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21 Home Remedies for a Toothache

by Thursday, February 7, 2013

This week I had to write my article a little ahead of time as I will be out of the office for a few days.

I went for an annual cleaning at my dentist and a routine X-ray showed that my lower wisdom teeth had turned sideways and were now completely impacted.

I had put it off long enough and it was finally time to schedule in to get them removed. I was lucky this time that they hadn’t caused me any pain and have not started to damage my other teeth, but I really started to think and I realized one very important thing…

You can’t schedule a toothache, and it never fails that a major toothache hits when it’s late at night and your dentist’s office is closed, or you’re somewhere remote and getting to a dentist any time soon is just not an option.

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of a toothache knows that it is not just your mouth that hurts. A toothache can be felt in just about every part of your body.

I have had a few so bad that they made me sick to my stomach from the pain alone.

Although in most cases only a doctor can cure the source of the problem, this list of treatments and pain relief remedies should get you through until you can visit the dentist.

infographic-toothache-home-remedies-blue

It is important to note: If you have a toothache, there is a reason for it and it’s best to have it taken care of by a professional as soon as possible, rather than having it treated at home in hopes that the underlying issue will go away on its own. If it’s infected (if your gum area is swollen), don’t delay in getting professional medical care.

Directions: Apply the below remedies directly to both the problem tooth and surrounding gums unless otherwise directed.

For items that direct you to chew, or for liquids that are to be swished around inside mouth, direct the liquid on and around the sore tooth as much as possible.

Do not swallow liquids. Rinse your mouth and spit them out when done.

  1. Salt Water: Mix a heaping tablespoon full of salt in a small glass of warm water; swirl around inside your mouth for as long as you can, spit out. Repeat as needed.
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide: Swoosh a bit of hydrogen peroxide. If the taste is too horrid for you, try diluting with a bit of water.
  3. Alcohol: Swoosh a bit of whiskey, scotch, brandy or vodka. A strong mouthwash that contains alcohol will do the trick too.
  4. Vanilla Extract: Saturate a cotton ball with vanilla and hold in place. Can also use a cotton swab dipped in extract.
    Other extracts that have the same effect are:
    Almond Extract
    Peppermint Extract
    & Lemon Extract
  5. Tea Tree Oil: Just a drop or two will do the trick. You can also add some to a cotton swab and hold in place or add a few drops of tea tree oil to a small glass of lukewarm to warm water and rinse your mouth with it.
  6. Oil Of Oregano: Mix a few drops with a bit of olive oil, then saturate a cotton ball with mixture. Can replace the olive oil with lukewarm water if preferred.
  7. Apple Cider Vinegar: Soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and hold it in place. Can also try regular household vinegar.
  8. Ginger Root: Take a fresh piece of ginger and chew it a bit.
  9. Garlic: Take a clove of garlic, smash it and apply (settle it inside cheek). You can also mash some garlic with salt.
  10. Peppermint Leaves: Chew on fresh peppermint leaves. You can also dried leaves, just hold them in place.
  11. Potato: Cut a fresh piece of potato (raw, skin off) and hold in place. Can also pound a piece of raw potato, mix in a bit of salt and use the mash.
  12. Lime: Cut a slice or wedge of lime and apply, bite into it if you can to release some of the juice.
  13. Onion: Slice a piece of fresh onion and hold it inside your mouth. The onion needs to be freshly cut (so it provides a bit of onion juice).
  14. Plantain: Chew up a fresh plantain leaf. If you’re too sore to chew, use the other side of your mouth. Once the leaf is macerated a bit apply it to the problem area and hold in place.
  15. Cucumber: Slice a fresh piece of cucumber and hold it over the sore area. If refrigerated, you might want to bring the cucumber to room temperature before using (if sensitive to cold) otherwise a cool piece can be soothing.You can also mash a piece with a bit of salt and pack it around the sore tooth.
  16. Cayenne Pepper: Make a paste with cayenne pepper and water.
  17. Black Pepper: You can use this full strength or make a mix of pepper and salt.
  18. Baking Soda: Take a cotton swab and moisten it with a bit of water, dip it in baking soda (coat the swab really well with baking soda) then apply. You can also make a mouth rinse by mixing a heaping spoonful of baking soda in a small glass of lukewarm to warm water, dissolve the soda then swish the mixture in your mouth.
  19. Cloves: This is remedy from the old timers (my great grandparents), rest a clove against the sore area until pain goes away. You can also use a drop or two of clove oil (BE CAREFUL: too much can be toxic) or make a thick paste of ground cloves and water or ground cloves and olive oil.
  20. Tea: Make a fresh cup of tea then take the used tea bag (still warm) and stick it in your mouth. Careful not to tear the bag. The tannins that are naturally in tea leaves can help numb things.
  21. Ice Pack: Cover an ice pack with a face cloth or towel then hold over your cheek where the problem is. This will help numb things. Make sure that you have some type of cloth between your skin and the ice, otherwise you can severely damage your skin.If that doesn’t work, try the opposite–a hot compress (making sure that it is not so hot as to scald your skin).

