14 Reasons Your Tooth Hurts


A toothache might feel dull and achy or sharp and throbbing, but whatever it feels , it can totally throw off your routine. Tooth pain can make it hard to chew, talk, focus, or even sleep at night.

There are many reasons why your teeth might hurt, but all of them are worth a check-in with a dentist, says consumer advisor for the American Dental Association Matthew Messina, DDS, a dentist in Columbus, Ohio. “Pain is not supposed to be there. If something in your mouth doesn’t feel right, make an appointment with a dentist to have it looked at,” he says.

RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Whiter Teeth

Ignoring discomfort just gives the underlying cause time to get worse, and it’s easier to treat tooth pain before it becomes a serious problem, says Manhattan-based prosthodonist Mazen Natour, DMD.

“You don’t want something that could have been fixed very easily with a simple filling to become a big production a root canal or a crown,” says Dr. Natour. Untreated tooth pain, he adds, could eventually even lead to the loss of a tooth.

Is that really worth skipping an appointment?

Check out these 14 reasons your teeth might hurt, and if any of these sound what you're dealing with, talk through your tooth pain symptoms with your dentist.

You have a cavity

A cavity is a hole in a tooth caused by decay that eats away at the hard outer surface of your teeth, called enamel.

At first, cavities might not cause any symptoms, but they can eventually lead to a toothache, especially if the cavity gets very large and close to the nerves inside the teeth, Dr. Natour says.

Painful cavities are the leading cause of toothache complaints in his practice, he says, but he wishes patients would come complaining even earlier. “The patient has usually felt something maybe several months ago but ignored it, and now the pain is really unbearable,” he says.

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Severe cavities typically cause sharp pain that’s bad enough to wake you up when you’re asleep, and the pain often gets worse when you lie down, Dr. Natour says.

Small cavities can usually be filled easily and forgotten about, but when a patient comes in with nearly unbearable pain, a dentist may be left with few treatment options other than a root canal, a treatment to clean out the roots of a tooth, he adds.

You exercise—a lot

Exercise is great for your body (and mind!), but could it be hurting your teeth? Maybe, suggests a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

Researchers found that triathletes who did endurance training had a greater risk for tooth erosion (a loss of enamel due to acid on the teeth) compared to people who didn't exercise.

And the longer they worked out each week, the more ly they were to have multiple cavities. Dentists suspect it might have something to do with saliva—or a lack thereof.

“Saliva is more than 90% water, and you breathe it out through your mouth,” says Gigi Meinecke, DMD, a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry.

“Any time your mouth is dry, you put yourself at risk for cavities because bacteria thrive vigorously in that environment.

” That could be a problem if you often do long, intense sweat sessions where you breathe heavily and don't hydrate enough or don't replenish fluids lost afterward.

Your filling fell out

A cavity filling can fall out if too much force is applied to the area, or the material breaks down, Dr. Meinecke says. Decay around or under a filling can also cause breakage. Some patients may not even feel something missing until they bite down.

“Food can get pushed into the area as they chew,” she says. “The space can start packing food where the filling left a void and cause pressure.” The area could also be sensitive to temperature until it's fixed.

Be sure to see your dentist right away to patch it up.

RELATED: Best and Worst Food for Your Teeth

You have an abscess

That kernel of popcorn that got stuck in your teeth at the movies could come back to haunt you. When particles of food are jammed between your teeth and you keep chewing, you essentially push the food farther into the gums, Dr. Natour says.

“Over time, this creates inflammation and pain,” he says, and it can even produce a pocket of space called an abscess along the gum line, where lingering food and debris decays, breeding infection. You might notice swelling and even pus at the site of an abscess.

The sooner you get one treated the better, as an untreated abscess can lead to gum disease. Here's our friendly reminder: floss daily.

You fractured a tooth

Your toothache could be caused by a crack or a break in a tooth. “Usually it’s not the whole tooth, but a piece,” Dr. Natour says, and more often than not, biting on something hard caused the break. “If it’s not separated completely and moving when you bite, that will create pain,” he says.

Depending on the severity of the break, you may need a crown, a cap that covers a broken tooth, or an implant to replace a severely damaged tooth, he says.

