Can’t get straight to your dentist? Find fast-acting relief for your tooth pain with these home remedies
17 October 2018| Last updated on 5 October 2020
Most people suffer from toothache at some point in their lives.
While we can all agree that any kind of tooth trouble isn’t fun, the pain generally varies in intensity, depending on the cause – from a mild throbbing in the mouth to unbearable agony.
The most frequent cause of toothache is tooth decay, which occurs when acid produced from plaque builds up on your teeth – although it can also be caused by a dental abscess, a cracked tooth, a loose or broken filling or an underlying infection.
In most cases, toothache can be resolved by seeing a dentist to treat the problem, however, there are several natural remedies that can relieve the pain in the interim.
Here are a few home cupboard heroes to reach for next time a pain in the mouth strikes…
1. Clove oil
A couple of drops of this pungent oil applied directly to the sore spot can set to work fast on toothache, thanks to its powerful healing properties.
An ingredient called eugenol provides a hit of relief – a natural anaesthetic and antibacterial that can also reduce inflammation in the mouth.
The oil is usually easy to pick up in a local pharmacy or health store, but if you can’t find the liquid stuff, you can try placing a whole clove in your mouth, near the tooth that hurts and biting down to release the oil within.
2. Cold compress
Pressing your cheek against something cold is an easy way to find relief, especially if you get caught out and don’t have any other pain remedies to hand.
A couple of cubes of ice inside a cloth, placed against the outside of the affected cheek for 10 minutes can constrict blood vessels in the tooth, making it particularly helpful if the tooth pain is caused by trauma.
If you want a more localised relief, you could try freezing slices of potato and slotting them against the sensitive area for a quick and easy cool kick.
3. Salt water rinse
Salt is a known to be a natural disinfectant as well as an anti-inflammatory, working to reduce bacteria levels in the mouth.
Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a mug of warm water and rinse around the mouth for two minutes before spitting out.
This is particularly helpful if your teeth are too sore to brush. The swilling action will help to ease pain and clear the mouth of any leftover food residue.
Garlic has been used to relieve toothache for centuries, and it’s all thanks to a compound called ‘allicin’ which acts as a natural antibacterial agent and anaesthetic.
To reap the benefits, gently chew on a clove where you’re feeling toothache to release the healing juices.
6. Guava leaves
They might not be so readily available, but the anti-inflammatory properties of these leaves can help in healing wounds, and their antimicrobial action can keep your mouth free of bacteria.
You can either chew on the fresh leaves or crush them to a pulp and add to boiling water to create a natural mouthwash – always allow the water to cool before your swill it near the sensitive tooth though.
Although home remedies can help to give you temporary relief when you need it most, it’s good to remember that they won’t fix the underlying problem, so you should always visit the dentist when toothache persists.