Tips

  • If the pain is unbearable and there’s no dentist available, call your local hospital’s emergency room–chances are they have a dentist on call that can treat you (for a fee of course).
  • Try gently brushing your teeth and flossing–this might bring some relief.
  • One old time remedy that you should not follow is to place an aspirin against the sore tooth.  You will have just as much if not more of an effect by swallowing the aspirin.Aspirin is actually an acid (acetylsalicylic acid to be exact) and placing it directly against your gums or teeth will cause corrosion of your teeth and acid burns on your gums.
  • If the side of your face is in severe pain and it feels like you’re going to lose your mind (I’ve been there, done that)–it could be a sinus infection or an allergy that affects your sinuses rather than a problem tooth (even though it definitely feels like it).Try taking a decongestant or if that is not available, a shower set on the hottest setting may help clear your sinus cavities.This might help relieve things until you get to a doctor. Chances are a prescription antibiotic is what you’ll need to clear up the sinus infection.If it is a sinus infection please don’t wait to get it taken care of!  I have permanent damage to my left eardrum from a sinus infection that became so congested it literally burst my eardrum as a pressure relief valve.

Have I missed any of your tried-and-true methods to relieve tooth and gum pain?

Please share it below in the comments section.

Please be aware: These are notes I have collected in my personal life over the years, in my own research as well as tips gathered from my grandparents and great grandparents.

They are not by any means professional medical advice and a trained dentist should always be contacted as soon as possible.

P.S. If you have a toothache it may be in your best interest  to go on a soft food diet until you get to the dentist.

Click here to see what I ate for days after my surgery that has earned a permanent spot in my pantry.

Want more? Check out other related contents from our site:

3 Effective Home Remedies for Headaches

Home Remedies For Cough | Homemade Cough Syrup

Home Remedies Infographics | Healthy Living Off The Grid

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149 Comments on "21 Home Remedies for a Toothache"

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Mariowen
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Mariowen
3 years 6 months ago
0

…and if the SHTF, then you won’t be doing this before you go to the dentist – you will be the dentist and will have to figure it out yourself. Pull your own tooth? People used to do that!

Brenda Hine
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Brenda Hine
3 years 6 months ago
1+

You never apply heat to a tooth that may be infected or any area of infection. Heat & infections bad combo it will spread like wildfire. I know heat feels good on it but it will spead infection

Doc Hudson
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Doc Hudson
2 years 11 months ago
0

IF, and it’s a big if, you can determine that the pain is coming from the gums and not a specific tooth, then warm salt water is a good idea. Otherwise, I’d have to agree with you that heat on an infected tooth is just about the worst possible thing you could do. It would be a good idea to stock up on dental emergency kits form your pharmacy and download/buy a copy of ‘Where There Is No Dentist’. I plan to be around after SHTF, but you’d better bring gold/silver or ammo…..

Cheryl L
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Cheryl L
2 years 5 months ago
0

Your absolutely right Brenda. I did that earlier before finding this site and I felt like my whole mouth was on fire and the pain became worse than it was to start with.

Paul Zimmerman
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Paul Zimmerman
3 years 6 months ago
0

I use baking soda passed down from over 5 generations on my mothers side. Just be sure to NOT use too often or too much. With a well packed tooth brush, morning and night will bring WILL BRING almost instant healing. God Bless you all.

