A toothache is a sign that something is wrong – it might indicate a cavity, an infection, gum disease, a loose filling or any number of other problems in the mouth. But until you can get it fixed, the best thing to do in the meantime is to turn to a home remedy to relieve the pain. In fact, you might have just what you need your in your own kitchen, or bathroom cabinet.
Aside from warding off vampires, garlic is practically a medicinal wonder, proven to be a very effective antiseptic with potent antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It’s been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years – dating back to 2,000 BC, used by the Romans, Greeks, ancient Egyptians and Chinese. What makes it so effective for healing is a compound known as allicin – it offers a powerful antibiotic effect which is released when garlic is crushed, providing relief to the affected area it’s applied to.
To use it, finely chop one garlic clove, then smash it and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes in order to activate the allicin. Apply a small amount directly onto the affected area – be careful not to use too much as it can burn. Leave on for a few minutes, and then rinse with warm salt water. Rinsing with salty, warm water helps to draw out the infection and kill bacteria while removing any lingering burning sensation from the garlic paste.
It also helps to fight the infection from the inside, as there is likely to be a significant amount of inflammation and swelling. Use the remedy above, and try to add as much garlic to your meals as you can. You may even want to take it on its own by mixing a few cloves that have been crushed and a lot to sit for 10 minutes or so into plain yogurt. Keep in mind that unlike antibiotic drugs, bacteria doesn’t build a resistance to garlic no matter how often you ingest it, though you may want to stock up on parsley – chewing a sprig of parsley afterward helps to eliminate the odor.
2. Clove oil
Cloves have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant and anesthetic properties that help alleviate tooth pain and fight infection. It’s a top oil to have on hand for dental issues in particular, and it’s long been used in treatments for problems like toothaches when the sufferer is unable to get to the dentist right away. Cloves have traditionally been used as a remedy to numb the nerves, thanks to its primary chemical compound: eugenol, a natural anesthetic. It can fight against all kinds of dental pain, including cavities, mouth ulcers, and sore gums; in fact, you’ve probably seen it as an ingredient in dental products.
Similar to clove oil, peppermint offers natural numbing properties that can bring relief to an aching tooth. You’ve probably seen peppermint in many store-bought pain-relieving sprays, creams and gels as it’s one of nature’s most effective pain killers as a natural analgesic. One of the easiest ways to use it is in peppermint tea bag form. To treat your toothache, place a peppermint tea bag in the refrigerator or freezer until it’s cold (unless you’re cold sensitive – in that case skip this part). Then, apply the tea bag directly onto the affected area for about 20 minutes. You may need to repeat this frequently as the pain tends to return soon after the tea bag is removed, but it will almost certainly lessen the pain while it’s there.
Peppermint works because menthol, a KOR agonist that naturally occurs in mint, is known as an effective pain blocker, desensitizing an area through the cold menthol receptor. If you don’t have any peppermint tea on hand but happen to have peppermint essential oil, just add a few drops to a cotton ball and place it onto the affected area instead.
4. Bourbon or whiskey
While the American Dental Association claims there is no basis for this remedy, and we hesitate to recommend alcohol as a “home remedy,” in this case, it is worth mentioning. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, countless people over the centuries have found it to be effective. While ingesting alcohol doesn’t directly numb pain, applying it topically is believed by many to numb the area, though it offers very little in the way of fighting bacteria or infection, if any.
If you do decide to drink it, keep it mind that while it can slow pain responses of the central nervous system, in the long run, you’re probably going to feel worse, not better. Resist the urge to down a shot and instead, soak a cotton ball in bourbon or whiskey. Squeeze out the excess and place it next to the sore tooth, allowing it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can simply swab the soaked cotton ball on your gums and around the sore tooth, repeating as necessary.
Acupressure can stop tooth pain in its tracks by triggering the release of endorphins, otherwise known as those wonderful feel-good hormones, though it is not recommended for anyone who is pregnant. There are several different methods for achieving toothache pain relief using acupressure, including:
- Press the skin just behind your outer ankle bone; hold for about a minute. Use your fingertip to apply pressure firmly without pressing too hard.
- Use your thumb to press the point on the back of your other hand, where the base of the thumb and index finger meets. Apply moderate pressure for about ten minutes.
- Grasp the toenail area of your second toe of the corresponding foot using your thumb and forefinger. Apply moderate pressure to the side of the toe that’s furthest from the big toe. Hold for one to two minutes, or until the pain has been eliminated.
6. Salt water
Salt water helps to cleanse any loose debris in the mouth as well as any potentially harmful bacteria that might be in or around the affected area. To treat a toothache, simply add salt (preferably sea salt) to a small amount of warm water and swish it around in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat once or twice, several times a day.
