, crush a fresh garlic clove into a paste and apply it to the affected area.1
Studies show peppermint has soothing and antibacterial properties. Because of this, some people may press tea bags onto the affected area.1,9,10
To use peppermint tea bags for toothaches, put one in warm or boiling water and steep it for a few minutes. Remove the tea bag and let it cool for a few minutes, or place it in the freezer for a few seconds.
Apply the tea bag to the affected area after it has cooled or frozen for a bit. Be careful not to leave these materials on your gums too long because they can cause chemical burns.
Clove contains ingredients that act as a natural disinfectant, reduce inflammation, and numb pain from an aching tooth. The compound eugenol gives clove oil natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.6
Applying eugenol to your gums can help ease pain and swelling.6 Be careful not to leave it on your gums for too long because it can cause a chemical burn.
Dab a few drops of clove oil onto a clean cotton ball, cotton swab, or Q-tip and apply it to the affected area. You can add one drop of clove oil into a small glass of water and rinse the mouth with the mixture.6
Vanilla extract contains alcohol that can temporarily numb a sore tooth. It also has healing antioxidants. Use a clean cotton ball or swab, a Q-tip, or a clean fingertip to apply vanilla extract to the impacted gums and teeth a few times daily.7
Thyme contains compounds that reduce pain. To create a DIY thyme mouth rinse, add a couple of drops of thyme essential oil to a glass of water and swish it in the mouth.
If you do this several times, you may feel a numbing sensation. For a stronger impact, put several drops of thyme essential oil on a clean cotton ball, swab, or a clean fingertip and apply it to the sore area for 20 to 30 minutes.
Guava leaves have ingredients that kill bacteria. These leaves also have anti-inflammatory properties that help heal infections and soothe aching teeth.11
To get relief, try chewing on guava leaves. You can also steep guava leaves in boiling water to create a tea. Once the tea has cooled, you can use it as a mouth rinse.
Wheatgrass has numerous medicinal properties that can reduce pain from a toothache. These properties include antimicrobial compounds and antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Rinse the mouth with wheatgrass juice for a few seconds several times daily to reduce tooth pain.9
Toothaches are a painful sensation in and around the teeth and jaws. It can affect a specific tooth or several teeth.
According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of NewMouth's in-house dentists, "Tooth pain may be dull, sharp, throbbing, constant, or spontaneous. It is important to see a dentist to determine the root cause and treatment options."
Minor toothaches can sometimes be treated at home, depending on the cause. A severe toothache can indicate an underlying condition that requires professional treatment.
Most people experience mild dental pain or toothaches at some point. If the pain is not severe and doesn't persist, it is typically nothing to worry about.
Common symptoms of a toothache include:
If your toothache persists for more than a day or two, schedule a visit with your dentist. Seek medical help immediately if your symptoms include difficulty breathing, opening your mouth, and/or swallowing.
If a toothache doesn’t respond to home remedies, talk to a dentist. You should also talk to a dentist if you experience the following:
Some symptoms of a toothache can be concerning. You should talk to a dentist if your toothache is accompanied by the following:
Seek emergency dental or medical care if you experience:
A toothache itself isn't fatal. However, without proper dental treatment, an untreated infection in your tooth can spread to your bloodstream.
An Infection can lead to hospitalization and even death. Properly diagnosing and treating dental infections is important to prevent them from spreading to the bloodstream.
Toothaches that stem from a specific tooth or are extremely painful will need timely attention from a dentist. Treatment for a toothache depends on its severity and what's causing it.
This may include:
Other common dental treatment options:
Fillings close the space opened up and infected by cavities. They prevent tooth decay from progressing by stopping bacteria and food particles from entering the cavity. Having your cavity filled can end your tooth pain.
If a toothache occurs after chewing or when pressure is applied, your tooth’s dental pulp may be infected. Root canal treatment removes the infected dental pulp in the teeth roots and relieves pain associated with the infection.
A more invasive restoration may be necessary if the underlying cause of your toothache is due to a large cavity, dental trauma, gum disease, or an infection. Some common options include:
In extreme circumstances, your dentist might recommend extracting a tooth damaged from an injury, disease, or decay. Removing the affected tooth will relieve your pain.
A toothache can happen due to various dental problems. However, it's commonly caused by cavities and tooth decay.
Other causes of toothache include:1,2,3
It can also be caused by temporary gum irritation from something stuck in your teeth. Minor tooth pain often develops due to temporary, mild conditions that respond to home remedies.
To prevent toothaches, practice proper dental care and oral hygiene. This includes:
A toothache occurs when you have pain in or around your teeth. Many causes contribute to tooth pain, including cavities, injury, temporary gum irritation, and bruxism.
You can relieve pain from a toothache at home using over-the-counter medications and natural remedies. However, toothaches that stem from a specific tooth or are extremely painful require treatment.
Although toothaches aren't fatal, you will need to get treatment if the tooth becomes infected. If you experience severe and painful symptoms alongside a toothache, you may need emergency dental care.
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