Whether it’s a sharp pain, increased sensitivity, or a dull throb, toothaches are a problem that people want to get rid of as soon as possible. If it affects you or your child, toothaches can get in the way of eating, drinking, talking, and even interfere with your work and hobbies if they are severe enough. Although getting rid of a toothache is a priority, many people still see going to the dentist as a last resort, or they might think it’s mild enough to improve on its own.
In these situations, many people turn to natural remedies for toothaches. While taking steps to relieve a toothache at home can help with symptoms, it will generally be temporary. This guide will help you understand the causes of toothaches, some of the most common home remedies, and when to see a dentist for a toothache.
What Causes Toothaches?
Our teeth are strong enough to bite and chew even relatively tough food and stand up to different temperatures. In general, toothaches happen when the inner part of the tooth becomes exposed, irritated, or inflamed due to some kind of internal or external factor. Specific causes of toothaches can include:
- Tooth decay and cavities
- Tooth infection, also called an abscess
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Naturally sensitive teeth due to thin enamel
These and other problems can irritate the nerve tissue contained in the inner pulp of the teeth, causing a toothache.
8 Ways to Get Rid of Toothaches Naturally
Home remedies can temporarily reduce inflammation and relieve pain associated with a toothache. While it is not usually possible to completely get rid of a toothache naturally, many people use the following home remedies to manage symptoms.
1. Warm Saltwater Rinse
Saltwater is a natural disinfectant that can help kill bacteria in the mouth, while warm water can help increase blood flow to the area. The rinsing can also help remove pieces of food and debris stuck between the teeth.
Stir about half a teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of warm water. Use it as a mouthwash and swish for 30 to 60 seconds, then spit the rinse into the sink. Do not swallow.
2. Ice Packs
Using a cold compress such as an ice pack or cold pack on the tooth is an effective way to numb the area and reduce inflammation for a limited time. To get these benefits, place the compress over the toothache area for about 20 minutes, and repeat every hour or two. Wrap the ice pack in a thin towel if it feels too cold.
3. Over-the-Counter Medications
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, can also help relieve pain and inflammation, particularly for more minor toothaches. Use only as directed, and see a dentist if the pain suddenly worsens.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Another homemade rinse many toothache sufferers turn to is hydrogen peroxide. A peroxide rinse can kill bacteria and reduce inflammation in the teeth and gums, potentially helping relieve symptoms of some toothaches. When using peroxide as a rinse, mix with equal water, swish and gargle for 30 to 60 seconds, and spit into the sink. Do not swallow.
While it is famously bad for your breath, many people are surprised to find that garlic can help with a toothache. Garlic has been used as a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory in traditional medical practices for hundreds of years. To use as a toothache remedy, make it into a paste and rub it over the affected area.
Peppermint is better for your breath and still works as a pain reliever and numbing agent for many toothaches. You can either let a used peppermint tea bag cool down and hold it over the aching tooth, or place the tea bag in the freezer for a short time if you prefer using it as a cold compress.
Clove is yet another powerful natural toothache remedy. Not only is it a pain reliever, but clove oil also contains eugenol, a natural antiseptic. One of the best applications for clove is diluting a small amount of clove oil into an ounce of a carrier oil such as sunflower oil. Then dab this mixture onto the painful area with a cotton swab two to three times a day.
Like clove, thyme has antibacterial and pain-relieving properties that can help with a toothache. You can either use the carrier oil method and dab diluted thyme essential oil onto the affected area or make a mouthwash with a single drop of essential oil into eight ounces of water.
When to See a Dentist
Except in most minor cases, toothaches do not usually go away independently. In addition to seeing a dentist regularly, if you or your child have a toothache, having a dentist check it out is highly recommended.
A dentist can perform a complete examination, including X-rays if needed, to determine the underlying cause of the toothache and take the correct course of treatment. Whether it is a tooth repair, filling, root canal, or gum treatment, proper dental care can address the underlying and relieve toothaches long-term.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!