Whether it’s a sharp pain that makes it tough for you to eat or a dull, constant throb, a toothache can really make life miserable. Cavities, loose fillings, a cracked tooth, receding gums, and abscesses can all cause toothaches.1 If you have a persistent problem or have been grappling with the pain for over a day or two, it’s a good idea to get your teeth checked by a dentist. And in the meantime, here a few home remedies that can help you tackle that toothache.2
1. Apply A Cold Compress
A cold compress applied to your face on the side where you’re experiencing pain can help ease pain. To prepare the cold compress, just wrap an ice pack in cloth. Place this against your face for around 15 minutes to numb the pain.3
2. Massage The Spot Between Your Thumb And Index Finger With Ice
While cold compresses are widely known to ease pain, there’s another, slightly more unusual remedy involving ice which can also provide relief. Massage the area between your thumb and index finger – called the Hoku point – on the side that’s affected with an ice cube. The majority of participants in a study who used this ice massage found that their dental pain reduced by 50% or more. Experts believe that this works because the cold signals sent by your hand to the brain supplant the pain signals of the toothache.45
3. Apply Sesame Seed Paste Or Sesame Oil On The Affected Area
Sesame seeds have traditionally been used for ages to treat toothaches in China. And this custom is backed by studies that show sesame oil can ease pain when applied topically.6 Sesame oil also has antibacterial properties and works against oral pathogens like L. acidophilus and S. mutans.7
Simply dab a little sesame oil on the affected area with a cotton swab to relieve your toothache. Or boil sesame seeds in water till the water quantity reduces to half and then grind this into a paste. Shape the paste into a pellet after it cools down and apply it to the affected area.
4. Use A Green Tea Mouthwash
If you’re a connoisseur of green tea, here’s one more reason to love it. Green tea may actually have the ability to relieve pain. One study found that a green tea mouthwash was effective at easing pain following the surgical removal of impacted molars. By using this remedy, it was even possible to significantly reduce the amount of painkillers used post operation. This beneficial effect is thought to be due to the anti-inflammatory property of green tea. Catechins present in green tea such as EGCg, EGC, and ECG have also been found to have an antibacterial effect against oral pathogens responsible for tooth cavities. So brew up some green tea and use it as a mouthwash to ease your toothache.8
5. Soothe With Salt Water
Salt water also has an anti-inflammatory effect and can be useful if you’re suffering from a toothache. Here’s what you need to do. Dissolve a teaspoon of common salt in a cup of warm water. Now take a mouthful of this solution into your mouth and let it swish around But make sure the salt water covers the affected tooth while you do this. Spit out the solution after 2 minutes. Salt water also acts as a disinfectant and can help deal with bacteria in your mouth. 9
6. Rinse With A Sage And Salt Water Solution
Studies show that sage has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Compounds such as carnosol and a mixture of ursolic acid/oleanolic acid present in this herb may be responsible for its beneficial effects. To soothe a toothache, mix a teaspoon of crushed dried sage into a salt water solution and swish it around in your mouth for around 5 minutes. Repeat this process 2–3 times a day for pain relief.10 Sage also works against oral pathogens and has been found to inhibit plaque formation.11 So that’s a double bonus!
7. Apply A Ginger And Red Pepper Paste
Red pepper and ginger work as natural analgesics. Ginger contains compounds such as shogaol and gomgerol which lessen pain and reduce inflammation.12 On the other side, capsaicin, a compound present in red pepper, may prevent the transmission of pain signals to your brain.13
Mix equal parts of these spices with a little water to make a paste and dab on the affected tooth with a cotton swab for relief from pain. Do keep in mind though that these spices can irritate your gums so use them with care.14 Start with a very small quantity and see how well you are able to tolerate the heat.
