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Toothache!  You might have experienced it sometime in your life and no matter how tough one is, it is one of the most excruciating pain any man can endure. Add to it the inability to chew food, restlessness and lack of sleep and the condition becomes more than just a little bit of discomfort.

Interestingly, it is not one or two reasons which can produce pain in and around your teeth. There could be a variety of reasons for it including cavities, infection, tooth mobility, gum infection around the tooth and underlying bone diseases. Any of them could manifest in the form of pain. Moreover, facial sinus infection or neuropathic pain can also appear in the form of a toothache.

The pain arising from teeth can be felt differently in different conditions depending upon the cause. Sometimes, you might perceive a continuous or intermittent pain, spontaneous or gradual increase in pain, mild, moderate or severe pain, shooting, lancinating or throbbing pain. In any case, understanding the seriousness of the situation, prompt intervention should be administered.

So, the best way to get rid of an excruciating toothache is by visiting your dentist. But more often than not a toothache appears when you are least likely to be able to see a dentist. It usually has a tendency to worsen at nights too. Surely you can’t just sit and endure the pain overnight, would you? Well, you don’t need to. Using some effective home remedies you can easily subside your toothache till the time you visit a dentist.

This article contains every effective remedy you can take at home to feel better. However, in cases of severe pain, you should seek a doctor's consultation.

Without further ado, let's get started:

  1. How to relieve toothache
  2. Home remedies for toothache

Before getting to various home remedies, you should know that there are certain things that you can do for immediate relief from toothache. Also, there are some things that may lead to exacerbation of pain. Read on to find what these are and how can they help you in providing respite from your discomfort: 

  1. What to do for a toothache
  2. What not to do for a toothache

What to do for a toothache

Salt water gargling
Gargling with warm water mixed with a pinch of salt will certainly help you to a certain extent in terms of alleviating pain, especially when it occurs due to gum issues. Salt tends to decrease the microbial load in the oral cavity along with a reduction in gum swelling due to its hypertonicity. Thus, it offers immediate relief. Also, it helps in quickening the healing process in the oral mucosa.

How to use salt water? Follow these simple steps:

  • Take 1 cup of warm water, add 1 teaspoon of salt into it
  • Mix it well so that salt gets dissolved in the water
  • Take a mouthful of salt water, swish it in your mouth for a few seconds
  • Spit the water ot

Tips: Children should not be allowed to do salt water gargling, as they can swallow the water when unsupervised.

Brush your teeth twice a day
Some of you might be thinking that brushing aggravates the tooth pain by poking sensitive areas. However, that's not the case. Brushing is mandatory even when you are suffering from toothache. Here is why?

When you brush:

  • You will be cleaning the teeth and oral cavity, keeping it safe from infection and cavities
  • Secondly, sometimes a cavitated tooth loading food particles cause pain, when you brush, these food particles will come out of the cavity, providing you with the much-needed relief

Eat soft foods
While suffering from a toothache, try eating soft and easily chewable foods. This should prevent extra burden or load over the aching tooth while at the same time providing you with the energy for your daily activities. Opt for mashed potatoes or bananas, soften your bread by dipping it in milk or you can always treat yourself with milkshakes and smoothies. Just make sure that you are eating healthy. Don’t want to manifest another health condition now, do you?

Cold compression
Ice application is one of the best ways to relieve any kind of pain. In case of a toothache, cold compression on the aching jaw might give you the short term relief you are craving for. It will numb the area of application, thereby helping in pain reduction for a while.

  • Take a few ice cubes and wrap them in a cloth
  • Apply the pack on the side of the aching jaw externally for few minutes
  • Repeat its application 3 to 4 times a day until your dentist appointment

Sleep with your head high
Toothaches usually worsen at night, especially while you are in a lying position. Have you ever wondered why? This is because, as you rest flat on the bed, blood supply to the aching tooth increases, as a result, it'll lead to exacerbation of pain.

To avoid this condition, take help of a  few pillows to hold your head high while lying in bed and avoid lying flat on the bed.

Pain relief medication
In case the pain becomes irresistible, take a painkiller until you get the needed dental procedure. However, if you have certain disease conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease or altered kidney functions, consult a physician before taking painkillers randomly and indiscriminately.

What not to do for a toothache

  • Avoid sweet, hot and cold foods or drinks: While having a toothache, avoid drinking or eating extremely hot or cold drinks or foods. These foods might act as stimulants for a sudden hike in the pain threshold leading you to a more distressing situation.
  • Don’t smoke: If you have a habit of smoking, quit or cut down smoking while the tooth pain persists, as it may aggravate the severity of the pain. (Read more: Disadvantages of smoking and benefits of quitting smoking)
  • Don't put your hand over swelling: If the aching tooth is accompanied with external swelling, avoid placing your hand over the swollen area continually. It doesn't help in reducing the pain or swelling, instead, it might worsen the condition by spreading the infection.

Now that you know about the necessary precautions and prescriptions, let us dive into the options of home remedies. Although you cannot completely get relief from toothache by using home remedies, they can help in providing relief and manage your pain better. Mentioned below are a few home remedies that have shown promising results:

  1. Clove/Clove oil for toothache
  2. Guava for toothache
  3. Garlic for toothache
  4. Eucalyptus oil/ leaves for toothache
  5. Long pepper for toothache
  6. Sunflower leaves for toothache
  7. Sweet potato for toothache

Clove/Clove oil for toothache

Clove is a common kitchen spice found in every Indian household. It is one of the most well-known remedies for toothache. Studies indicate that cloves contain an active compound known as eugenol which has potent analgesic or pain killing effects. A clinical study published in the Journal of Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontics, suggested that clove oil gel is as effective in relieving a toothache as some topical anaesthetics. So, if your toothache suddenly occurs at night and doesn’t subside with a salt water gargle, clove oil could be your best bet.

How you can use clove oil? Here are the steps:

Ingredients:

  • 1 or 2 clove buds
  • A cotton ball
  • Or 1 or 2 drops of  eugenol (clove oil)

Procedure:

  • Take a tiny cotton ball dipped in clove oil
  • Put it on the aching tooth for 10 minutes then dispose of it
  • If you don't have clove oil, bite clove bud with the aching tooth for few minutes for quick and ultimate relief

Tips:

  • If you are using clove oil, don't swallow the oil, it is meant for external use only
  • Avoid contact with eyes, bare oral mucosa. In case of contact, rinse the area with cold water
  • If you are allergic to eugenol, don't use it as a remedy
  • Don't use clove or clove oil for more than 7 days to suppress toothache, rather contact a dentist for definitive treatment

Guava for toothache

You might be aware of the fact that a large Indian population resides in villages which lack primary health care and the only source of instant relief are home remedies. In these villages, guava leaves are widely used to treat oral and dental infections as well as mouth ulcers. Surprisingly, guava leaves can help you getting appreciable relief from shooting pains arising from your tooth. Though it does not have an analgesic action like clove, it has been found to be effective in suppressing the growth of some oral pathogens.  You can also make use of guava leaves to get rid of dental pain in the following ways:

Ingredients:

  • 2 guava twigs
  • or 4 guava leaves

Procedure:

  • Simply wash the leaves or twigs and chew in order to get the juice out of it and make it work on the affected tooth.

Another way is to gargle with water infused with guava leaves  in the following way:

  • Boil 1 cup of water with a handful of guava leaves and twigs
  • Once leaves release their juice into the boiling water, switch off the heat and gargle with the medicinal pain relieving water

Garlic for toothache

This pungent smelling bulb can be a lifesaver for you when you are dying from lancinating pain from the dental origin. Garlic has been used as a folk medicine to treat several illnesses including toothache. Allicin is the main bioactive compound responsible for most of its pharmacological actions. However, garlic juice can be harsh on your oral mucosa and can result in a chemical burn, so you need to be very cautious while using garlic for aching tooth. Here is how you can safely use garlic to get rid of toothache:

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove of garlic

Procedure:

  • Crush the garlic clove finely
  • Apply it to the affected tooth precisely, avoiding contact with the oral mucosa
  • Leave it for a few minutes before spitting it out

Eucalyptus oil/ leaves for toothache

Eucalyptus tree possesses several health care benefits and is traditionally used for providing relief from toothache. Gargling with water infused with extracts of eucalyptus leaves will not only give substantial relief from a toothache, but it will also alleviate pain originating from the temporomandibular joint as well as treat bad breath. If finding eucalyptus tree leaves is not possible, you can use eucalyptus oil instead. Here is an easy way to use this aromatic plant for toothache relief:

  • Take few leaves of eucalyptus, boil it in a cup of water and gargle once it cools down to a bearable temperature
  • Another way is to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil into lukewarm water  Gargle with the solution, repeat few times a day to get adequate relief from pain and discomfort

(Read more: Eucalyptus oil benefits and side effects)

Long pepper for toothache

Long pepper is also widely known as Indian long pepper or pipli. Traditionally, it is used for both pharmacological as well as culinary purposes. The dried form of long pepper is used as a spice or seasoning. Long pepper has been used as a mouthwash to get relief from toothache and candidal infection (fungal infection). To make the best use of long pepper, use it in the following ways:

  • You can simply take a long pepper and bite it with the aching tooth to get relief from pain
  • Another way is to gargle with long pepper infused water, boil 1 cup of water with 4 to 5 long pepper
  • Gargle with the solution to slow the inflammatory response

Sunflower leaves for toothache

Have you ever thought sunflower leaves can be a home remedy for dental pain? Well, it is. Studies indicate, gargling with sunflower leaves is a powerful remedy to reduce the intensity of toothache. If you have sunflower growing nearby, rush to get few leaves and use it in the following way to get much-needed relief:

  • Boil few levels of sunflower with 1 cup of water
  • When the water starts changing colour switch the heat off
  • Gargle with the hot solution to get relief from tooth pain

Sweet potato for toothache

Sweet potato is also a very common and popular item found in an Indian household and can be used in several forms to satisfy the appetite and obtain satiety. Moreover, sweet potato leaves can also be used to attenuate dental pain. Studies suggest, sweet potato leaves provide relief from acute toothache and slows down the underlying inflammatory process. Rural parts of India have wide cultivation of sweet potato and its leaves are not hard to find. If you are someone who is keen to use a home remedy to ease dental pain, make use of sweet potato leaves in the following ways:

  • Take a few leaves of sweet potato
  • Make a paste out of it
  • Apply the paste on the concerned tooth directly and wait for few minutes for its action to be triggered
  • Rinse the mouth thoroughly afterwards
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