At-Home Cures for Toothache

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Toothaches are just the worst. Your mouth is sore, your head hurts, your gums are throbbing, and the nerve pain can radiate across your entire face.

In any toothache situation, your first thought should be to make an emergency appointment with your dentist. However, if you’re not able to see them right away, there are some remedies you can try for at-home relief.

Rinsing with salt water

One easy, cost-free thing you can do to ease the pain is to rinse your mouth with warm, salty water. Swish it around inside your mouth, but don’t swallow it. It’s not necessary, and it doesn’t taste too good! You can also floss around the tooth (gently!) to dislodge any food that might have gotten stuck.

Ice packs

If your face is swollen, put an ice pack on your cheek. Specialist facial ice packs are widely available over the counter. The ice can help ease the pain and reduce swelling, especially if the tooth is sore because it’s chipped or loose. If your face is very swollen, it may also be a sign of infection, so keep an eye out for accompanying fever or red gums that could mean you have an abscess.


Yes, there’s another way that ice might help! Scientists believe that ice stops pain signals reaching the brain, so placing an ice cube in your hand (on the same side as the painful tooth), and rubbing it between your fingers until they turn numb may also help numb your tooth pain.

Toothache plants

It might seem like a sure thing given the name, but it’s not officially known whether or not this plant actually works to get rid of toothache. The oil is an ingredient in many products, however, and types of toothache plant grow all over the world.


Garlic is packed with allicin, a natural disease buster. It’s not 100% clear if it’s good for toothache, but try placing chopped garlic on your tooth and see what happens. It’s not great for the breath, but it might help.

Clove oil

A natural painkiller that’s great for toothache, clove oil should be rubbed directly on the sore area or dabbed onto the tooth and gums using a cotton pad. It’s so effective that it’s thought to be just as good as over-the-counter toothache medications.

Over-the-counter pain relief

Adults with a toothache can take any number of painkillers or anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, to help with toothache. Don’t rub aspirin on the tooth or your gums, as contrary to urban legend, this can actually damage your mouth. You also shouldn’t give aspirin to children. Acetaminophen is recommended for children with a toothache.

Over-the-counter anesthesia

You can also ask your pharmacist for over-the-counter pain-relieving gels and liquid medications that can be applied directly to sore teeth and gums. These products contain an active ingredient called benzocaine, which numbs the mouth for a period of time. However, they’re meant for short-term use, so if it’s going to be a while before you see your dentist, you should take this into account.

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