1. Cold Compresses

It’s not uncommon for your mouth or face to swell up from pain after an injury, procedure, or dental problems. 

This remedy is straightforward but very effective in helping inflammation: hold a cold compress up against your cheek, and you can find relief in no time. The University of Michigan recommends doing 10 minutes with the cold once an hour, but feel free to use it for shorter if it’s too cold.

Not only does cold help swelling and inflammation, but it can also temporarily reduce pain.

Helpful tip: If you don’t have a cold compress handy, you can make one at home by following these steps:

  1. Place ice in a sealable, water-tight bag.

  2. Fill the bag with water and squeeze the air out of it.

  3. Wrap it in a cloth and apply to the affected area.

If no ice is available, try freezing water in a bag, using frozen veggies or placing a damp towel into the freezer.

2. Clove Oil

A natural pain-reliever, clove oil can be useful to keep around to temporarily help with pain or swelling from a toothache. This natural oil works well because it contains eugenol, also found in cinnamon in smaller amounts.

Here’s how it can help a toothache:

  1. Apply a few drops of clove oil to a cotton ball or cotton swab.

  2. Place the cotton ball or swab on the sensitive area of your tooth or gums.

Note that clove oil isn’t a flavor that everyone enjoys, so you might want to sample a drop before using too much!

3. Salt-water Rinses

One of the simplest but still useful tips we recommend is to use a salt-water rinse to provide temporary relief for pain:

  1. Use warm water so the salt will dissolve better but avoid overly hot water, so you don’t further aggravate any sensitive or painful areas.

  2. Pour a few teaspoons of salt into a cup of warm water, rinse and spit.

4. Tea Bag Compress

Having a cup of tea can provide comfort when you’re feeling down, and a tea bag compress can provide comfort from tooth pain. Tea has tannins that act as a natural antiseptic, killing bacteria and easing inflammation; two contributors to tooth pain. 

Set a tea bag in boiling water for 2 minutes. Once it is cooled off (don’t use it hot) place it on the affected area for 20 minutes and repeat as needed. For added relief place the tea bag in the freezer before using. While you can use any type of black tea, you may also want to try peppermint tea bags. The menthol in the peppermint acts as a numbing agent. 

5. Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

A hydrogen peroxide rinse is an effective home remedy for toothache. It attacks harmful oral bacteria, reduces plaque buildup, and helps soothe bleeding gums to ease toothache pain. 

Combine 3% hydrogen peroxide and water in equal measures. Swish it in your mouth for half a minute, and then spit. Never swallow hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after the treatment.

6. Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme essential oil is another effective home remedy for toothache relief. With strong antifungal and antiseptic properties, it can combat the root cause of toothaches.

For pain relief, mix a few drops of thyme essential oil with water and gargle. You many also apply a diluted version straight onto the painful tooth. Be sure not to swallow the rinse and repeat the process as needed.

7. Fresh Ginger

Ginger's antibacterial properties keep plaque and bacterial buildup at bay. Its anti-inflammatory properties can make your next toothache a lot more tolerable.

Bite down on a fresh slice of ginger near the affected tooth. Allow the ginger juice to coat the affected area. Continue chewing for about 5 minutes (It’s okay if you swallow the excess ginger). You should start to feel relief within minutes. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can make a paste using ginger powder and water. Put it on a cotton swab and place it on the sore tooth.

8. Chamomile

Chamomile has anti-inflammatory benefits and may help relieve swelling. The National Institutes of Health notes the herbs efficacy in treating many ailments and recommends external application to halt a toothache. The easiest way to use it may be in tea bag form.

Steep a chamomile tea bag for a few minutes in bowling water. After the tea has cooled off to room temperature, rinse your mouth with the liquid.

9. Vanilla Extract

The same vanilla you use for baking may help relieve your toothache! Vanilla extract contains eugenol, an essential oil which can help numb pain and reduce inflammation. It also has antiseptic properties to help kill bacteria, which is often the culprit behind toothaches.

Apply some vanilla extract to a cotton ball and press it gently on the painful area several times throughout the day.

10. Tooth Pain Medications

We might be cheating a bit for a homemade remedy, but you’re likely to have some over-the-counter medications readily available. Most people keep medicines in their cabinet, or a first-aid kit that provides temporary relief for pain or inflammation will help your toothache.

When taking medications, it’s essential to follow the dosing and application instructions provided on the package.

What Are Ways to Prevent Toothaches?

There are many causes of toothaches, so it can be hard to narrow down without going to a dentist. According to the Cleveland Clinic, tooth decay, abscesses, fractures, damaged fillings, and infections are among the most common causes.

To help prevent many of the most common causes, we recommended that you:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily and floss your teeth once a day.

  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups.

  • Get treatment, like fillings for cavities, as soon as possible.

When Should You See a Dentist?

Keep in mind that while these remedies can work magic for pain and inflammation, they don’t treat the root causes of your symptoms. If you believe you’ve broken a tooth, have a cavity, infection, or other dental problem, be sure to contact a dentist. If you’re experiencing fever, facial swelling, or constant pain and don’t have access to a dentist, visit an emergency room for treatment.

It can be stressful to see a dentist, but they’re experts at treating toothaches and pain. They’re doctors, and they’ve got your back for your dental health.

Don’t be afraid to try these remedies at home, combining some to provide the maximum amount of relief. Cold compresses, clove oil, salt-water rinses, and over-the-counter medication can all work together to temporarily fight pain and inflammation from your toothache.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.


What's behind your smile?

Take our Oral Health assessment to get the most from your oral care routine


2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay


What's behind your smile?

Take our Oral Health assessment to get the most from your oral care routine


2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay