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10 at-home toothache remedies

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We’ve all been there. We take a sip of something cold or bite into something ultra sweet, and the shooting pain is immediate and unbearable. All at once, it feels like someone has punched us in the jaw.

Toothaches can be debilitating and worrisome. If you’re anything like me, your teeth are sensitive to the slightest of temperature changes or surges of sugar.

Of course, above all else, if you have a tooth bothering you, do be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

But scheduling time to see a dentist can be difficult, and finances are often a concern. I no longer have insurance, and it's been quite the adjustment.

All that to say, the below remedies may provide you with temporary relief while you wait to be seen by your oral healthcare professional.

Here are 10 at-home toothache remedies.


1. Clove oil

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If you have fairly intense pain, and you know the tooth causing it, try applying clove oil. Cloves contain a natural numbing agent known as eugenol, which when applied to the tender area can provide temporary relief.

Apply a few drops of clove oil to a cotton ball, then rub on the affected area. Do use caution and avoid placing the oil on other areas of the mouth to avoid numbing them as well.

2. Peppermint tea bags

Peppermint also has the ability to inhibit pain receptors, hence why you may have applied peppermint oil to your temples to ease an intense migraine.

Experts suggest putting your cooled teabags into the freezer for a few minutes to add to the soothing cooling effect (if you’re not too sensitive to the cold.)

3. Salt Water

Depending on what is causing your toothache, the antimicrobial properties of saltwater may alleviate your pain. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water and swish around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds. Repeat this as many times as necessary.

If there is an active infection, salt is safe and natural and can help clear the mouth of harmful bacteria.

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4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide encourages healing, acts as an antiseptic, and can relieve some pain. Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water, and toss around in your mouth, focusing on the affected area.

Do be sure to proceed with caution, as it is very important not to accidentally swallow the hydrogen peroxide. You may laugh, but stranger things have happened.

5. Bourbon + Cotton Balls

There is a reason you feel less pain when you’ve had a couple of drinks.

If you’re able to drink legally, soak a cotton ball in bourbon and place it on the sore tooth. Be sure to rinse your mouth out well afterward so as not to irritate the tooth and cause more discomfort.

6. Garlic

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Garlic has been used for centuries as a cure for common colds, skin irritations, and even toothaches. Due to its antibiotic properties, garlic has the ability to stop harmful bacteria in its tracks and prevent a possible infection from getting worse.

Combine a mashed clove of garlic with a pinch of salt and apply to the affected area. You should see results in just a few short days if your pain stems from an infection. If the pain is being caused by something else, you’ll know rather quickly because the garlic remedy won’t provide relief.

7. Vanilla Extract

Like most alcohols, pure vanilla extract has been known to have a temporary numbing effect.

It is important to note that only pure vanilla extract will work; artificial and imitation varieties will likely not be as effective.

Rub a small amount on the sensitive tooth two to three times daily while you wait to be seen by your dentist.

8. Onion

Like their cuisine counterpart garlic, onions have antibacterial properties which can contribute to temporary pain relief.

Simply chew on a piece of raw onion or rub a piece on the sore tooth – if you can handle it.

Once again, if your pain doesn’t subside after a few days, your pain is likely being caused by something other than a bacterial infection and should be checked up on by your dentist.

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9. Guava

Guava leaves act as an anti-inflammatory and has an analgesic effect. Simply chew on the raw leaves or boil them into a mouthwash and add a little salt to feel their full benefits.

10. Cold Compress

If all else fails, try a cold compress.

Ice packs and other forms of cold have been used for hundreds of years both for their cooling effect and for their ability to reduce inflammation.

If the toothache is particularly intense, try alternating between ice and hot every 15 minutes.

It is crucial to remember that these remedies do not replace going to see your dentist, and any pain or discomfort should be taken seriously.


Do you have a sure-fire way to alleviate a toothache? Let us know in the comments below!

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