Evidence-Based Home Remedies for Toothache Evidence-Based Home Remedies for Toothache
Evidence-Based Home Remedies for Toothache

Evidence-Based Home Remedies for Toothache

Experiencing toothache is usually discomforting, and it affects the quality of life. Although a dentist is the right person to consult when you have a toothache, there are several home remedies which can temporarily relieve the pain.

These home toothache remedies have worked for several persons in the past. Depending on the cause of the toothache, some home remedies may work better than others. An example is if you have a toothache due to exposure of nerve, clove essential oil or a numbing gel will help relieve the pain. However, if you have tooth abscess resulting from untreated tooth decay, you can use an over-the-counter pain relief medication like ibuprofen to help with the pain.

The following are some of the most effective home toothache remedies.

  • Saltwater rinse
  • Guava leaves
  • Painkillers
  • Cold compress  
  • Benzocaine
  • Peppermint tea
  • Clove oil
  • Wheatgrass juice
  • Knotted floss
  • Elevation
  • Acupuncture/acupressure

Ensure you contact your dentist if the pain from the toothache is severe, you experience the pain alongside other symptoms, or the pain lasts for more than two days.

Saltwater rinse

This is one of the most effective ways to relieve toothache pain at home. To use a saltwater rinse:

  • Get a warm glass of water, try not to use boiling water
  • Put a tablespoon of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Keep adding the salt gradually until it does not dissolve again
  • Garglethe saltwater in your mouth for about 30 – 60 seconds
  • Do this 4 – 5 times every day

Saltwater rinse is usually more effective if the pain is a result of gum pain or response of the gum due to a foreign substance stick between the gum.

Guava leaves

Research has shown that guava leaves have the potential to alleviate dental pain because it has a bacteria-killing property. Guava leaves may also minimise inflammation which may result in sore throat.

To use guava leaves for your toothache, chew the leaves or boil them with water to make your DIY mouthwash.


Several over-the-counter painkillers can alleviate the pain resulting from toothache and other dental issues. The pain killers include the following.

  • Acetaminophen (paracetamol, Tylenol)
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (Advil)

In most cases, ibuprofen is more effective for toothache than acetaminophen. Reports from some clinical trials show that the combination of Tylenol and Advil may be more effective. However, the dentist has to recommend this combination.

Generally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are more effective for relieving dental pain. Ensure that painkillers for toothache are only a short term treatment option. If you need a more effective pain relief medication, your dentist has to prescribe it and other medications like antibiotics before you visit the dental clinic for treatment like in the case of tooth abscess.

Cold compress  

You can reduce the pain from toothache by using a cold compress. The compress helps in the constriction of blood vessels, and this aids sleeping. You can use a plastic Ziploc bag containing water and ice in equal proportion or frozen peas. This helps to reduce the gum swelling and keep the affected area cold.

Some people use a Ziploc bag with freeze corn syrup because it doesn’t get as hard as ice. You may also decide to use a wrap to apply the ice on the affected area as this prevents you from holding the ice up to your face.


Benzocaine is an immediate tooth pain relieve anaesthetic and studies have shown that 20% of benzocaine gel is an effective pain relief medication. The effect of this topical anaesthetic usually wears off after about two hours, so you need to keep reapplying it.

Some known brands of benzocaine products are:

  • Benzodent
  • Orajel
  • DentaTek
  • Anbesol

Most people do not experience any side effect from using benzocaine but ensure that you do not use it for more two days consecutively without your dentist’s recommendation. For children below two years, benzocaine may cause impairment of blood oxygen levels although, this rarely happens.

Ensure that you do not use any benzocaine product for a child still teething or below two years.

Peppermint tea

Research shows that peppermint tea contains antibacterial and antioxidant properties which helps to numb pain. Brew a cup of the peppermint tea, then let it cool.
Swish the tea in your mouth, then add ice for it to cool down or you can press a peppermint tea bag that has cooled against the affected area.

Clove oil

Clove oil helps relieve pain, and it is as effective as benzocaine. To use this essential oil to relieve your toothache pain, apply the oil on a small cotton swab, then gently apply the cotton swab on the aching area.

