12 Toothache Home Remedies for People Who Hate the Dentist

Toothaches are no fun. They're doubly unfortunate if one is afraid to step foot into the dentist's office. While there are plenty of ways to address toothaches at both home and a dental practice, treatment can vary based on the severity as well as the source of the pain.

What causes toothaches?

Causes of toothaches can range from:

  • Tooth decay
  • Abscessed tooth
  • Tooth fracture
  • A damaged filling
  • Infected gums
  • Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding one's teeth
  • A serious underlying health condition

While these conditions (and more) can create discomfort, they don't exactly explain why toothache is even possible.

So, why exactly do toothaches happen anyway?

Unlike a burn or cut, the pain from a toothache feels as if it's radiating. This sensation is due to the interesting anatomy of teeth.

Specifically, under the hard, crystal calcium shell (the outermost layer of teeth) exists a mass of blood vessels, connective tissues, structural cells, and nerves. Importantly, teeth are connected to the trigeminal nerve, one of the many cranial nerves (nerves in the skull) we all have.

It's all in the cranial nerves.

Now, cranial nerves are a little different from nerves elsewhere in the body. Specifically, these nerves are hooked directly to the brain rather than one's spinal cord. This connection, in a way, creates a "short-circuit" of sorts. In other words, these nerves mean that teeth feel only pain instead of any other sensations.

For example, unlike skin—which can distinguish between hot, cold, wet and more—teeth can only distinguish between pain and no pain.

What are some home remedies for tooth pain?

Although toothaches may be agonizing, there fortunately are many home remedies to mitigate the pain. Fortunately, they all use common ingredients found around the house, which means a trip to the store might not even be necessary.

The first home remedy? It relies on an herb that's been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times...

1. Clove Oil

People have used clove oil to combat pain since ancient times. Fortunately, this Stone-Age solution can work perfectly in today's world, too. In fact, it is one of the most common plant extracts recommended by practicing dentists.

Why is clove oil effective?

What makes clove oil so special for aches and pains? It all has to do with the fact that it contains eugenol. Now, eugenol is a compound known for its antiseptic (antimicrobial), antibacterial, and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects.

Tips Before Starting

  • Clove essential oil is very potent. So, it is best to dilute it with a carrier oil like olive oil, almond oil, or coconut oil.
  • Before trying this method, conduct a patch test first. In other words, place a small bit of the solution onto a small patch of skin to test for any adverse (negative) reactions.
  • Do not to use this solution on broken or bleeding skin, as it can irritate that area further.

What You'll Need

  • Clove oil or ground cloves
  • Carrier oil (olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, etc.)
  • Cotton ball or cotton swab
  • Container to mix oils

How to Use Clove Oil for Toothaches

In order to apply this remedy:

  1. Squeeze a couple of drops of clove oil or a pinch of ground cloves (which is less effective) into a teaspoon of the carrier oil.
  2. Then, using a cotton ball or cotton swab, apply the solution to the irritated area.
  3. Reapply the solution every 2 to 3 hours for continuous relief.

Of course, clove isn't the only herb you can use to find toothache relief...

2. Garlic

This popular anti-vampire herb is also great for fighting toothaches. In fact, garlic is so effective that people have been using it for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years.

Why is garlic effective?

Garlic is effective for toothaches because it contains an extremely powerful compound called allicin. Importantly, allicin can reduce inflammation and also has antiseptic (antimicrobial) properties. Garlic also contains vitamin B6, vitamin C, phosphorus, and calcium, all of which are essential for healthy teeth.

Tips Before Starting

  • Avoid leaving a garlic compress in the mouth overnight, as this action can burn the skin and cause even more irritation.

What You'll Need

  • Clove of garlic
  • Knife or mincer
  • Salt
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing utensil

How to Use Garlic for Toothaches

Treating a toothache with raw garlic is relatively simple.