Your wisdom teeth are coming in

If you still have your wisdom teeth and they’re trying to emerge from your gums in an awkward position or without enough space, you’ll definitely experience some tooth pain, Dr. Natour says.

Once they poke through, you have a higher risk of painful inflammation or infection in the gums, especially because those wisdom teeth are hard to reach with your toothbrush and floss.

“Patients are in pain and discomfort, but the pain is probably not as sharp as it can be for a severe cavity,” he says.

RELATED: 5 Teeth Whitening Kits for a Brighter Smile

Many people benefit from having their wisdom teeth removed, while for others the procedure may be unnecessary or even risky, depending on the positioning of the wisdom teeth, he says. If wisdom teeth are causing your pain, try some ibuprofen, then talk to your dentist about your options.

You grind your teeth at night

Most nighttime grinders don't even realize they're doing it. “People who grind suddenly bite down and get a lightning bolt of pain,” Dr. Meinecke says. Teeth grinding is also associated with symptoms headaches, pain in the facial muscles, and a stiff jaw, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Grinding can even lead to broken teeth, Dr. Meinecke says. While some patients may be instructed to wear night guards, those aren't always effective. “People can wake up next to it and not even know it was pulled out,” she says.

In that case, Botox might be a good option. (Really.) It can stop the muscle that moves your jaw from generating the same amount of force, Dr. Meinecke says.

Many dentists are trained to administer Botox, which should be given every three to four months.

You clench your jaw when you're stressed

Even if you’re not a nighttime grinder, you could still be clenching your teeth during the day without realizing it. It’s such a common stress response, dentists know how to help patients by teaching them relaxation techniques, Dr. Messina says.

“Something as simple as taking a deep breath, dragging the fingers down the sides of the face, then taking another deep breath helps trigger the body to learn to relax and helps the muscles of the face relax,” he says.

Tooth pain from grinding or clenching will hurt all over, or at least all of one side of the jaw, rather than in a specific tooth, he adds.

RELATED: 8 Tricks That Will Help You Really, Truly Relax

You have a TMJ disorder

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which connects the side of your head and your jaw and allows you to yawn, chew, and talk. Dysfunction or disorder of the joint, called TMD (or sometimes also TMJ), can lead to jaw pain that feels very much a toothache. “The pain might feel similar to grinding or clenching pain, but this is located near the ear,” Dr. Natour says.

One telltale sign of TMJ disorders or TMD is a clicking or popping noise when a patient tries to open their mouth. The pain may go away on its own, or your dentist might recommend icing the sore area.

Un with other painful joints, you can’t immobilize the jaw, Dr. Messina says, but you should “minimize extra-curricular jaw activities” chewing gum if you have TMD.

Some patients may need surgery, although this is rare.

Your gums are receding

Some people with sensitive teeth have gum recession, which has caused the enamel at the gum line to wear away. “It's [the tooth] doesn't have a coat, so it's exposed to all the elements,” Dr. Meinecke says. The pain doesn't linger, but it will pop up every time the tooth hits hot or cold foods or silverware.

RELATED: How to Keep Whitening Toothpastes From Hurting Your Teeth

Most dentists recommend brushing with a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, Sensodyne, but you need to use it exclusively. The toothpaste can help strengthen enamel over time, but you'll disrupt the process if you stop using it, Dr. Meinecke says.

(So take it with you when you travel, too.) Sensitivity, while certainly unpleasant, is different than a toothache, Dr. Natour explains. “It’s usually triggered by something, temperature, and not spontaneous, pain.

” Everyone’s tolerance to hot and cold is a little bit different, he adds.

Your gums are infected

True, a gum infection doesn’t exactly cause pain inside a tooth. But “the body has difficulty differentiating tooth pain from gum pain,” Dr. Messina explains. In the mild form of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red and swollen, causing some discomfort. Usually, regular brushing and flossing can nip this kind of tooth pain in the bud.

Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that creates pockets of space in the gums that become infected, much a tooth abscess.

If you’re experiencing uncomfortable gum swelling, try taking anti-inflammatory pain medicine for the short-term, Dr. Messina advises. “Whatever you’d normally do for a headache is a good first line of defense,” he says.

Your dentist will determine whether you need antibiotics for an infection or additional treatment.