Stu Ashley
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Stu Ashley
3 years 6 months ago
0 Hi Joe; Three points: 1. Several generations ago common people were as apt to go to the blacksmith for tooth removal as to the dentist, if any existed in their area. My Grandfather showed me his special pliers that he used to pull teeth when requested. This is a skill we may have to relearn. 2. A lot of pain is psychological. I have found that if I do not concentrate on the pain, it diminishes. People think I have a “high threshold for pain”, which may be true. But I think it is mainly mental. Think about something… Read more »
Nanook
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Nanook
3 years 6 months ago
0

Never heard or read about going to blacksmiths but I have come across several texts that stated barbers also pulled teeth, at least out here in the southwest. I can even recall some movies such as “Rooster Cogburn” or “True Grit” where that was done in the territories. Not important, just commenting…..

Doc
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Doc
3 years 6 months ago
0

Correct. The red on the barber pole signifies the blood from tooth extraction inside the barber shop. Also why old dental chairs were basically the same as barber chairs.

rich
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rich
3 years 20 days ago
0

Actually the red on the pole is for the barbaric blood-letting they used to do. Look that up.

Doc Hudson
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Doc Hudson
2 years 11 months ago
0

Yep, they were called ‘Barber Surgeons’ and they did most of the tooth extractions back in the day. Now that I think about it they must have gotten their tools from somewhere and the Blacksmith is the most likely source. Now you know why dentists were in such high demand when there were actual professionals available…toothaches don’t just hurt like h3ll, the infection can kill.

Hipockets
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Hipockets
2 years 11 months ago
0

Also, Indian Medicine’ It’s been around longer then everything else. I’ve seen it cure people of cancer and other ailments’

nivea
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nivea
2 years 9 months ago
1+

Lol, reading all this is making my tooth hurt all the more.

Jan
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Jan
2 years 5 months ago
1+

Re: Indian remedies. Amen.

Jan
Guest
Jan
2 years 5 months ago
0 Reading about home remedies and treating yourself is always important. SOMETIMES — better than the quack doctors that charge horrible fees and do not get the job done. There is an old book called “Physician Heal Thyself” that would be good for everyone to have. An older one is The Bible. A lot of healing wisdom on what to eat and how to treat is in there too! Especially when “Obamanos” healthcare kicks in. Nobody will be able to afford it when the “doctors” flee from lack of pay. There may not be enough “established” medical healthcare around. We… Read more »
cass
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cass
2 years 5 months ago
2+

The bible gives some of the best sources on healthcare out there. it is a good tool for daily lifestyle in a number of ways. I pray for healing in your mouths as well as mine.

azrielle
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azrielle
3 years 6 months ago
0 Two things I have found, used in conjunction with each other, that have worked to get rid of the infection and make the swelling go down: 1) Colloidal Silver, in the strongest dilution you can find–I use 500 parts per million (which cost me ~$60 for an 8 oz bottle)–swirl it, 1/2 tsp at a time, about every 3 hours, in your mouth for at least 5 minutes, or as long as you can, then swallow. Rinse with some fresh water, as the aftertaste is kind of nasty. 2) Go to your local farm store, or possibly PetSmart, or… Read more »
Left Coast Chuck
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Left Coast Chuck
2 years 3 months ago
0 I just had a wisdom tooth extracted in January. The oral surgeon told me to apply a cotton surgical sponge soaked in cool tea to the extraction site to control the bleeding. A commercial tea bag is not sterile and if the site has open wounds there is the possibility of infection which is why he recommended a cotton surgical sponge rather than applying the tea bag itself. You have to be especially careful if the tea was packaged in some foreign country where food preparation is not close to our own lax standards. If you boil the water… Read more »
carol
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carol
3 years 6 months ago
0 remember tom hanks and ‘wilson’. He used a whitteled reed, or was it the blade on ice skates to release an abcess. I have looked for dental pliers and see there are those for left, right, upper or lower. Please suggest what to do for an abcess if there is no E room or doctor or dentist. Pliers… can we have a needle and novacaine as well? I have had about 4 abcesses and you don’t know what a toothache is until that happens. What we need is a missive on what actually to do if there is no… Read more »
Rose
Guest
3 years 6 months ago
0 I have had a dry socket before. I was worst than giving birth. Felt like I was hit in the jaw with a sledge hammer for days. Someone told me to rinse the area with salt water (a very strong salt solution) until it was healed. I immediately began feeling relief within a few hours, Within a few days it was completely healed. It also works for sore throats and earaches. For an earache, gargle with salt water on side where ear hurts. Also sucking and slightly chewing on a garlic clove can help with infection also, just do… Read more »
Josh
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Josh
3 years 6 months ago
0