Onions offer antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that are known to kill the bacteria in the mouth that contributes to pain. Placing a piece of raw onion over the painful area is something that’s even been recommended by some dentists. Sufferers have gone as far as saying that it’s as effective as eight capsules of Advil and a bottle of Orajel. While that’s saying a lot, sucking on an onion probably doesn’t sound all that pleasant, but if it works, it’s definitely worth it, right?
Just cut a piece of onion into a size that comfortably fits into your mouth and apply it to the affected area. It’s important that the slice is freshly cut so that some onion juice is released. Allow it to sit for five minutes, or even longer if you can.
8. Guava leaves
Guava leaves are also known for alleviating toothaches as well as relieving swollen gums and mouth ulcers, due to its potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial properties, as well as its high level of flavonoids. Herbalists recommend using them in paste form to maintain good oral hygiene as they’re known to reduce gum inflammation and leave breath fresh and clean.
Simply chew a leaf or two until the juice starts going to work on the affected tooth. Or, place five guava leaves into boiling water, allow the liquid to cool to warm temperature, and then add a sprinkle of sea salt. Use the solution like you would a mouthwash, swishing and then spitting it out, several times a day.
Cucumber is known for its hemostatic and soothing effects, which is why you’ve probably heard about it as an excellent remedy for under-eye dark circles. When used for a toothache remedy, its hemostatic effects help lessen blood flow to the affected tooth, ultimately lessening and soothing pain.
Bring a cucumber to room temperature if it’s been refrigerated first if you’re sensitive to cold as it could worsen pain. Then slice a fresh piece and hold it over the affected area. Alternatively, you can mash up a piece of cucumber with a bit of sea salt and then pack it around the aching tooth.
Wheatgrass offers natural antibacterial properties that help fight tooth decay and relieves toothaches as well as natural antibiotics that help to protect the teeth and gums from infections. For the best results, chew the wheatgrass directly with the affected tooth. You can also use wheatgrass juice as a mouthwash to absorb toxins from the gums, reduce bacteria growth and keep the infection under control until it can be addressed by a professional.
11. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most common solutions for relieving teeth, mouth and gum problems. Swishing with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution in your mouth can provide temporary pain relief, particularly if your toothache is accompanied by a fever and/or a bad taste in your mouth, which are signs of infections. According to ArizonaFamilyDental.com, it works because, similar to salt water, it acts as a cleansing aid, but it’s “even more effective than saline because it can attack bacteria rather than just rinsing it away.”
Swish the solution around your mouth for about 30 seconds and then rinse several times with water – don’t swallow it. Repeat once or twice a day, or until you’re able to get to the dentist.
Turmeric is a true wonder spice – it seems there is almost nothing that this amazing herb can’t do. In addition to all of its many health benefits, it’s long been used as a natural treatment for toothaches. It possesses strong antiseptic, analgesic and antibacterial properties that can help stop pain in its tracks. It’s considered to be effective against tooth and gum infections as well as excruciating abscesses.
To use turmeric, add a teaspoon of turmeric powder into a small amount of water – just enough to make a paste. Dip a cotton ball into the paste and then place it into your mouth on the affected area. It can also be applied directly, or mixed with raw, organic honey, which offers its own powerful antibacterial properties, for added benefits and taste.
Thyme has been proven scientifically to offer some of the most strongest antimicrobial properties of all essential oils. It also contains antifungal, antiseptic and medicinal properties that make it quite effective for pain relief and warding off tooth decay and gum disease. There are a number of ways thyme can be used to treat a toothache.
While you can sip a thyme tea for some relief (swirling it in your mouth and holding it for 30 seconds before swallowing), the best way to use thyme is by chewing on the leaves. In this case, you’ll want to chew it on the opposite side of the mouth, rather than using the affected tooth. If the leaves get into the tooth, it could worsen the problem. Chewing the leaves helps to bring out its juices, reducing pain as well as helping to heal bleeding gums. Another option is to dilute a few drops of thyme essential oil with a carrier oil like olive oil, and then gargle with it. This helps to soothe the ache and fight infection. You can also apply the oil directly to the affected area, provided only a very minimal amount is used (one drop or less).
14. Salt water, oregano essential oil, and colloidal silver
This powerful combination of ingredients is said to be one of the best for toothaches that result from abscess of another type of infection. First, begin by placing a few drops of oregano essential oil under your tongue and hold it there for several minutes before spitting it out. Next, swish some colloidal silver around in your mouth, swishing and then rinsing at least three or four times. In between colloidal silver swishes, gargle with warm water mixed with sea salt. Afterward, rub some of the oregano oil directly into your gums.