You got hit in the tooth

If a bad hop off a ground ball at your last softball game whacked you in the jaw, you’ll probably know to expect a little tooth pain. But sometimes toothaches come from similar trauma or injury that you might not think twice about, Dr.

Messina says, a fender bender that made you slam your upper teeth against your lower chompers.

“Even if you don’t think you hit your head, if your jaw smacks together, that can cause some injury to the teeth, even if you’re not left with a big bruise or a cut lip that would draw attention to it,” he explains.

RELATED: Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Inside the confined space of each tooth are arteries, veins, and nerves, and injury to the teeth can lead to swelling. “The swelling inside of the hard box of the tooth has nowhere to go,” Dr. Messina says, so the pressure builds up, which your brain interprets as a toothache, he says.

In other cases, you might have tooth pain from wear and tear or injury to ligaments that cushion your jaw when you chew, he says.

Luckily, most mild tooth injuries clear up after a couple of days, as long as you don’t bite anything too hard, he says, but it’s worth a visit to your dentist first so he or she can keep an eye on how your symptoms progress over time.

You had a visit to the orthodontist

Anyone who has had orthodontic work done probably wouldn’t be surprised to find themselves in a little bit of discomfort. And it makes sense that moving the teeth hurts: Essentially, it’s a controlled form of injury or trauma, Dr. Messina says. “The wires put pressure on the ligament in the jaw, which re-contours the bone and allows the teeth to move.”

Anti-inflammatory medications during the first 24 to 48 hours after you have an orthodontic adjustment or pop in a new aligner can usually help alleviate some of the discomfort, but you should also discuss your symptoms with your orthodontist if you’re in a load of pain.

RELATED: 13 Sneaky Causes of Sinus Trouble

You're having a sinus flare-up

If you have an ache in your teeth while nursing a bad cold or around hay fever season, it could be related to your sinuses. “The sinus floor sits right on top of the roof of your teeth,” Dr. Meinecke says. “If the sinuses are full, people usually come in with pain in their upper teeth behind the eye.”

Another common way to tell if the pain is sinus-related: The pain isn't limited to just one tooth. If it's your sinuses, several in the area will be sensitive. Your best bet in this case is to clear up the infection, so you should see a doctor.


Home Remedies for Toothache


Your head pounds, your gums throb, and your mouth is sore and tender. You’ve got a toothache. See your dentist ASAP. In the meantime, use these home remedies to get short-term relief.

Saltwater Rinse

Until you can get to the dentist, one of the best things you can do is swish warm, salty water around in your mouth. A good mix is 1/2 teaspoon table salt to 8 ounces of water. Spit it out, don’t swallow it. You can also gently floss around the sore tooth to remove any bits of food that may be stuck.

OTC Pain Relievers

Dentists suggest acetaminophen for children. For adults, take your pick of over-the-counter medicines, ibuprofen. If you choose aspirin, swallow it — don’t put it right on the tooth or your gums! That folk remedy doesn’t work and might harm the inside of your mouth.

Cold Compress

If your face is swollen, put an ice pack on your cheek. It may help ease the pain, especially if you’ve chipped your chopper or knocked it loose. Swelling could also mean you have an abscess, a sac of pus and gunk deep in the roots of your tooth. This can cause serious infection in your jaw and other teeth. Signs include fever and red gums.

OTC Anesthetics

Apply these pain-relieving gels and liquids directly to the sore tooth and nearby gums. They contain benzocaine, which will numb your mouth for a little while. Beware: They’re meant for short-term use only.


Put some ice in your hand, on the same side of the body as your sore tooth. Rub the ice in the space between your thumb and forefinger for 7 minutes, or until the area turns numb. Why does it work? Researchers believe ice stops pain signals to your brain.

Clove Oil

This natural remedy numbs the pain. Rub it directly on the sore area, or soak a cotton ball and dab it against the tooth and gums. It may be as effective as benzocaine, the numbing ingredient in over-the-counter toothache gels..


When you crush one of these cloves, you release allicin, an oily liquid and natural disease fighter. Will it ease the ache? That’s not clear. But you can try chewing a piece of garlic, or placing chopped bits on your tooth. It’s safe — except, of course, for your breath.

Toothache Plant

With a name that, this might seem a sure bet to ease your symptoms. Different types of this plant grow all over the world, and the oil is an ingredient in many products. But it’s not yet clear if this plant really works to ease dental pain.


American Dental Association: “Dental Emergency.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Handling Dental Emergencies.”

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: “Frequently Asked Questions.”

Academy of General Dentistry: “What Causes Toothache?”

American Dental Association: “Abscess.”

Singh, A. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, April-June 2011.

Mohammad, S. Journal of International Oral Health, November-December 2014.

Bayan, L. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, January-February 2014.

Walsh, L. Australian Dental Journal, 2000.

Paulraj, J. Advances in Pharmacological Sciences, published online Dec. 26, 2013.

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


Toothache Home Remedies, Medicine, Pain Relief, Causes, Cure

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Facts you should know about toothaches

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Toothache home remedies can provide relief for pain, but they are temporary fixes.

A toothache is pain that occurs in or around a tooth. The pain originates from within a tooth or the surrounding gum and bone structures. One usually feels toothache pain as a constant or intermittent ache that does not go away.

Temperature changes, such as exposure to cold drinks or pressure on the tooth while chewing, can stimulate a toothache. In other instances, tooth pain can arise spontaneously without any stimulation.

Odontalgia is another name for a toothache.

It's hard to ignore an aching tooth while eating or going about one's day. Persistent pain urges us to find out how to get rid of a toothache. While bothersome, it is a way for the painful tooth or area to signal that one should seek some attention and care from a dentist before things get worse.

What causes a toothache?

Injury or trauma to the tooth or area usually cause toothaches. Injury is commonly a result of tooth decay (or cavity). People usually feel cavities when they get larger and deeper into the layers of tooth structure. Enamel is the hard, outer layer of tooth, and dentin is the softer layer beneath the enamel.

Dentin is the tooth's sensitive layer with tiny microscopic tubes that originate from the very center of the tooth. The pulp chamber (the center of the tooth) contains the pulp. The pulp is comprised of blood vessels and nerves. If decay gets past enamel into the dentin, the cavity can sometimes cause discomfort.

A deeper cavity that approaches the center of the tooth will ly cause pain since there is more damage to the tooth and there is less tooth structure to insulate and protect the pulp. Localized infection between the gum and tooth (periodontal abscess) can cause toothache.

A traumatic physical blow to a tooth can induce a sore tooth, as well.

Other causes of toothache include the following:

  1. Abscessed tooth: This infection originates from within the tooth and spreads to the root and the surrounding bone.
  2. Damaged or fractured tooth: Fracture of a tooth can expose the sensitive dentin or even the pulp. Sometimes fractures are not obvious even though the fracture line can run deep into the tooth, causing tooth pain every time one puts pressure on it with biting or chewing (called “cracked tooth syndrome”).
  3. Dental work: After getting a filling or crown, the tooth can feel more sensitive. This is especially the case if the removal of tooth decay was large or deep. Dental work, although necessary, can sometimes irritate the nerve. Over time, the sensitivity can resolve if the tooth is healthy enough.
  4. Teeth clenching or grinding: This habit is called bruxism and is oftentimes done unconsciously and at night. Unfortunately, bruxism causes damage to teeth and sometimes irritates the nerves to the point where teeth become sensitive.
  5. Gum infection or gum disease: The periodontium consists of the gum, gum ligament, and bone that surround and anchor the teeth. Early stages of gum problems usually involve inflamed gum, called gingivitis. The gum is usually red, swollen and will bleed easily. A gum problem can progress to include the jawbone surrounding teeth and represents the later stages of gum disease (or “periodontitis”) where there is advanced loss of bone around the teeth. Because of bone loss, a gum abscess (infection) can form in the space that develops between the tooth and the gum, causing pain.
  6. Exposed root surfaces: When the protective bone and gum no longer cover the roots of teeth, these surfaces can be sensitive to stimuli such as brushing the teeth or temperature changes.
  7. Sinusitis: Because the roots of the upper molars are very close to the maxillary sinus cavities, inflammation from the sinus cavities can cause these molars to be sensitive and feel a toothache.
  8. Third molars (“wisdom teeth”): Third molars, also called wisdom teeth, are the very last permanent teeth to appear in the mouth. More often than not, there is not enough space for these molars in the mouth. As a result, third molars become fully or partially trapped (impacted) within the jawbone and below the gum. Because of poor accessibility, it is difficult to properly clean partially exposed third molars; therefore, these areas are susceptible to problems. Problems with third molars can cause dull to severe pain from pressure of eruption, gum infection, or dental decay.

