A toothache is a pain in and around the teeth and jaws. Toothache can be caused by an infection, tooth decay, loose or broken fillings, or receding gums can cause it.
If the pain lasts for more than 1 or 2 days, see a dentist to have it treated. Until then, the following simple remedies made from ingredients usually available at home may provide temporary relief from the discomfort.
- Peppermint tea
Peppermint also has numbing properties that can help soothe a toothache. Menthol gives peppermint its minty flavor and smell, is also known to be antibacterial.
Put one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of boiling water and steeped for 20 minutes. Allow it to cool, then swished it around in the mouth and spit out or swallow. A slightly warm, wet tea bag can also be used and held against the tooth for several minutes until the pain reduces.
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You can also put a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place it against the affected tooth for temporary relief.
- Saltwater mouthwash
Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water helps to loosen debris lodged in cavities or between teeth. It may also reduce the swelling and boost healing. To prepare a saltwater rinse, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish around in the mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting out. This process can be repeated as often as needed.
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Over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can provide temporary pain relief for a toothache. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years old.
Garlic has been widely used for medicinal purposes all through history. It contains a compound called allicin, which accounts for its powerful antibacterial properties. Crush a fresh clove of garlic and then mixed with a little salt. Apply the mixture applied to the affected tooth.
5. Cold compress or ice pack
A cold compress or an ice pack can help ease dental pain, especially if a toothache is due to injury or swollen gums. Hold the ice pack or a bag of frozen peas against the outside of the cheek above the painful tooth for a few minutes at a time.
The application of a cold treatment compresses blood vessels, slowing the flow of blood to the affected area. This helps freezes the pain and reduce swelling and inflammation.
Apart from being an effective remedy for bronchitis, chest infections, or whooping cough, thyme has antifungal and antiseptic properties that can be used in treating toothache. One drop of thyme essential oil can be added to a glass of water to make a mouthwash.
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Alternatively, you can sprinkle a few drops of thyme essential oil and water onto a cotton ball. After adding the water, press it against the painful tooth.
- Aloe vera
Aloe vera gel has long been used to heal burns and minor cuts. Some people now use the gel to clean and soothe gums. Studies have shown that aloe vera has natural antibacterial qualities and can destroy germs that cause tooth decay. The gel should be applied to the painful area of the mouth and gently massaged.
- Hydrogen peroxide rinse
Mouth rinse with hydrogen peroxide solution is also an effective antibacterial mouthwash, especially if a toothache is caused by an infection. Hydrogen peroxide can be harmful if swallowed so great care must be taken when rinsing.
It should be mixed in equal parts of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water and swished in the mouth for about 30 seconds. After spitting it out, the mouth should be rinsed several times with plain water. Avoid using this remedy for children.
When to see a dentist
These home remedies are meant to provide temporary relief. So it is essential to seek immediate treatment from a dentist once a toothache lasts for more than a day or two.
If dental pain is not treated straight away, it might worsen, leading to more serious problems, such as dental abscess or a gum disease. An abscess is caused when bacteria infect the innermost part of the tooth called a dental pulp.