When I had my wisdom teeth pulled, the dentist only used novocain so I was awake for all 4 teeth. I saw the tool he used and it looked amazingly similar to a pair of Stanley bent nose pliers. He packed it with some of the round cotton bars (ones that look kinda like a tampon).

Joel Cepedanarro
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Joel Cepedanarro
2 years 11 months ago
0

Mostly, a tooth aches due to infection, my wife hated the idea of a root canals, and for over two years I kept her pain free injecting chlorine dioxide, (ClO2) whenever her tooth ached, she thought it a miracle! I keep a syringe and ClO2 in survival kit, once activeated it has very limited shelf life, so you activate as needed.

Ed
Guest
Ed
3 years 6 months ago
0

Was on a campout with boy scouts. I had a toothe ache and had scheduled a root canal for after return. so i brought come powdered clove spice to make it through weekend. scoutmaster complained of a toothe ache also. I gave some to him and we both got through the weekend

Stephanie
Guest
3 years 6 months ago
0

Clove essential oil was the only thing that really gave relief when I had an abcess while out of town. (WORST DAY OF MY LIFE)

Keep in mind though, it’s killing the nerve, so if it is not an abcess–bad enough to have a root canal/pulled tooth–then don’t do clove.

Laura
Guest
Laura
2 years 11 months ago
0 I have never known of clove to kill the nerve in a tooth, however, making a strong tea of cloves (use 5 or 6) or prepping a bottle of whisky but adding about 1/4 cup of cloves to a fifth of whisky and allowing to soak (for a week or two) to extract the oils is just about the best solution to an infected tooth I have ever come across. Our dentist even recommended it instead of antibiotics to clear up the infection so the tooth could be safely pulled. Swish it in the mouth or use a soaked… Read more »
Mark
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Mark
3 years 6 months ago
0 Hay Joe, A few years ago my wife had a super toothace and dry socket. The dental surgon had ordered several pain relivers for her including vicodin 10 mg 2 every hour, it did not work. I called our family dentist and he recomended clove oil. It can be purchased over the counter , not expensive and has a fairly long shelf life. She applied a drop or two to the affected area and the pain went away. My Father who had some bad teeth had lots of toothaches. He used a clove, placed on the affected tooth and… Read more »
Usman
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Usman
2 years 8 months ago
0

Wonderful Buddy!! Thnx…

Doc
Guest
Doc
3 years 6 months ago
0 There are some valid points here, but a lot are off the point. 1) First, you have to have EUGENOL and zinc oxide in any toothache kit. It’s a must! Eugenol can be used by itself as a drop in a tooth for temporary relief, but mixed with zinc oxide it can relieve the pain and fill up the whole at the same time (and relieve the pain for months as long as the pulp is still alive). It is one of the things that has been used in dentistry for a long time. Military has it in their… Read more »
carol
Guest
carol
3 years 6 months ago
1+

where do we get eugenol. I guess zinc oxide could be found at a vitamin store? I just read James Wesley Rawles trilogy, Patriots,Surviors, and Founders, as well as One Second too late by Forstchen. Preparedness is everything, and we can deal with a lot less than we have been, letting our wits solve many things, but teeth? EEP! The comments have been really appreciated.

Doc
Guest
Doc
3 years 6 months ago
0 Eugenol is the ingredient in oil of cloves that makes it work. Eugenol is more concentrated remedy. If you are putting the liquid in your mouth by drops or on a cotton, then be sparing with the eugenol or more liberal with the oil of cloves. Eugenol (oil of cloves) can be dangerous in high doses. You can buy either in almost any pharmacy, health food store, or on line. As long as the tooth is not abscessed, either will calm the tooth down. It’s the time that is the difference. Oil of clove on a cotton ball in… Read more »
Gtaber
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Gtaber
2 years 11 months ago
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