The symptoms of toothache include sharp pain or dull pain in or around a tooth. The most common cause of a toothache is a dental cavity as a result of tooth decay.

  • Dental cavities and toothache can be prevented by proper oral hygiene.
  • Another common cause of toothache is gum disease.
  • Toothache can also be a result of an injury or an abscess of the tooth.
  • Toothache symptoms can be caused by a problem that does not originate from a tooth or the jaw.

Symptoms of toothache can be mimicked by sinus infection, shingles, and other diseases.

Read more about toothache symptoms and causes »

What are toothache symptoms and signs?

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Signs and symptoms that can might indicate a tooth problem are

  • pain with biting or chewing,
  • teeth hypersensitivity to changes in temperature,
  • cheek or gums swelling near tooth,
  • discharge or bleeding of gums,
  • constant throbbing within a tooth.

A toothache can present as a dull or sharp pain that may arise spontaneously on its own or by stimulation.

Additional symptoms may include

  • headache,
  • neck pain,
  • earache,
  • fever,
  • bad taste or odor in the mouth.

How do health care professionals diagnose a toothache?

The dentist performs a series of diagnostic tests along with dental X-rays to determine the origin of a toothache. These tests try to mimic what may be causing the pain, such as cold stimuli, biting or chewing pressure, and finger pressure on the gums.

The response to a cold stimuli test can help in determining whether a tooth is vital (nerve is intact within tooth) or suffering from pulpitis (inflammation of the pulp).

Determining duration and acuity of pain from cold stimuli can help diagnose and determine treatment.

Sometimes, the cause of a toothache may come from somewhere different from where pain is actually felt (called “referred pain”). For these situations, diagnostic tests performed by the dentist are particularly important in accurately detecting the problem.

What causes tooth decay? See Answer

What is the treatment for a toothache?

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Toothache treatment depends on the cause of the pain and how much damage is present. In general, the best way to stop a toothache is for the dentist to remove any present infection or decay and repair the damage to protect exposed, sensitive areas. For a shallow cavity on a tooth, a dentist removes the decay and seals the tooth with a filling.

If the cavity is very deep and gets into the pulp, the dentist performs “root canal treatment” because the pulp has been exposed and infected with bacteria. This procedure essentially removes all the vital contents of the tooth (nerves and blood vessels) and seals the inner aspects of the tooth (root canal system) with an inert filling material.

An abscessed tooth that has very localized infection usually needs root canal treatment with antibiotic therapy. If the infection has become widespread, one may need antibiotic therapy and additional steps to properly drain the infection. Dentists often prescribe pain medications to manage the pain.

Sometimes extraction of the tooth may be the only option for treatment if the tooth or surrounding gum and bone are too damaged.

For a periodontal abscess, a dentist performs a simple drainage procedure under local anesthesia. Additionally, a dentist thoroughly cleans the affected gum pocket to remove any tartar buildup and debris.

Once cleaned, the pocket is irrigated with an antimicrobial rinse containing chlorhexidine. Sometimes, antibiotics are locally administered into the pocket to further aid in healing. Depending on the extent of the abscess, a dentist may prescribe oral antibiotics.

Additionally, for the short-term, a dentist may prescribe chlorhexidine oral rinse as a mouthwash to aid in healing. The area should be kept clean with gentle tooth brushing and warm water rinses.

A follow-up visit is recommended to make sure the infection has completely resolved and develop a plan to properly maintain the area.

For tooth fractures or cracked tooth syndrome situations, dental crown placement is the usual treatment. A crown will replace missing tooth structure and/or it will help protect the weakened tooth from further breakdown and sensitivity.

Are home remedies effective for a toothache?

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Generally, home remedies are only effective as a temporary measure to calm severe tooth pain and are not intended to cure the problem. How does one try to get instant relief without the aid of a dental professional? Oral pain medication will be a key step.