This treatment usually works for people with irritated or exposed tooth nerve. This problem mostly occurs when a deep cavity inside the tooth is exposed or when a dental filling falls out.

Ensure that you place the clove oil correctly because the oil is most effective if you place it close to the pulpal tissue (the substance inside the tooth). Note that, clove oil’s active ingredient is eugenol which occurs naturally in nature. However, the synthetic form of the eugenol may have some safety concerns, so ensure you use a high-quality clove oil

The antibacterial property of clove oil makes it effective in killing bacteria in the mouth, but this may lead to an imbalance in your oral microbiome, so try not to use clove oil for along time,

Wheatgrass juice

If you want to use wheatgrass juice to relieve your toothache pain, swish the juice from the wheatgrass in your mouth. Wheatgrass juice may not be as effective as other home remedies, and there is no evidence to support the effectiveness of wheatgrass juice.

Knotted floss

If you are experiencing toothache because you have food stuck between your teeth, flossing with a knotted floss can help remove the stock food, and this may relieve you immediately.

The best way to do this is to find the exact source of the pain before using the piece of knotted floss.


If you are experiencing pain due to toothache, you should try lifting your head above your heart as this helps to reduce the excessive flow of blood to the affected area which relieves the pain and decreases the swelling.

If you experience toothache while sleeping, ensure your head remains elevated by using a wedge-shaped pillow. Alternatively, stack some standard pillows to elevate your head.


These natural remedies are scientifically proven to alleviate toothache pain. Reports from several clinical trials show that acupuncture/acupressure does the following.

  • Relieves toothache due to tooth nerve pain
  • Improves response to pain
  • Reduces toothache pain
  • Reduce mouth inflammation
  • Serves as anaesthetics during dental procedures
  • Relieves pain due to TMJ
  • Relieves pain occurring after extraction of wisdom tooth
  • Improves production of saliva to prevent dry mouth which causes cavities

Home toothache remedies to avoid

Some home toothache remedies may relieve the pain but may lead to other dental problems, so it is important to avoid these remedies.
You may want to avoid the following to relieve your toothache pain.

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Vanilla extract
  • Aspirin directly on the teeth

Causes of toothache

The following are some causes of toothache.

  • Fractured tooth
  • Tooth abscess
  • Lost or damaged fillings
  • Sinus infection
  • Root sensitivity
  • The eruption of wisdom or adult teeth
  • Failed dental work
  • Teeth grinding/bruxism
  • Stuck food between the teeth
  • Cavities/tooth decay

How to reduce toothache at night

  • Rinse your mouth using salt water after you brush your teeth
  • Take a painkiller like an acetaminophen about 30 – 45 minutes before you sleep
  • Use a wedge pillow or stack many pillows to lift your head above your heart
  • Use a mouth tape to reduce breathing through your mouth
  • Use a cold compress or icepack before you sleep
  • If the toothache is severe, apply benzocaine on the affected area before you sleep

Prevention of toothache

  • Have a good dental care routine which involves flossing, brushing, oil pulling and tongue scraping
  • Use a toothpaste containing nano-hydroxyapatite as this helps build your enamel to prevent teeth sensitivity
  • If you are at risk of having toothache due to periodontitis or cavities, consider using an electric toothbrush
  • Ensure your diet is balanced with low-sugar content to prevent tooth decay and accumulation of plaque
  • Prevent dry mouth by using a mouth tape
  • Ensure you attend your regular dental check-ups
  • Do not use your teeth to open packages or any other purpose other than chewing
  • Try not to take a lot of acidic drinks and foods
  • During any physical activity or sports, ensure you wear your mouthguard

When to visit a dentist

Call your dentist if,

  • You experience fever, earache and pain when your mouth is open
  • You can’t swallow or breathe
  • The pain from the acheis severe and interferes with your regular activities
  • You have a face, jaw, or teeth injury
  • You experience daily gum bleeding

If you are experiencing toothache, book an appointment with a dentist at Smile Works Dental clinic near Harley Street to get proper guide and treatment.