A toothache is a little like a headache or a backache, in that it is much more disruptive than many other types of pain. Let's face is most of us can make do with pain in a foot or an arm, but when you get pain in your teeth it can be very hard to handle. It makes it hard to eat, hard to sleep, hard to smile and hard to do any of the things that you probably enjoy. It’s always there at the back of your mind – or maybe at the front – and in some cases can be excruciating.
But you don’t need to suffer in silence. Thankfully, there are a number of different home remedies for toothaches that you can use right away and that you probably already have around the home. Read on and let’s put that tooth pain to rest!
One of the simplest and most effective home remedies for toothaches is simply to apply a warm compress to the side of the face which can not only help to soothe the pain but will also encourage blood flow to the region.
Don’t happen to have a jaw-shaped hot water bottle? Then why not try making a ‘rice sock’. To do so, take a sock, fill it with rice and then tie a knot at the top. You can now put this in the microwave on a low heat and the rice will absorb and hold on to that warmth. Then, when you apply the sock to your face, you should feel that it offers a comforting and warming relief.
Just make sure not to make the compress too warm! If the pain is caused by a sensitive tooth or exposed root, then extreme temperatures can actually exacerbate the issue rather than address it.
Another option is to use a small ice cube applied directly to the tooth inside a bag wrapped in tissue, or through the cheek. This can work by numbing the nerves to reduce the pain but it can also cause a fair amount of pain itself depending on the nature of your toothache. It’s also important to ensure you don’t touch the ice directly onto the tooth or gum and that you stop after ten minutes – otherwise it can cause nerve damage.
Garlic is one of the most potent home remedies for toothache as well as one of the best all-round health panaceas that can do everything from killing bacteria to improving circulation. Too bad it doesn’t do much for your breath…
It’s this antibiotic effect that can make garlic effective in treating tooth pain. It won’t offer immediate relief but what it can do is to help kill off the germs over time and thereby reduce the discomfort in the long-haul. To use it, chop one garlic clove nice and finely and then let it sit for a while to release the allicin (the active ingredient). Apply just a small amount onto the affected area but don’t use too much as it can burn! Leave for a few minutes and then rinse. You’ll need to do this regularly in order to feel the effects.
If we’re talking about disinfecting the area though, then few things will be more effective than simply rinsing with a saline solution. Salt is very effective at disinfecting an area and will also have a numbing effect, especially when mixed with mildly warm water.
Simply take a warm glass of water, add a pinch of salt and then swill. This is recommended for anyone with a cut on the inside of their mouth also as a way to prevent infection.
Make a paste out of powdered ginger and red cayenne pepper by pouring the two ingredients into the bottom of a cup and adding a drop or two of water. Roll a ball of cotton and then dab onto the area.
This works because ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and this can reduce redness and irritation. Meanwhile, the pepper will warm the area and encourage blood flow to help with healing.
If you’re feeling under the weather, then a nice cup of tea will often help to soothe and make you feel a bit better. Choosing peppermint tea is the savvy choice in particular though as this has numbing benefits thanks to the mint. Put a teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves into a cup of boiling water and steep for 20 minutes. Drink at a warm temperature.
Another way that you can use tea to address the problem, is by lying a warm, damp tea bag on the affected tooth or gum. This doesn’t have much logic behind it but it is a folk remedy that at the very least should offer some soothing relief. And it’s certainly possible that the astringent tannins found in black tea are going to work!
Look, it’s not terribly scientific, but it also can’t hurt and if you’re in serious pain then I’m sure you’re willing to try anything. Take your thumb and press it into the point on the back of your other hand where your thumb and index finger meet. Apply the pressure here for two minutes. According to some very dubious scientific explanation, this might help to release feel-good hormones and endorphins (like serotonin) which are the brain’s natural pain killers.
Speaking of which, one of the best ways to reduce any kind of pain is simply to distract yourself. Try watching a funny film, going for a walk or chatting with friends to take your mind off of it. Meanwhile, it’s also a good idea to switch to a soft bristled toothbrush while you wait for the pain to subside as this can help a lot. While these remedies might offer some light relief though, it’s always advisable to visit your doctor if the pain doesn’t go away permanently on its own as it could be a sign of decay or other more serious problems.