A toothache can cause serious pain. Though over-the-counter medications will ease symptoms and some people will choose to go to the dentist to diagnose or alleviate the issue, home remedies can help if you would rather try the natural route.

Clove Oil

Cloves contain eugenol, a natural numbing agent. Using an eyedropper, squeeze one or two clove oil drops onto a cotton ball and apply it to the painful tooth for short-term relief. Try to keep it away from the tongue or other tissues in the mouth, however, as numbing these areas can be uncomfortable.


Peppermint Tea Bags

Peppermint has numbing capabilities, too. Wet tea bags can aid sensitive skin or the tissues surrounding an aching tooth. Apply a cooled tea bag directly to the throbbing spot or freeze the bag for a few minutes for numbing and cooling effects. Leave the bag in place for up to 20 minutes to get the most out of this remedy.


Salt Water Treatment

Just like a sore throat or canker sore, salt water can alleviate pain and may even help with healing, depending on what is causing the pain. Mix about a teaspoon of salt into a cup of water, and swish a mouthful around for about 30 seconds. Spit it out and repeat a couple of times. Salt water can also help rid the mouth of problematic bacteria and pus, and it is safe and natural.


Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

Rinsing the mouth with hydrogen peroxide offers healing benefits as well as pain relief. Combine equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water and swish the mixture in your mouth for about 30 seconds. This remedy needs to be carried out with care, however, as it can be dangerous to swallow hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to add no less than an equal part of water to the peroxide -- it's not worth the risk to make a "stronger" solution.


Bourbon-Soaked Cotton Balls

Most alcohols have numbing properties, including bourbon. If you are of legal drinking age, try pouring some liquor onto a cotton ball and applying it to the sore tooth. It won't help the underlying cause but can provide some pain relief. It goes without saying that this remedy should not be given to small children.



Garlic possesses antibiotic characteristics. It can stop bacteria from growing in the mouth and damaging a problematic tooth. Mash a clove of garlic, add a pinch of salt and apply this paste to the tooth. Doing this a couple of times a day will help ease infection in a tooth. If the pain is caused by something else, such as issues with the temporomandibular joint, however, this remedy will not be of much use.


Vanilla Extract

We already know alcohol is a numbing agent, and most vanilla extracts use alcohol to draw out the delicious flavor of this popular bean. Ease a toothache by dabbing a small amount on your finger and rubbing it on the sensitive area. Repeat this method two or three times each day for temporary relief. Use only pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla, which may not be as effective.



Onions have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Not only will these properties help ease the pain temporarily, but they can also kill infection-causing germs. Chewing raw onion or pressing a piece to the painful area can help relieve symptoms for a while, though not everyone can handle the intense taste.


Guava Leaves

Fresh guava leaves have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties, all of which can help relieve pain from a toothache. Chewing the leaves can ease pain, or they can be made into a mouthwash by boiling them with water and salt. Spinach leaves can have a similar effect.


Wheatgrass Juice

Wheatgrass, a popular health drink these days, has antibacterial characteristics that not only assist with toothache pain but will also fight tooth decay. The chlorophyll in wheatgrass can help prevent the growth of bacteria. To use wheatgrass, use the juice as a mouthwash. Chewing fresh grass can have the same effect.


Other Potential Plant Cures

Over 50 types of medicinal plants have been used in traditional therapies for toothache. These plants contain potent phytochemicals that can fight inflammation. Research suggests that many plant components show stronger antioxidant and antibacterial potential than many antibiotics, though they never replace the need to see a doctor. In addition to having your tooth medically inspected, though, if you're short on guava leaves you might try using sweet potato, sunflower, peppermint, or plantain leaves, if you have access to them. Sucking or chewing the leaves for awhile releases their anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and may ease pain for awhile.


Cold Compress

Cold compresses are a common treatment for toothaches because the cold numbs pain and can reduce inflammation and swelling, alleviating tenderness. To make a cold compress, place ice in a bag with a seal. Fill the bag halfway with water and squeeze the air out of the bag while sealing it. Wrap the bag in a towel and place it on the affected area.



Prop Up Your Head at Night

Toothaches often intensify later in the day and during sleep. Elevate your head higher than your body at bedtime to help keep the blood flow from rushing to the aching region. To prop your head, place at least one firm pillow under it. This may reduce pressure on your sore mouth so that you can experience some relief from your pain.

woman sleeping pillows head propped fotostorm / Getty Images


Avoid Trigger Foods

Certain foods can aggravate a toothache and worsen the underlying condition. Hard foods may cause you to put pressure on the affected tooth or teeth, leading to more pain and damage. Exposed root nerves tend to be sensitive to extremely hot or cold foods and beverages, so stay with smooth, mildly flavored items. Acidic and sugary foods also aggravate dental pain by promoting plaque buildup and eroding the hard enamel on the teeth. Steer clear of citrus fruits, sweets, and starchy options that can get trapped between the teeth. It is best to avoid sugar-laden beverage, including natural juices, as well.

citrus fruits Rouzes / Getty Images


Over-the-Counter Medications

If you're looking for natural relief from the symptoms of your toothache, then you're likely searching for something other than medications from the pharmacy. However, if you don't have access to the options listed here, they aren't working for you, or you have allergies that prevent their use, then choosing a mild analgesic such as ibuprofen, which will dull the pain temporarily. Some folk alternatives suggest placing the medication directly against the sore spot, but dentists warn against this, as it can burn the gum tissue. Regardless of the pain-relief methods you try, always speak to a doctor if the toothache persists beyond a few days.

mouth rinse damircudic / Getty Images


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