Over-the-counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and are best taken on a schedule to provide pain relief. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is an alternative painkiller.

In some cases, alternating doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen is effective.

The essential oil, clove oil, is a toothache remedy that is actually an ingredient in some sedative dental filling materials. It is a natural home remedy that has a numbing effect and can provide instant relief. Clove oil (eugenol) can be found at the pharmacy. Small amounts of clove oil should be used to the affected area.

Dilute a few drops in a teaspoon of olive oil to avoid burning the mouth tissue. Before application of the diluted clove oil, rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm salt water or warm water to clear any debris from the affected area.

Then, place a small cotton ball soaked with a few drops of the diluted clove oil on the tooth or gum area. Allow a few minutes after application for the numbing effect to take place. Other products that contain benzocaine (including Orajel or Anbesol) can temporarily numb the affected tooth or gums and provide pain relief as well.

If clove oil is not available, plain olive oil can also provide some relief by coating a painful area.

To help a toothache until treatment can be found, one should avoid chewing on the affected tooth/area and minimize extreme temperatures of hot and cold. Keeping the area clean and free of food debris may help as well.

Warm salt water or plain warm water rinses can help soothe the affected area and keep the mouth clean. If swelling of the surrounding gums or tissues is present, immediate treatment with a dentist or physician is advised to avoid the spread of infection.

Home remedies may temporarily alleviate pain but do not to treat infection.

Above all, proper diagnosis and timely treatment by a dentist is strongly advised to effectively treat a toothache.

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How is a toothache treated in pregnancy?

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Dentists can safely perform treatment during pregnancy as long as a few guidelines are followed.

Generally, if dental work is required to treat a toothache, the recommended time for treatment is during the second trimester of pregnancy.

However, if there is a risk of infection or severe pain, dental treatment may need to be performed at any point during a pregnancy.

The obstetrician is consulted on what would be the safest option to avoid any possible complications during dental treatment.

If a dental X-ray is needed, a lead apron is always used for every patient. For a pregnant patient, this is particularly important in protecting the unborn child.

Careful consideration should be made to ensure that any medications that are used are safe during pregnancy.

This applies to local anesthetics administered during dental treatment and antibiotics (such as amoxicillin [Amoxil, Trimox, Moxatag, Larotid]) taken before or after treatment.

Over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen are avoided as these are not considered safe during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is considered safe for pain management.

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What is the prognosis for a toothache?

For the most part, the prognosis is good for a toothache. In this era of modern dental care, dentists can quickly identify the problem and treat it effectively. The outcome is best when toothache is treated as early as possible to avoid further damage or risk of spreading infection.

Is it possible to prevent a toothache?

Conscientious efforts to practice good oral hygiene go a long way in preventing dental problems. Toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste and use of dental floss are essential to good dental care at home.

Furthermore, regular maintenance visits with a dentist can serve to keep things in check. Small cavities can be found before turning into larger cavities or an abscessed tooth.

Gum problems, including periodontal abscess, can be addressed before advancing to a more diseased state.

To keep teeth strong, avoid the habit of chewing on ice or very hard foods that can cause tooth fractures.

Using our teeth as a tool to open a bag of potato chips or cracking open a nutshell increase the chances of a tooth fracture as well.

Minimize high sugar content foods or beverages to decrease the risk of dental decay. Be mindful of acidity in beverages as this can be a source of sensitivity and cavities for teeth.

Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2019


Burgess J. “Pain Management in Dentistry.” Medscape. Oct. 10, 2017. .


4 Homemade Toothache Remedies | Colgate® Oral Care


If a toothache strikes when you can't see your dentist – in the middle of the night – you may feel desperate to relieve the pain. For temporary relief, consider trying one of these homemade toothache remedies.

1. Cold Compresses

If your toothache is associated with swelling, holding a cold compress against the outside of your cheek (20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off) may provide some relief. Cold helps numb the area, which can relieve tooth pain; it also helps reduce swelling and inflammation, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Cold compresses may offer temporary relief and help you fall back asleep, but they won't address the root cause of your toothache. If you have a cavity or another dental problem, it won't get better until you see your dentist.

