What is a toothache?

You can stop a toothache at home with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, hot or cold compresses, salt water gargles, clove oil, garlic, peppermint tea, and vanilla extract.
You can stop a toothache at home with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, hot or cold compresses, salt water gargles, clove oil, garlic, peppermint tea, and vanilla extract.

A toothache is when you have pain in or around one or more teeth. It is often, but not always, a sign of underlying dental trouble. You should have a toothache checked out by your dentist as soon as possible.

Poor dental health is much more than a cosmetic issue. Your teeth and gums are directly and indirectly related to the rest of your body. Health problems in your mouth can easily spread elsewhere. These may cause a range of unexpected complications.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is generally a matter of maintaining a healthy routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.

Regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist should be completed twice per year. This can help you catch little problems before they become big problems

You may not always be able to see a dentist right away. In this case, you may need to try a few home remedies for faster relief of your toothache.

Causes of a toothache

While many think that tooth decay is the typical cause of a toothache, the reality is more complicated. There are a number of reasons why your teeth might hurt, including:

Home remedies that aim at relieving a toothache or stopping the pain altogether are rarely a permanent fix. If the ache is caused by a sinus infection or related to a cold, it could go away on its own.

Most toothaches are caused by an underlying problem. See your dentist if the pain lasts longer than two days.

Home remedies for a toothache

Depending on what’s causing your toothache, these home remedies should provide at least some amount of relief. Sometimes they may not be of any help, but they have the potential to provide you with immediate relief. They may even solve your problem entirely.

Either way, these remedies for toothache are worth trying out while you wait to see your dentist.

Clove oil

Clove oil is the best known home remedy for toothache. It contains eugenol, a natural chemical with antibacterial properties. Solutions using clove oil for toothache are readily available at many pharmacies. You can even make your own by diluting clove essential oil with olive oil.

Garlic

Garlic is a natural antiseptic, meaning that it opposes bacteria and stops them from growing. If bacteria are causing your toothache, garlic could help. Just cut a clove and carefully chew on it using the tooth that hurts.

Peppermint tea

Peppermint can also provide some pain relief. Assuming that bacteria are causing your pain, peppermint’s antimicrobial qualities should at least temporarily numb the ache.

Hot or cold compresses

Experiment with both hot and cold compresses to see which feels better. Simply warm or cool a compress to the desired temperature and hold it to your cheek directly over the pain. This can reduce any swelling and improve your quality of life until you can see a dentist

Vanilla extract

Vanilla extract is a popular home remedy for toothaches. It’s a natural antiseptic. It’s also an analgesic, which means it relieves pain. It also contains eugenol, a natural chemical used in some toothache medications.

Salt water gargles

Salt is also a natural antiseptic. Simply pour a teaspoon of salt into warm water and stir it in. Place the mixture in your mouth and gargle it over the affected area for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Be careful not to swallow the salt water.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers

Toothaches are often caused by swelling, which almost always is caused by something else. Pain relief medicines like ibuprofen won’t solve your problem permanently. They should ease swelling and help your situation while you wait to see a dentist.

In addition to these home remedies, try to avoid eating or drinking foods that are too hot or cold, as that could make your pain worse. The same goes for spicy or overly acidic foods.

Here are some foods to eat until your toothache is cured:

  • Bananas
  • Light soups
  • Milkshakes
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Scrambled eggs

Prognosis and outlook for a toothache

Putting your toothache to an end will depend on what’s causing it in the first place. An oral examination, which may or may not include X-rays, by your dentist will more than likely discover what is causing your pain.

Most toothaches can be effectively treated by your dentist. More severe cases may require a tooth extraction.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/11/2021
References
Dentaly.org: "Home Remedies for Toothache Pain Relief: Stop the Pain Right Now."

Familydoctor.org: "Mouth and Teeth: How to Keep Them Healthy."

Mayo Clinic: "Toothache: First aid."

National Health Service: "Toothache."

St. John's Health: "Home Remedies: What Is The Best Toothache Pain Relief?"

TwistWest.org: "Toothache."