How To Treat a Toothache

How To Treat a Toothache

Last update: 15 June, 2015

Toothache can cause excruciating pain. There are a number of causes for tooth pain, some obvious and some a little more difficult to diagnose. One thing is for sure, you need to call your dentist and make an appointment as soon as possible when you have toothache.

Until then, there are a few useful tips that you can use to help reduce the pain and ease the ache. However, first it is important to understand why you are experiencing the toothache. The pain you are experiencing could be caused by an infection, gum disease, by grinding your teeth, cavities, loose fillings, cracked teeth or maybe an abscess of some kind.

Make a quick inspection of your mouth just to make sure there’s nothing obvious such as a mouth ulcer. A little less obviously however, toothache can also commonly be caused by sinus problems or an ear infection, and in fact it is the tension in the muscles that is causing the pain. In this instance it is likely you will also have a headache, so keep this in mind when trying to work out the cause of your discomfort.

The swelling and throbbing associated with toothache really can be unbearable. To help you ease the discomfort until you can make it to the dentist, here are a few suggestions including some fantastic herbal remedies:


Try rinsing with some salt water – this will cleanse the mouth. Or, just try gently cleaning your mouth with mouthwash and floss, removing anything that is stuck in there may help alleviate some pain.

Clove oil is well reported for its ability to sooth toothache and it remains a popular home remedy. The primary active chemical compound in cloves is eugenol, which is a natural anesthetic. Just pop a few drops of oil onto a piece of cotton cloth and apply it directly onto the affected area. If you don’t have any clove oil, try chewing a whole clove.

Sip your way to easing your tooth pain with a good old cuppa. Peppermint tea is known for its healing properties, and so is chamomile tea. If drinking the tea doesn’t take your fancy, dabbing the cooled tea bag on the painful area could help soothe the pain. Some would swear on the healing properties of alcohol, and if you are looking for something a little stronger try swooshing a shot of scotch, whiskey or brandy around your mouth.

The natural antiseptic of tea tree oil could also help with the tooth pain. When a few drops are added to water and rinsed around the mouth, it should be absorbed by the gums to help desensitise the whole area.

Have a look in your kitchen cupboard or fridge, as many reports suggest that there are a number of fruit, vegetables and herbs that can help with toothache. How many of these are old wives tails and how many may actually work is questionable, and what works for one person may not work for another. However if you find something that does help alleviate your discomfort it’ll be worth it! Chewing garlic gloves or a piece of fresh ginger are among the list, followed by the gentle application of potato, cucumber and even onion! The list goes on!


For something a little less ordinary, some people swear by the healing techniques of acupressure. Now, as you probably will have to wait to get to a professional, try this quick technique yourself: use your thumb to press the back of your other hand at the point where your thumb and index finger meet, for about two minutes.

Needless to say hot and cold food and drink can cause havoc for anyone with sensitive teeth. Stay away from super cold ice-creams and chilled drinks as well as piping hot dinners and soups! If you can manage to eat something soft or liquid at room temperature, this would be most suitable.

However, the most important thing to note is that prevention is always better than cure. The majority of toothaches cases can be avoided by looking after your teeth properly. This means cleaning and flossing them thoroughly and regularly and eating less sugar. Sugar is a serious threat to your teeth and gum health, lurking naturally in fruits and fruit juices as well as the obvious cakes and sweets. So be mindful about your sugar intake – for the good of your teeth!