2. Clove Oil

Clove oil can be used to temporarily reduce pain and swelling associated with a toothache. For this homemade toothache remedy, dip a cotton ball in clove oil and soak up a few drops. Gently rub the cotton ball over the sore area of your tooth and gums.

Clove oil contains eugenol, a natural anesthetic, which is why this remedy works. However, clove oil only helps with the pain of your toothache; it won't cure the underlying problem. Clove oil also tastes bad, so this remedy may be unpleasant to try.

3. Salt Water Rinses

If your tooth hurts and your gums are swollen, rinsing your mouth with warm, salt water may offer some relief. Add a couple teaspoons of salt to a cup of warm water. Swish the mixture around your mouth and then spit it out.

While both hot and cold water can be uncomfortable when you have a toothache, warm water is soothing. The warm water helps ease the pain, and the salt helps to reduce the swelling in your gum tissue. Again, these effects are only temporary.

4. Tooth Pain Medications

To cope with the pain of a toothache, you can take over-the-counter pain medications according to the package directions. It's important that you don't hold the medication against your sore tooth since this can burn the nearby gum tissue and lead to further discomfort.

Pain medications can keep you comfortable while you're waiting for your dentist appointment, but other home remedies, they're not a long-term solution. If you medicate your pain and don't seek treatment, your tooth could get worse.

When to See a Dentist

The American Dental Association recommends having your toothache evaluated immediately by a dentist, so make an appointment right away.

Dentists often leave time slots available for emergency patients, so you may be able to get a same-day appointment.

If you have any symptoms of a tooth abscess – a fever, facial swelling or incessant pain in your tooth – and can't be seen by your dentist, visit the emergency room for treatment.

Toothache Prevention

While several dental conditions can cause toothaches, cavities are the most ly cause. Fortunately, there are many things you can do at home to protect your teeth from cavities.

Brush your teeth twice per day with your Colgate® 360°® Enamel Health™ Sensitive Toothbrush which has extra soft bristles especially for sensitive gums, and remember to floss. It's also important to visit your dentist regularly for checkups.

If you develop a cavity, it can be detected and treated before it gives you a painful toothache.

Homemade toothache remedies can keep you comfortable while you wait for your dentist appointment, but they don't get to the root of the problem.


9 methods to get rid of toothache at night


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A toothache is a painful annoyance, especially at night. Getting a toothache at night can make falling asleep or staying asleep very difficult.

However, there are a number of remedies that may help people find relief and get to sleep, including taking pain relievers or applying a cold compress or even cloves to the tooth.

In this article, learn more about nine home remedies for relieving a toothache at night.

Treating a toothache at night may be more difficult, as there is not much to distract a person from the pain.

However, people can try the following methods to relieve pain:

1. Oral pain medication

Share on PinterestOral pain medication may help treat a toothache at night.

Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) is a quick, simple way for many people to effectively reduce mild-to-moderate toothaches.

Always stay within the recommended dosage on the packaging.

If the toothache is severe, it is best to see a dentist and speak to them about stronger pain relievers.

2. Cold compress

Using a cold compress may help ease the pain of a toothache.

Applying a bag of ice wrapped in a towel to the affected side of the face or jaw helps constrict the blood vessels in the area, which can reduce pain to allow a person to fall asleep.

Applying a cold compress to the area for 15–20 minutes every few hours in the evening may also help prevent pain when going to bed.

3. Elevation

Pooling blood in the head may cause additional pain and inflammation. For some people, elevating the head with an extra pillow or two may relieve the pain enough for them to fall asleep.

4. Medicated ointments

Some medicated ointments may also help reduce toothache pain. OTC numbing gels and ointments that contain ingredients such as benzocaine may numb the area.

However, benzocaine is not suitable for use by young children.

5. Salt water rinse

A simple salt water rinse is a common home remedy for a toothache.

Salt water is a natural antibacterial agent, so it may reduce inflammation. This, in turn, helps protect damaged teeth from infection.

Rinsing with salt water may also help remove any food particles or debris stuck in the teeth or gums.

6. Hydrogen peroxide rinse

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that generally occurs as a result of poor oral hygiene. It can cause issues such as soreness, bleeding gums, and teeth that come loose in their sockets.

The author of a 2016 study found that rinsing with hydrogen peroxide mouthwash helped reduce plaque and symptoms of periodontitis.