  1. First, peel and finely mince the garlic using a kitchen knife or mincer.
  2. Add a pinch of salt to the garlic and mix it until it resembles a fine paste.
  3. Apply this mixture directly to the affected tooth and allow it to sit for several minutes.
  4. It's possible to achieve this same effect by slowly chewing on a clove of garlic. This method might be difficult depending on the extent of the toothache pain, though.

If you don't like garlic, it's okay to be a little salty. This next solution might be for you...

3. Saltwater Gargle

Another effective treatment for treating a toothache? Gargling saltwater. Fortunately, no trip to the ocean is necessary for carrying out this home remedy.

Why is saltwater effective?

Saltwater is a natural disinfectant. Even better, it can help alleviate symptoms by loosening food particles lodged between the teeth, reducing inflammation, and speeding up the healing process.

Tips Before Starting

  • Do not swallow the saltwater. Gargle only!

What You'll Need

  • Salt
  • Water
  • Glass
  • Spoon

How to Use Saltwater for Toothaches

This product can be bought at most pharmacies and drug stores; however, it is quite easy to make at home.

  1. Start by mixing one cup of warm water with a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Stir this solution until all of the salt has dissolved.
  3. For optimal results, gargle with this mixture for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. This method can be repeated as often as you like.

If you're not a fan of gargling saltwater, you may find the following remedy to be much cooler...

4. Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce inflammation (and therefore pain) and speed up the healing process. A win-win!

Why is a cold compress effective?

Applying a cold treatment to the affected area constricts blood vessels. This constriction reduces swelling and inflammation, which in turn alleviates pain.

What You'll Need

  • Ice pack (if available)
  • Ziploc bag
  • Ice
  • Small towel

How to Use a Cold Compress for Toothaches

To use this method:

  1. Take a Ziploc bag and fill it with ice. Alternatively, you can use an ice pack if you have one available.
  2. Wrap the ice pack in a thin towel.
  3. Hold it up to your cheek above the affected area.
  4. Hold this compress in place for 15 minutes at a time.
  5. Repeat once every hour as necessary.

If cold compresses don't work, don't worry. You can have this next remedy (and drink it, too!)...

5. Peppermint Tea

A cup of tea for toothache woes? Yes, please!

Why is peppermint tea effective?

Peppermint has long been known for its antiseptic properties. Menthol, the key component in peppermint, is widely regarded for its numbing effects and cool minty flavor.

What about other teas?

Other teas, such as black tea, contain astringent tannins, which can help reduce pain by reducing inflammation and swelling.

Tea is also a natural carrier of fluoride, which is known for its antibacterial properties and is especially helpful with relieving the pain caused by toothaches.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Cup
  • Boxed peppermint tea
  • 1 TBS dried or 1 cup fresh peppermint leaves (if available)
  • Kettle

How to Use Loose Peppermint Leaves for Toothaches

In order to carry out this method:

  1. Place 1 tablespoon of dried peppermint leaves (or 1 cup of fresh peppermint leaves) into 1 cup of boiling water.
  2. Allow it to steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Once the tea has cooled, remove the peppermint leaves.
  4. Swish the tea around in the mouth.
  5. Tea can be swallowed or spit out.

How to Used Boxed Peppermint Tea for Toothaches

One can also use boxed peppermint tea for the same effects.

  1. Place a warm, wet tea bag directly on the affected area for some temporary relief.
  2. Remove the tea bag after 30 minutes.

Don't like peppermint? Then it might be thyme to try the next solution...

6. Thyme

It's thyme to fight that toothache with this tasty herb.

Why is thyme effective?

The key component of thyme is thymol, which is well-known for its antioxidant and antiseptic properties.

Tips Before Starting

  • There are several ways to use thyme to remedy a toothache. Which one works best depends on which ingredients you have at your disposal.

How to Use Thyme Oil for Toothaches

What You'll Need

  • Thyme oil
  • Cup
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Cotton ball

Method #1

  1. Mix several drops of thyme oil with a cup of warm water.
  2. Swish this mixture in the mouth for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Then, spit it out.

Method #2

  1. Place several drops of thyme oil on a cotton ball.
  2. Apply directly to the affected area.
  3. Hold it in place for 15 minutes.
  4. Repeat every couple of hours as needed.

