Updated on February 9, 2024
9 min read

Professional and Home Remedies for Toothaches

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11 Home Remedies for Toothaches

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

1. Over the Counter (OTC) Pain or Anti-Inflammatory Medications

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:

  • Ibuprofen, such as Motrin or Advil
  • Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol
  • Asprin, such as Bayer
  • Naproxen, such as Aleve

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.

2. Salt Water Rinse

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

3. Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

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.

4. Cold or Hot Compresses

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.

5. Garlic

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

6. Peppermint Tea Bags

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.

7. Clove

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

8. Vanilla Extract

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

9. Thyme

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.

10. Guava

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.

11. Wheatgrass

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

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Toothaches Causes, Complications and Treatment
NewMouth Podcast

What are Toothaches?

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.

Signs and Symptoms of a Toothache

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:

  • Pain when chewing or biting down
  • Sensitive teeth when drinking hot or cold liquids
  • Trauma or injury to the area
  • Inflammation, bleeding, and swelling around the affected tooth or gums
  • Swollen jaw or cheeks

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.

When to See Your Dentist for a Toothache?

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:

  • Severe or worsening pain
  • A toothache that lasts longer than 1 to 2 days
  • Difficulties with eating, sleeping, speaking, or opening your mouth
  • Fever
  • Swelling in the mouth, face, jaw, or neck
  • Earache or headache

When is a Toothache an Emergency?

Some symptoms of a toothache can be concerning. You should talk to a dentist if your toothache is accompanied by the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Pain or trouble opening the mouth or biting
  • Pus or discharge that is discolored or tastes bad
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Red, bleeding, sensitive, or painful gums

Seek emergency dental or medical care if you experience:

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • High fever
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Severe bleeding or swelling
  • Sudden, severe pain

Can You Die From a Toothache?

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.

Professional Toothache Treatments

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.

filling lamp used by dentist assistant on woman patient

This may include:

  • Deep cleanings such as scaling, root planing, or laser treatments
  • Oral antibiotics or antibiotic gels
  • Fix, adjust, or recommend dental devices or implants
  • Drain large swellings to decrease inflammation and infection
  • A mouthguard to prevent tooth grinding and relieve pain

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.

Root Canal

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.

Other Dental Restorations

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:

Tooth Extraction

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.

What Causes a Toothache?

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. 

How to Prevent Toothaches

To prevent toothaches, practice proper dental care and oral hygiene. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Using fluoride toothpaste for 2-minute intervals at least twice a day
  • Flossing or using interdental picks/brushes once a day
  • Using mouthwash regularly
  • Avoid sugary foods and alcohol
  • Attending regular dental check-ups and cleanings at least twice per year


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.

Last updated on February 9, 2024
11 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 9, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Cleveland Clinic “Toothache.” Cleveland Clinic, 2023.
  2. Mayo Clinic “Toothache: First aid.” Mayo Clinic, 2018
  3. Abscessed Teeth.” American Association of Endodontists, 2023.
  4. Cavities.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021.
  5. Toothaches: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2023.
  6. Jesudasan et al. “Effectiveness of 0.2% chlorhexidine gel and a eugenol-based paste on postoperative alveolar osteitis in patients having third molars extracted: a randomized controlled clinical trial.” The British journal of oral & maxillofacial surgery, 2015.
  7. Kamath et al. “Anti-microbial efficacy of Vanilla planifolia leaf extract against common oral micro-biomes: A comparative study of two different antibiotic sensitivity tests.” J Oral Maxillofac Pathol, 2022.
  8. Chumpitaz et al. “Review article: the physiological effects and safety of peppermint oil and its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders.” Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, National Library of Medicine, 2018.
  9. Sharma et al. “Evaluation of Anthocyanin Content, Antioxidant Potential and Antimicrobial Activity of Black, Purple and Blue Colored Wheat Flour and Wheat-Grass Juice against Common Human Pathogens.” Molecules, 2020.
  10. Singh et al. “Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of Mentha piperita L.” Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 2015.
  11. Varghese et al. “In Vitro Evaluation of Substantivity, Staining Potential, and Biofilm Reduction of Guava Leaf Extract Mouth Rinse in Combination with its Anti-Inflammatory Effect on Human Gingival Epithelial Keratinocytes.” Materials, 2019.
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