People should always dilute food-grade hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water. Swish the solution in the mouth, but do not swallow it.

This remedy is not suitable for children, as there is a risk they may accidentally swallow the mixture.

7. Peppermint tea

Swishing peppermint tea or sucking on peppermint tea bags may also help temporarily relieve pain from a toothache.

Researchers note that peppermint contains antibacterial and antioxidant compounds. Menthol, an active ingredient in peppermint, may also have a mild numbing effect on sensitive areas.

8. Clove

Eugenol, which is one of the main compounds in cloves, can reduce tooth pain. The results of a 2015 clinical trial indicated that people who applied eugenol to their gums and socket after having a tooth extracted had less pain and inflammation during healing.

Eugenol acts as an analgesic, which means that it numbs the area. To use clove for a toothache, soak ground cloves in water to make a paste. Then, apply the paste to the tooth, or put it in an empty tea bag and place it in the mouth.

Alternatively, gently chewing or sucking on a single clove and then allowing it to sit near the painful tooth may help relieve pain.

This is not a suitable remedy for children, as they may swallow too much clove. Single cloves can be spiky and painful if a person swallows them.

9. Garlic

Garlic is a common household ingredient that some people use to relieve toothache pain.

Allicin, which is the main compound in garlic, has a strong antibacterial effect that may help kill the bacteria in the mouth that lead to cavities and tooth pain.

Simply chewing a clove of garlic and allowing it to sit near the tooth may help relieve pain. That said, the taste of raw garlic can be too strong for some people, so this may not be the right solution for everyone.

Tooth decay is a very common cause of a toothache. Tooth decay may lead to cavities if a person does not receive treatment.

Cavities occur when acids and bacteria break through the enamel and eat away at the delicate tissues inside the tooth. This can expose the nerve, causing mild-to-severe pain.

Sinus infections may also cause toothache in some people. This symptom occurs as the infection drains from the head. Symptoms such as pain and pressure from the infection may hurt more at night.

Other potential causes for a toothache include:

Toothaches can be painful in the day, but they may seem to get worse at night.

One reason that this may occur is because when a person is lying down, blood rushes to the head. This extra blood in the area may increase the pain and pressure that people feel from a toothache.

Another reason why many aches feel worse at night is because there are fewer distractions. With little else to focus on but the toothache, a person may find it difficult to fall asleep.

Share on PinterestA dentist may recommend antibiotics if there are any signs of infection within the mouth.

People with a toothache at night should see a dentist as soon as possible. Any home remedies are only for temporary relief.

If the toothache also comes with other signs of an infection, a person may need antibiotics to clear out the infection.

When a cracked or decaying tooth is causing the pain, a person should see their dentist. They will be able to find a permanent solution.

Ignoring the signs of tooth decay, such as an aching tooth, may lead to more serious issues, including abscesses, gum disease, and tooth loss.

Dealing with a toothache is a painful experience. Although many home remedies can provide temporary relief and help a person get some sleep, they are not permanent solutions.

Anyone who experiences a toothache for longer than 1 or 2 days without symptoms of a sinus infection should see a dentist for a full diagnosis and treatment.

They may need to clean out a cavity or consider more serious options, such as root canals or tooth extractions.

Some of the home remedies in this article are available in stores and online:


10 Home Remedies for Toothache


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 to 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.

You may 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.

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

To use this, 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.

To use this, 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.

You can do the following remedies at home, but you may need to source the ingredients. All of the items are available at your local health food store or online. Your mouth, teeth, and gums are ly 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, because the oil can effectively numb pain and reduce inflammation. It contains eugenol, which is a natural antiseptic.

To use this approach, dab a small amount of clove oil onto a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area. You may want to dilute the clove oil with a few drops of a carrier oil, olive oil, or water. Do this a few times per day.

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

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

Wheatgrass has countless healing properties and can work to heal your body from the inside if taken internally. It can relieve inflammation in your mouth and prevent infections. Its high chlorophyll content can also fight bacteria.

To use this, simply use wheatgrass juice as a mouthwash.

If your toothache is severe or is the result of a more serious medical condition, you need to 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

Keep reading: 5 Oral health warning signs »