How to Use Fresh Thyme Leaves for Toothaches

What You'll Need

  • Fresh thyme leaves

The Method

Finally, chewing fresh thyme leaves can also help alleviate the symptoms of a toothache.

  1. Take several leaves and slowly chew them on the non-painful side of the mouth.
  2. Keep the thyme in the mouth for at least one minute.
  3. Allow the juices to spread and coat the affected area.
  4. Then, spit the leaves out or swallow them.

Not a fan of this remedy? Don't worry; this next one is much cooler...

7. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that originates from the Arabian peninsula. Aloe vera is often described as the "wonder plant" or "miracle plant" due to its many healing properties.

Why is Aloe vera effective?

Since it has many antibacterial properties, Aloe vera can help soothe gums, fight cavities, and clean teeth.

What You'll Need

  • Aloe vera plant
  • Knife

How to Use Fresh Aloe Vera for Toothaches

  1. Remove one of the "leaves" from an Aloe vera plant.
  2. Slice it in half down its vertical (up-down) axis.
  3. Collect the shiny, slimy compound on the inside.
  4. Apply this gel directly to the affected area.
  5. Massage it in gently.
  6. There is no need to remove it once applied. Allow it to sit on the affected area
  7. Repeat as often as necessary.

The next solution? It'll have you reaching for that big brown bottle you used for cleaning cuts and scrapes as a kid...

8. Hydrogen Peroxide

That big brown bottle full of hydrogen peroxide isn't just great for cuts and scrapes on the knee; it may also help fight that toothache.

Why is hydrogen peroxide effective?

In addition to reducing plaque and healing infected gums, hydrogen peroxide can also alleviate the symptoms of a toothache. It's all thanks to this solution's antiseptic properties. Specifically, it releases oxygen when applied. The result? Foaming, which removes some dead skin cells and cleans the affected area.

Tips Before Starting

  • Children should never use this method, as swallowing hydrogen peroxide can pose many major health risks.
  • Never swallow hydrogen peroxide.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a fairly strong solution; so, make sure to use a 3% solution diluted with an equal amount of water.
  • Adding more parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide can dilute the solution more, which can work better for those who find a 1:1 water-3% hydrogen peroxide ratio too strong.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is quite inexpensive and can be found at most drug stores, pharmacies, and even certain convenience stores.

What You'll Need

  • Hydrogen peroxide 3%
  • Water
  • Cup
  • Stirring utensil

How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Toothaches

  1. Mix half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with half a cup of water. If this ratio is too strong, add more water.
  2. Gargle the solution.
  3. Swish it around the mouth for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Spit out the solution.
  5. Rinse mouth thoroughly with clean water.

Fortunately, this next remedy is much, much sweeter...

9. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is a common household good that nearly everyone has sitting in their kitchen cabinet. While many know that it goes great in cookie recipes, most don't know that it also works well for medicinal purposes, too.

Why is vanilla effective?

Vanilla extract has many antiseptic and analgesic properties since it contains the compound eugenol. In fact, some dental offices use this compound for temporary fillings as well.

Additionally, vanilla extract contains a little bit of alcohol, which can help reduce the pain from a toothache temporarily.

Tips Before Starting

Vanilla extract only works if one uses the pure version, not an imitation one. Why? Because artificial vanilla does not contain eugenol.

What You'll Need

  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Cotton ball

How to Use Vanilla Extract for Toothaches

To complete this method:

  1. Place a couple of drops of vanilla extract onto a cotton ball.
  2. Then, apply the cotton ball directly to the affected area.
  3. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the cotton ball.
  5. Repeat as often as necessary.

This next toothache remedy is also packed with flavor (or flavanoids, to be more exact)...

10. Guava Leaves

Guava isn't just great for making tasty juices; guava leaves are also an easy home remedy to use for toothaches.

Why are guava leaves effective?

Guava leaves contain antioxidants and its leaf extract contains high levels of flavanoids, compounds with analgesic and inflammatory properties. These flavanoids are why many dental products contain the extract of guava leaves.

