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If you have a toothache, it’s important to figure out what’s at the root of your discomfort. From there, you can determine how to best relieve any pain, swelling, or other symptoms.

A regular salt water rinse and cold compress application can typically remedy minor irritation, but more serious toothaches may require a dentist’s intervention.

If your symptoms persist for more than a day or two, see your dentist. They can provide guidance on how to relieve your symptoms and prevent future pain.

You should also talk with your dentist before using any of the following remedies if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any medical condition that may be impacted by herbal ingredients.

Keep reading to learn more.

For many people, a salt water rinse is an effective first-line treatment. Salt water is a natural disinfectant, and it can help loosen food particles and debris that may be stuck in between your teeth.

Treating a toothache with salt water can also help reduce inflammation and heal any oral wounds.

To use this approach, mix 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt into a glass of warm water and use it as a mouthwash.

A hydrogen peroxide rinse may also help to relieve pain and inflammation. In addition to killing bacteria, hydrogen peroxide can reduce plaque and heal bleeding gums.

Make sure you properly dilute the hydrogen peroxide. To do this, mix 3-percent hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water, and use it as a mouthwash. Don’t swallow it.

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You can use a cold compress to relieve any pain you’re experiencing, especially if any type of trauma has caused your toothache.

When you apply a cold compress, it causes the blood vessels in the area to constrict. This makes pain less severe. The cold can also reduce any swelling and inflammation.

To use this approach, hold a towel-wrapped bag of ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time. You can repeat this every few hours.

Peppermint tea bags can be used to numb pain and soothe sensitive gums.

Allow a used tea bag to cool down a little before applying it to the affected area. It should still be slightly warm.

You can also use this method to cool, rather than warm, the area. To do this, put a used tea bag in the freezer for a couple of minutes to chill it and then apply the bag to your tooth.

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For thousands of years, garlic has been recognized and used for its medicinal properties. It also has antibacterial properties. Not only can it kill harmful bacteria that cause dental plaque, but it can also act as a pain reliever.

To use garlic on a toothache, crush a garlic clove to create a paste and apply it to the affected area. You may wish to add a tiny bit of salt. Alternatively, you can slowly chew a clove of fresh garlic.

Vanilla extract contains alcohol, which can help to numb pain. Its proven antioxidant properties also make it an effective healer. Just be sure to use real vanilla rather than imitation vanilla.

To use this remedy, dab a small amount of vanilla extract onto your finger or a cotton ball. Apply it directly to the affected area a few times per day.

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You can do the following remedies at home, but you may need to source the ingredients from your local health food store or online.

Your mouth, teeth, and gums are likely sensitive at this time, so it’s especially important to purchase these ingredients from a reputable manufacturer. This can reduce your risk of potential irritation.

Clove has been used to treat toothaches throughout history. The oil can effectively numb pain and reduce inflammation. It contains eugenol, which is a natural antiseptic.

To use this approach, dilute clove oil with a carrier oil, like sunflower or jojoba oil. Use a ratio of about 15 drops of clove oil to one ounce of carrier oil, according to the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy.

Then, dab a small amount of the diluted oil onto a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area a few times a day.

You can also add a drop of clove oil to a small glass of water and make a mouthwash.

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Guava leaves have anti-inflammatory properties that can help heal wounds. They also have antimicrobial activity that can aid in oral care.

To use this remedy, chew on fresh guava leaves or add crushed guava leaves to boiling water to make a mouthwash.

Wheatgrass has countless healing properties, like anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. It contains many nutrients, including a high chlorophyll content, that help to fight bacteria.

You can drink wheatgrass or use it as a mouthwash.

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Thyme also has powerful antibacterial and antioxidant properties that can help to treat toothaches. It can even help fight bacteria that contributes to tooth decay.

To use this, dilute thyme essential oil with a carrier oil, and then apply it to the affected area.

You can also add a drop of the oil to a small glass of water and make a mouthwash.

Shop for thyme essential oil online.

The aptly named toothache plant is a flowering plant that grows in tropical and subtropical regions. Its active compound, spilanthol, has anti-inflammatory properties, according to a 2021 review. It also provides a numbing sensation when chewed.

Though this plant is generally considered safe, you shouldn’t use it if:

  • you’re allergic to plants in the daisy family
  • you drink alcohol
  • you use diuretics
  • you have prostate cancer
  • you’re pregnant

If your toothache is severe or is the result of a more serious medical condition, it’s crucial that you see your dentist so you can treat it properly. Many toothaches will require medical attention. An over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen could help until you see a dentist.

You should also see your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • general pain that lasts more than one or two days
  • swelling
  • pain when you bite
  • abnormally red gums
  • foul-tasting discharge, or pus

What to expect from your dentist

During your appointment, your dentist will examine your mouth. They’ll try to figure out what’s causing your toothache. They may also take an x-ray.

How they treat your toothache will depend on the cause.

A toothache can cause significant discomfort. While it’s important to see a dentist to figure out the root cause of your pain, there are some home remedies, like cold compresses and saltwater rinses, that may help you in the meantime.

Read this article in Spanish.