If you’ve ever had a toothache before, you know how uncomfortable and annoying it can be. Unfortunately, toothaches are a common oral health condition that more than 40 percent of adults deal with at some point each year.
It’s important to call your dentist if you have a toothache that lasts for more than a day or two, as this may indicate a more serious oral health problem such as an infection. However, there are things you can do in the meantime to help alleviate and reduce pain associated with the toothache.
Keep reading to learn about the best ways to get rid of a toothache.
Best ways to get rid of a toothache
If you’re looking for ways to reduce pain associated with a toothache, try these remedies!
Rinse with saltwater
Rinsing with saltwater is a go-to for many people dealing with problems such as toothaches, sore throats, and more. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water until it’s dissolved and then swish around the mouth for at least a minute. Saltwater can help loosen any trapped food particles in the teeth and may also help reduce inflammation in the mouth. Try rinsing a couple of times a day to help get rid of toothache pain.
Use a cold compress
If you’ve ever had a sprained ankle or trauma to a body part, you may have used a cold compress to help stop the pain. The same approach can be used for toothaches. To make a cold compress, wrap a bag of frozen food (peas are a favorite option for many) or ice in a towel. Apply the cold compress to the side of the face the toothache is (make sure to use it on the outside of your face only) and keep it on for at least 20 minutes. Cold causes blood vessels to restrict, which helps reduce pain.
Clove oil has been used for toothaches and other oral health conditions for hundreds of years. When refined, clove oil can contain anywhere from 80 to 90 percent eugenol, a chemical that has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant activity. Additionally, eugenol has gentle local anesthetic and antiseptic properties. Together, these properties can reduce pain and inflammation associated with a toothache.
Before applying clove oil, it’s important to dilute it with another oil such as olive, coconut, or canola oil. NEVER put undiluted clove oil in your mouth as it can lead to toxicity. Dab a cotton ball in the oil mixture and apply it to the sore tooth for a couple of minutes. You may feel a warming sensation, which is normal, followed by numbing. Note: It’s always a good idea to check with your dentist before trying any natural remedy for a toothache.
Over-the-counter (OTC) topical anesthetics
If at-home remedies are not helping with the pain, it may be a good idea to try an OTC topical anesthetic to numb the area. Popular options that can be found at nearly any supermarket include Orajel or Anbesol. Topical anesthetics usually contain lidocaine or benzocaine that are applied directly to the gums and help numb tooth pain.
OTC pain relievers
If tooth pain becomes too uncomfortable before you can see a dentist, using an OTC pain reliever may be a great option for you. Dentists recommend ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, or acetaminophen for toothaches in most cases. As always, it’s important to consider side effects, drug interactions, and allergies before taking any pain medication. Be sure to talk with your dentist or doctor to help select the right option for you.
When to see a dentist for a toothache
It’s a good idea to see a dentist for any toothache that lasts more than a day or two. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms with your toothache, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible:
- Abnormally red gums
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Pus or discharge in the mouth
These symptoms may indicate a more serious problem such as a dental abscess or infection that needs to be treated in office. To learn more about common oral health problems, check out this blog.