Tips Before Starting

There are many ways to use guava leaves in a home remedy. Which one works best depends on the ingredients you have at your disposal.

How to Use Guava Tea for Toothaches

What You'll Need

  • Guava leaf tea (if available)
  • Guava leaves
  • Knife
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Cup

Method #1 (Fresh Guava Leaves)

  1. Finely chop up a tablespoon of guava leaves.
  2. Place them into a boiling cup of water.
  3. Allow this mixture to steep for 20 minutes and strain.
  4. Once the tea has cooled, swish it around the mouth.
  5. Either spit the tea out or swallow it.

Method #2 (Store-Bought Tea)

  1. Prepare the tea with boiling water.
  2. Let steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Strain and let cool.
  4. Swish tea around the mouth.
  5. Either spit the tea out or swallow it.

How to Use Guava Leaf Paste for Toothaches

What You'll Need

  • Guava leaves
  • Salt
  • Mixing bowl
  • Something with which to grind the leaves

The Method

  • Finely grind up the guava leaves until they form into a paste.
  • Add some salt to this paste for more antiseptic benefits.
  • Place directly onto the affected area.
  • Let the paste sit for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse the paste out.

Those who aren't fans of guava fruit may find that the following remedy has a little more kick to it...

11. Ginger & Cayenne Paste

Ginger and cayenne? It's a match made in toothache-relief heaven.

Why is a combination of ginger & cayenne effective?

Ginger is a root with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cayenne pepper has a very high vitamin C content, which helps alleviate inflammation. Cayenne pepper also contains capsaicin, which temporarily stops the brain from receiving pain indicators. When these two ingredients are combined, they naturally help relieve symptoms of a toothache.

Tips Before Starting

  • This method might not be best for those with a low tolerance for hot and spicy foods as this paste will sting a little bit.

What You'll Need

  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • Ground ginger
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing utensil
  • Cotton ball

How to Use this Paste for Toothaches

To use this method:

  1. Combine equal parts of cayenne pepper and ground ginger.
  2. Thoroughly mix it.
  3. Add a couple drops of water and mix until there is a homogeneous paste.
  4. Then, roll a cotton ball in the paste until it is sufficiently coated.
  5. Finally, place the cotton ball directly onto the tooth. Avoid the tongue and gums as much as possible.
  6. Hold the cotton ball in place for as long as you can withstand it, as this method will start to sting a little bit. If the method is painful, cease immediately.

Those who have a low tolerance for heat shouldn't despair, as there is still one more method for toothache relief available. Best of all, this final remedy is one fit for kings...

12. Myrrh

Don't worry. You won't have to bust out the gold and frankincense to use myrrh for some toothache relief.

Why is myrrh effective?

Myrrh contains antibacterial and astringent properties, which help eliminate bacteria from the mouth and reduce inflammation.

Tips Before Starting

  • Children should not use this method, as swallowing this mixture can have some adverse health risks.
  • Do not swallow this mixture.

What You'll Need

  • Myrrh powder
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing utensil
  • Cup

How to Use Myrrh for Toothaches

To use this method:

  1. Mix one teaspoon of myrrh powder with 2 cups of warm water.
  2. Stir until you achieve a homogeneous mixture.
  3. Gargle the solution for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Spit the solution out; do not swallow.

What's next?

So, what's most important for those battling a toothache to remember?

Final Thoughts

Toothaches can generate pain and discomfort that interferes with daily life. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to kick toothaches to the curb, and a trip to the pharmacy or dentist isn't always necessary to achieve this goal.

Why can home remedies help?

These home remedies are all great ways to alleviate the pain from toothaches and contain many other health benefits as well. By numbing and disinfecting one's affected teeth, these natural remedies can help teeth heal faster as well and provide temporary relief.

When will home remedies not help?

Those whose pain is severe and/or persistent should seek medical attention, as their pain could be due to a serious underlying medical condition. Additionally, it is always advised that any home remedies be cleared with a licensed professional before using.

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