Whether you feel a slight twinge after drinking ice water or a blinding throb throughout your entire jaw, toothaches are never fun.
Fortunately, you can minimize the number of toothaches you have by practicing proper oral hygiene; unfortunately, brushing and flossing do little good if you’re already in the agony of a full-blown toothache.
If you’re suffering from a toothache, these at-home remedies may provide you some temporary relief until you can make it to your dentist.
Rinse Your Mouth
When food particles (such as a stubborn popcorn kernel) are lodged in your mouth, they can push your teeth out of alignment, making them feel sore and tender. Additionally, the longer food stays lodged in your teeth, the longer bacteria in your mouth can feed on that food to produce acid and cause infection.
Rinsing your mouth can help fight pain-causing bacteria and potentially dislodge food particles that regular brushing may miss. Try these rinses:
- Salt water: Mix a tablespoon of salt in a small glass of warm water. Swirl it in your mouth for as long as you can, spit it out, and repeat as needed.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide kills germs. If you can’t stand the taste, dilute it with some water and then rinse your mouth with it.
- Mouthwash: Antiseptic mouthwashes kill germs and freshen your mouth. They can also make your teeth less sensitive. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash, and even make it a part of your regular tooth brushing routine.
Do not swallow these rinses-they can irritate your stomach and cause nausea.
Use a Cotton Ball
Rinsing your mouth can help alleviate some pain, but for more intense toothaches, you need direct contact with an anti-inflammatory ingredient. Cotton balls soak up helpful ingredients, and when placed on your tooth and the surrounding gum, it can gradually release those ingredients to relieve pain. Furthermore, cotton balls are soft enough that they won’t cause additional irritation.
Try soaking a cotton ball in these ingredients and putting the cotton ball directly on your tooth. Allow it to sit for several minutes before removing.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla has the chemical eugenol, an antiseptic and analgesic (painkiller). Pour 3 to 4 drops onto a cotton ball and swab the tooth and gums.
- Peppermint extract: Peppermint has menthol, which is commonly used for its cooling and warming action to relieve pain. Apply a few drops of peppermint extract to the cotton ball, or feel free to chew on fresh peppermint leaves.
- Oil of oregano: oil of oregano is known for its antimicrobial and antispasmodic properties. Mix a few drops with olive oil and then saturate the cotton ball with the mixture. You can swap the olive oil with water if you prefer.
Essential oils and extracts may be too strong for some individuals, which is why it’s important to only use a few small drops and to dilute it with water or another oil if necessary.
Fight It with Food
Assuming your tooth isn’t too sore to chew, these foods contain chemicals which can act as natural pain killers. Nibble on some of these foods for temporary relief.
- Ginger root: Ginger is popular for its anti-inflammatory effects, and it is known to reduce pain. Take 5 grams of fresh ginger or 1 tsp. of dried ginger throughout the day.
- Onion and garlic: Garlic and onions contain anti-inflammatory chemicals which work similarly to ibuprofen. Chew raw onion or garlic for a few minutes and hold it inside your mouth near the painful tooth.
If your mouth is too sore to chew, consider smashing these foods into a paste and then applying them to your tooth.
Ice the Area
You’ll want to be careful with ice. Ice can numb the area, and if you cover an ice pack with a cloth or towel, you can hold it over your check to help with the pain.
On the other hand, your toothache may be the result of sensitivity to hot and cold. Applying cold to the area may make your toothache worse.
Dull the Pain with Aspirin
Unlike the other treatments listed above, aspirin should not be applied directly to the tooth or surrounding area. In fact, aspirin can burn the soft tissue of your mouth, leaving your cheek and gums tender for several days until they heal.
Instead, swallow aspirin as directed on the label. As aspirin is broken down and absorbed by the intestines, it enters the bloodstream and then interferes with pain chemicals circulating in your body and giving you temporary pain relief.
Don’t Dodge Your Dentist
If you have persistent or severe tooth pain, then take the time to speak with your dentist. Your dentist can diagnose and treat dental infections or other problems that are contributing to your pain. In some cases, tooth pain might not be related to problems with the tooth or jaw, and he or she may recommend that you see a doctor instead. Contact us now.