Tooth pain is one of the most common complaints that dentists hear in their offices. Before modern dentistry, tooth pain was just as common, but people had to rely on toothache remedies to rid their pain naturally. Although modern medicine has its own solutions, with proper use, these natural toothache remedies can help you avoid the dentist altogether.
Tooth Pain Causes
The first thing most people think of when they experience tooth pain is cavities, but there are plenty of other causes of a toothache.
In fact, tooth pain can be caused by (1,2):
- Tooth decay
- Abscessed tooth
- Tooth fracture
- A damaged filling
- Repetitive motions, such as chewing hard foods or grinding teeth
- Infected gums/ Gum disease
- An abnormal bite
- Tooth eruption (in young children)
- Symptoms of a toothache may include:
- Tooth pain may be sharp, throbbing, or constant. In some people, pain results only when pressure is applied to the tooth.
- Swelling around the tooth
- Fever or a headache
Some toothaches go away on their own, but others indicate a more serious problem. If you experience a severe toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days; fever, earache, or pain when you open your mouth; difficulty breathing or swallowing; or foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth, visit your dentist immediately.
12 At Home Toothache Remedies
You’ll even find some toothache remedies that you can use anywhere, even in the car!
Clove oil contains high levels of eugenol, an anesthetic, and an antiseptic compound. It’s even used in modern dentistry to relieve gum pain and kill germs during extractions, fillings, and root canals. One study even found that it’s as effective in numbing pain as the synthetic local anesthetic benzocaine (3).
To use, mix 1 tsp of coconut oil with 2-3 drops of clove oil. Apply directly to the area of pain using a cotton ball and leave on for a few minutes. Once the area is numb, remove the ball and rinse your mouth to avoid swallowing the clove oil.
Alternatively, chew a few cloves using the teeth closest to the site of your pain. Once your gums and tongue feel tingly, discard the cloves and rinse out your mouth. Repeat as needed.
Ginger Cayenne Paste
This antibiotic paste helps control bleeding, reduce swelling, relieve pain, and fight infection (4,5). To make, mix equal parts of ginger and cayenne with a little bit of water to make a paste. Saturate a cotton ball in the formula and apply to your tooth, away from your gums and tongue. Leave it on as long as possible and avoid swallowing if possible.
Salt Water Gargle
This simple solution uses a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of boiling water to fight infection and relieve throat pain. It’s also a great solution to flush away debris and ease swelling. Make sure to let the water to cool slightly and swish around for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat as needed.
Peppermint oil is an effective intracanal antiseptic solution against oral pathogens, according to a 2013 study (6). The best way to make the remedy work for you is by drinking peppermint tea containing at least 1 teaspoon of peppermint leaves steeped for a minimum of 20 minutes. This will also relieve bad breath and a bad headache, a typical side-effect tooth pain.
Alternatively, steep up some strong black tea, drink up, and place a warm wet tea bag against the affected tooth.
“Myrrh’s astringent properties help with inflammation, and a rinse can offer the added benefit of reducing bacteria,” writes RDH (7). To make your own myrrh rinse, simmer one teaspoon of powdered myrrh in two cups of water. Let it cool and use five or six times a day, after eating.
You can also simply buy a myrrh tincture at your local health food store, dilute in water, and apply the solution to the affected tooth using a cotton swab. Do not use myrrh long-term and avoid if you suffer from kidney problems.
Garlic is a true powerhouse when it comes to natural medicine, as it has the ability to fight viruses, bacteria, fungi, and more. Allicin, the main active compound in garlic, doesn’t respond well to heat, so it’s best to use raw garlic as medicine (8).
First, crush a clove of garlic and let it sit for 15 minutes to activate its beneficial compounds. Then, you can either mash it with a bit of salt and apply the paste directly to the affected tooth or chew the clove using the affected tooth. Repeat 2-3 times daily, as needed.
Strangest of these toothache remedies is the unassuming vanilla extract. As Arizona Family Dental mentions, vanilla extract works in two ways: it contains alcohol, which is a numbing agent, and the scent of vanilla doubles as a soothing agent to help you fight some of the anxiety associated with a toothache (9).
To use, dab a small amount of vanilla extract on your finger and rub the throbbing tooth and gum area. Apply 2-3 times daily.
This paste combines the antibacterial and antiviral properties of both turmeric and coconut oil to fight infection-related pain (10). It also combats irritation, gum redness, bad breath, and tooth stains.
Here’s how to make it:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ -1 Tsp turmeric powder
- A few drops of peppermint oil
- Mix the ingredients to a perfect blend.
- Wet your toothbrush with some water and dip it into the mixture.
- Brush your teeth normally just as you would with regular toothpaste.
- Let it sit for about 3-5 minutes.
- Spit out and rinse your mouth well.
- Use daily.
Breaking a tooth or losing a filling can be quite painful, especially near the newly exposed area. To temporarily relieve pain before heading to the dentist, chew a bit of mild-flavored gum on the opposite side of your mouth and apply the chewed gum directly to the affected tooth.
Some people find that acupressure provides quick relief for tooth pain, especially if you’re in a pinch. All you need to do is use your opposite thumb to apply pressure to the hand on the affected side of your body, right where the base of the thumb and the index finger meet. Hold for two minutes to release pain-relieving endorphins.
This may seem obvious, but if your tooth has undergone the trauma of any kind, apply a cold compress or ice on the cheek of the affected side. This will help temporarily relieve pain and swelling before undergoing treatment.
A2014 study published in the Journal of International Oral Health writes:
“Essential oil rinses are found to be equally effective in inhibiting plaque. A study carried out by Pizzo et al. on plaque inhibitory effect of amine fluoride/stannous fluoride and essential oils showed no significant difference in efficacy of both. As chlorhexidine causes staining of teeth on long term use, essential oils can be used as an alternative to chlorhexidine rinse. Essential oils have shown to possess antimicrobial activity against subgingival pernio pathogens, too.” (11)
Here are a few essential oils you can try:
- Tea Tree Oil
Preventing Tooth Pain
Regular tooth hygiene is important to prevent many of the causes of tooth pain. Brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning and at night. While the jury isn’t out on whether you should floss or not, it may be a good idea to it anyways, especially if you often get food stuck in your teeth.
Additionally, if you’re prone to gum disease and cavities, rinse with warm salt water after eating. With proper daily care, a healthy diet, and the odd use of the toothache remedies above, your smile will shine brightly for years to come.