How to Ease a Toothache

Three Methods:Using Home RemediesPreventing ToothachesKnowing When to Visit the Dentist

Toothaches have two main causes. The first, is when a cavity compromises the inside of the tooth and exposes a nerve ending before it is dead. The other is when the fibers holding your tooth in its socket become infected (called an abscess). You can ease the pain of a toothache, but only a dentist can actually fix whatever is wrong.

Method 1
Using Home Remedies

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    Rinse your mouth with warm water. One of the first things you want to do is make sure that your mouth is clean and that there isn't bits of food bothering the painful spot. Water that is too cold or too hot can hurt your mouth, so definitely go for lukewarm to warm water.[1]
    • Floss gently between your teeth. Flossing gets rid of the food and bacteria still lingering in your mouth. Avoid flossing too roughly around the affected area because this could cause it to hurt more and to bleed.
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    Use over the counter pain medication. Sometimes the best way to deal with the pain is to mask it with pain medication until you can see a dentist. Most over the counter medication will work fine for your toothache and if it's so severe that the medication doesn't work, you should see someone right away.
    • Aspirin is especially helpful for problems in the joint of the jaw in adults.
    • Acetaminophen (not aspirin) should be used for children and teenagers.
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    Apply a cool compress to outside of mouth or cheek. This can help to ease the toothache by numbing the pain. Using this in conjunction with over the counter medication can help ease your pain until the painkiller can kick in.
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    Rinse your mouth saltwater. Saltwater can kill bacteria and make your toothache feel better. It can also ease it so that it doesn't get infected. Mix 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water.[2]
    • Swirl it around in your mouth and spit it out. Make sure that you don't swallow!
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    Swab the area with garlic clove oil and olive oil. Soak a cotton ball in a mixture of a few drops of garlic clove oil and a small amount of olive oil, and apply the cotton ball to the area of pain.[3]
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    Apply a warm teabag to the area. The natural tannins already in the tea can help to numb the pain. This is particularly good for the swelling or irritation of your gums. Make sure that the teabag isn't too hot otherwise you'll simply hurt the area more.
    • Constant exposure can stain teeth so use sparingly.
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    Use a peroxide rinse. As with salt water, a peroxide rinse helps remove contaminants and limits the growth of bacteria. It's particularly good for impacted teeth or infections in your mouth and you can use it periodically throughout the day until you can see an emergency dentist.
    • This should not replace your regular brushing and flossing.
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    Apply one type of vegetable. There are several types of vegetables that you can cut up and place on the injured area. These can help ease the pain and the chance of infection, but they shouldn't replace actually visiting the dentist if your pain persists.[4]
    • Place a slice of cool cucumber over the sore area.
    • Cut up a piece of raw, fresh potato and hold in place on the sore spot in your mouth. Make sure that you've peeled it too.
    • Hold a slice of freshly cut onion inside your mouth against the injured area. It needs to be freshly cut so that there's a bit of juice.
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    Chew mint leaves. You can either chew on fresh mint leaves, or hold some dry mint leaves in place over the sore area. If your tooth hurts too much to chew, then you should place some mashed or dry mint leaves over the infected area.

Method 2
Preventing Toothaches

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    Clean your teeth regularly. This is really the most important step to keeping your teeth healthy and pain-free. If you don't clean your teeth every day, and floss, the plaque and bacteria will build up and cause problems like cavities and infections.[5]
    • The saying goes "only floss the teeth you want to keep." Flossing really does work to keep your teeth healthy and free of bacteria-causing factors. Make sure that you floss at least once a day.
    • Brush at least twice a day, 30 minutes before or after meals. Too soon before or after a meal and you can damage the enamel on your teeth.
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    Prevent tooth decay with fluoride. You can find fluoride in lots of natural things, like water sources or certain vegetables. Check and see if your tap water is fluoridated. If not, ask your dentist to prescribe you fluoride pills or supplements (especially effective for children under ten).
    • Most toothpaste has fluoride as the active ingredient, but check to make sure that you're getting the right toothpaste.
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    Eat a healthy diet. What you eat makes a huge difference in how healthy your teeth are. Not only that, but certain foods are harder to get off of or out of the areas between your teeth. Pay attention to what you eat so that your teeth will be happier.
    • Avoid sugars and starches as much as possible. These two substances feed bacteria, especially sugar.
    • If you're going to eat food that gets stuck between your teeth make sure that you have floss or a toothpick on hand.
    • End your meals with a salad or an apple because these can act as a natural toothbrush.
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    Get your teeth checked twice a year by a dentist. This is actually really important and a lot of people skip out on getting checked over. A dentist will catch early cavities and problems with your teeth so they don't develop into bigger issues.

Method 3
Knowing When to Visit the Dentist

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    See the doctor if you have extreme pain. When the over the counter medication doesn't eliminate your pain you should definitely see your dentist or doctor, because this could be an emergency.[6]
    • This is especially true if you have extreme pain and swelling.
    • Fever is an important sign of infection in dental disease. Basic tooth decay doesn't cause a fever.
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    Go in if you have pain after a tooth is pulled. If it's on the second or third day after you get a tooth pulled then you need to see a dentist within 24 hours. This is called "dry socket syndrome" and happens sometimes when the tooth socket is being exposed to the air.
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    Seek medical attention if broken teeth accompany the pain. This could be due to a traumatic injury, in which case you should be seeking medical help as quickly as possible. Things like swallowed teeth and permanent tooth loss are considered dental emergencies


  • Using clove bud several times a day for months may cause permanent nerve damage. So if the pain lasts longer than a week, see a dentist.
  • Never consume alcohol while you're using painkillers.

Article Info

Categories: Teeth and Mouth