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What is the Best Toothache Relief?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated Feb 20, 2024
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There are many ways to soothe a toothache, and which one is best depends on several factors. Some toothache relief methods are better for minor toothaches, while others are better suited to the severe pain from more serious dental conditions. It is always best for people experiencing a toothache for more than a couple of days to see a doctor or dentist to evaluate their condition. There are many things that can help relieve tooth pain until a dentist makes a proper diagnosis, however.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can help relieve pain and swelling from a toothache. Antibiotics prescribed by a dentist or doctor can provide toothache relief if it is a result of an infection or tooth abscess. Creams and gels that contain benzocaine and are made for mouth pain and toothaches can help numb the area, and provide instant relief in many cases.

Simple home remedies can often also help with minor to moderate discomfort. Rinsing with warm salt water or diluted hydrogen peroxide may help relieve tooth and mouth pain, and can be done many times a day until the toothache subsides. Sometimes a good brushing and flossing can provide toothache relief, if the toothache was a result of food particles stuck in the teeth or gums. Placing an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables against the cheek or jaw may alleviate pain by numbing the nerves in the area.

Herbal remedies and natural remedies can provide temporary relief from tooth and gum pain in many patients. Pressing a clove or swabbing clove oil against the sore tooth can help numb the pain. Swabbing vanilla, almond, or peppermint extract over the tooth with a cotton swab can also dull tooth pain. Chewing peppermint leaves or ginger root may also provide relief from many toothaches.

Many common foods can be a source of toothache relief. A chunk of potato, onion, cucumber, or lime held against the sore tooth may provide instant relief for many patients. Refrigerated foods often help numb the nerves around the tooth while dulling the pain, but sometimes sore teeth are extremely sensitive to cold temperatures. In such a case, the treating foods should be used at room temperature.

Most toothaches are caused by cavities and other forms of tooth decay. The best way to prevent toothache is through proper oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing. Regular visits to a dentist for professional teeth cleaning and full checkup are also essential to good dental health.

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Discussion Comments
By anon334495 — On May 13, 2013

Garlic works for a while.

By ZipLine — On Jan 12, 2013

@alisha-- According to acupuncture, pain on the face and head can be relieved by applying pressure and ice on the opposite hand.

So if you have a toothache on the left side of your face, apply ice on your right hand, in the area on top of your hand between your thumb and index finger. Applying pressure on the same spot with your finger will also relieve the pain.

Raw garlic rubbed onto the aching tooth, a drop of clove oil or oregano oil is also effective.

By discographer — On Jan 11, 2013

@fBoyle-- Yea, clove oil does help. But the best toothache remedy is ice. Just put ice directly on the aching tooth, it will numb it and stop the pain.

By fBoyle — On Jan 11, 2013

I've heard about clove oil for toothache pain in the past, but I never purchased any. Has anyone tried it? Does it really work as well as people say it does?

When I get a toothache, which happens too often because I sometimes forget to brush my teeth, I usually gargle with antiseptic mouthwash several times a day, apply a cold pack to that cheek and take pain relievers. This usually does the trick until I can get to the dentist.

But my toothaches so far have been relatively mild. I don't know if these would work if it were more serious.

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