8. Dab On Some Clove Oil
A compound called eugenol which is present in clove oil is known to have a numbing effect and can ease your toothache. Dab a drop of clove oil on a cotton swab and apply it to the affected tooth for relief. Do take care to avoid the gums though and don’t leave it in for more than a couple of minutes. Clove oil is particularly strong and can irritate or burn your gums.15
9. Use A Guava Leaf Paste
Guava leaves are another option for tackling a toothache. Studies have found that extracts from guava leaves have analgesic properties and also act against oral pathogens which cause tooth cavities. Flavonoids such as quercetin present in guava leaves are thought to account for this favorable effect. Prepare a guava leaf mouthwash by boiling 4–5 leaves in a little water. Strain this solution, add a little salt, and you’ve got your pain relieving mouthwash. You can also grind tender guava leaves into a paste with a little water and apply that to the affected tooth.16
10. Prop Up Your Head
A toothache could be caused due to pain in some other part of the body such as the ear. This is called referred pain and needs to be tackled at the source.17
Here’s a simple tip that may ease your toothache. Prop your head up with a pillow when you lie down as lying flat may sometimes make a toothache feel worse.
See A Doctor If
- Your toothache is severe or unbearable or radiating to other parts of your head.
- Your toothache lasts more than a couple of days.
- You have additional symptoms like earache, fever, or pain when you open your mouth wide.18
|↑1||Toothache. National Health Service.|
|↑2, ↑4, ↑14||Karimi, M. “Grandma remedies and herbal medicines for relieving toothache.”|
|↑3||Toothache and swelling. Healthdirect, Australia.|
|↑5||Melzack, Ronald, S. Guite, and A. Gonshor. “Relief of dental pain by ice massage of the hand.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 122, no. 2 (1980): 189.|
|↑6||Shamloo, Marzieh Beigom Bigdeli, Morteza Nasiri, Aazam Dabirian, Ali Bakhtiyari, Faraz Mojab, and Hamid Alavi Majd. “The effects of topical sesame (sesamum indicum) oil on pain severity and amount of received non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs in patients with upper or lower extremities trauma.” Anesthesiology and pain medicine 5, no. 3 (2015).|
|↑7||An, T. Durai, C. Pothiraj, R. M. Gopinath, and B. Kayalvizhi. “Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria.” African Journal of Microbiology Research 2, no. 3 (2008): 63-66.|
|↑8||Eshghpour, Majid, Hamed Mortazavi, Naser Mohammadzadeh Rezaei, and AmirHossein Nejat. “Effectiveness of green tea mouthwash in postoperative pain control following surgical removal of impacted third molars: double blind randomized clinical trial.” DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 21, no. 1 (2013): 59.|
|↑9||Toothache and swelling. Healthdirect, Australia.|
|↑10||Rodrigues, Melissa Raboni Alves, Luiz Kae Sales Kanazawa, Thiago Louback Machado das Neves, Carla Francielle da Silva, Heros Horst, Moacir Geraldo Pizzolatti, Adair Roberto Soares Santos, Cristiane Hatsuko Baggio, and Maria Fernanda de Paula Werner. “Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory potential of extract and isolated compounds from the leaves of Salvia officinalis in mice.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 139, no. 2 (2012): 519-526.|
|↑11||Smullen, Joanne, Michelle Finney, David M. Storey, and Howard A. Foster. “Prevention of artificial dental plaque formation in vitro by plant extracts.” Journal of applied microbiology 113, no. 4 (2012): 964-973.|
|↑12||Ginger. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.|
|↑13||Cayenne. Blue Shield of California.|
|↑15||Keene, J. L., D. L. G. Noakes, R. D. Moccia, and C. G. Soto. “The efficacy of clove oil as an anaesthetic for rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum).” Aquaculture Research 29, no. 2 (1998): 89-101.|
|↑16||Jayakumari, S., J. Anbu, V. Ravichandiran, S. Nithya, Ashwini Anjana, and D. Sudharani. “Evaluation of toothache activity of methanolic extract and its various fractions from the leaves of Psidium guajava Linn.” Int J Pharmacol Biol Sci 3 (2012): 238-249.|
|↑17||Toothaches. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑18||Toothaches. National Institutes of Health.|