Dealing with Tooth Pain at Home

 In Patient Education

Does your mouth ache? Do your teeth throb with pain? Toothaches occur when there is damage or irritation to the nerves inside a tooth. Once in a while, tooth pain is a result of trauma to the jaw or neck.

If you have tooth pain, make an appointment with your dentist right away. It’s important to understand the root cause of your tooth pain, since so many underlying health issues can begin in your mouth.

In the meantime, there are many remedies to alleviate some of the pain that you can easily do at home. These are only short-term pain relievers, not long term solutions to your dental problems.

At-Home Remedies for Tooth Pain

Salt Water Rinse

Rinsing with salt water is a common first-line of defense for battling tooth pain. Not only is salt water a natural disinfectant, but can help dislodge any residual food particles your mouth that may attribute to your pain. Also referred to as a brine wash, rinsing with salt water helps reduce gum inflammation that may be causing your pain.

To use a salt water rinse, mix 1/2 teaspoons of salt with a glass of warm water and stir to dissolve the salt. Treat the salt water mixture as mouthwash – rinse but do not swallow.

Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress may seem like the least appealing way to treat a sore mouth, especially if your teeth are sensitive to cold drinks. A cold compress helps reduce swelling in your mouth and will reduce pain. The cold temperature causes blood vessels to constrict, lessening the pain in or around your toothache.

Wrap an ice pack in a dish towel or go the old fashioned route and try a towel-wrapped bag of frozen peas or corn. Hold against your cheek where your tooth pain is strongest for no more than 20-minutes at a time. Repeat every hour as needed.

OTC Pain Relievers

Use an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or Advil to reduce your tooth pain. Not a long-term solution, but pain relievers can temporarily subdue your pain until you can see a dentist. Doctors recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) for children.

Medicine like Aspirin is discouraged due to its blood thinning properties. Ask your doctor before taking any medicine to reduce the pain or swelling in your mouth.

Natural Tooth Pain Remedies

If you opt against OTC pain relievers, there are many natural ways to reduce tooth pain until your dentist appointment.


Garlic is a well-known pain reliever, and has been for centuries. Natural chemicals in garlic act as a disinfectant against harmful bacteria that cause dental plaque. The same potent chemical-compound, allicin, that gives garlic its strong aroma is the same property that gives garlic its antibacterial abilities.

Crush a garlic clove into a paste and apply to your affected tooth. You can also slowly chew a clove of garlic on the side of your mouth where your tooth is aching.  Just like the garlic paste, the oils containing allicin will enter your bloodstream through your gums, reducing pain.

Cloves & Clove Oil

Clove is a common element in Chinese and Indian pain relievers, and has been for hundreds of years. Clove contains eugenol, a naturally occurring antiseptic. The oil is used to effectively numb the affected area and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory remedy. This can be used as a natural alternative to benzocaine, the numbing ingredient in oral gels.

Place whole cloves (like the kind used in mulled ciders) in your mouth between your cheek and affected tooth. If you prefer to use essential oils, apply directly to the tooth causing you pain or soak a cotton ball in the oil and gently dab it on the tooth and gums.

*Do not use Clove oil for toothaches in children or if you are pregnant* 


Peppermint has similar effects to reducing tooth pain like cloves do. There is a numbing agent in peppermint.  To treat a toothache, use a peppermint tea bag or peppermint essential oil.

A peppermint tea bag can be used in two different ways. Apply a cool, wet tea bag to your affected tooth for several minutes until the pain lessens. You can also place a peppermint tea bag in the freezer for a few minutes and then applying to the painful tooth. The combination of cold and peppermint will be highly effective in temporarily reducing the pain.

Like the clove oil, you can soak a cotton ball in peppermint oil and gently apply to your toothache.


Your body has pressure points that when utilized correctly, can help reduce pain and symptoms from a variety of ailments. Use acupressure points if the pain heightens at night to help get sleep or during the day when other methods of pain relief is not readily available. Tooth pain can be relieved within ten minutes if you use acupressure points, which can be found here.

Some common acupressure points are on your cheek bones, your middle toe, and the inside of your ankle.  It is important to consult a doctor or acupressure expert before using any of these pressure points effectively.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is derived from carbon and can be used to treat tooth pain. It is used in hospitals to draw out toxins and absorb foreign chemicals. Recently the carbon properties have been found to help with a variety of dental infections and to alleviate tooth pain. It can be found in most grocery stores or health stores.

Mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with just enough water to make a paste. Put the paste on a cotton ball and apply to the affected area. You’ll want to use enough paste so it surrounds the tooth. Bite down and leave on the tooth for about 5 minutes, then rinse with water. You can do this up to 5 times a day.

These pain-relieving solutions are not meant to sure any tooth pain, but to help alleviate the pain and make you more comfortable before you can be seen by a dentist. Consult your dentist before using any medications to treat your dental conditions.

If you would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to give us a call or contact us to book an appointment.

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