Toothache is one of the most irritating aches many people experience. It permeates every aspect of life, making basic day-to-day necessities such as eating, drinking, sleeping and relaxing seem out of reach. Toothache refers to pain experienced around the mouth and jaws, and its causes are extremely varied. For clarity, this article will address pain related to teeth specifically as opposed to pain related to the gum, jaws or sinuses.

The best – and only – recommended way of properly treating tooth pain is to make an appointment with a dentist. However, unless the severity of the pain requires emergency dental care, it can seem like a long while to wait for an appointment to come around. Thankfully, there are a number of temporary home or over-the-counter remedies available that can help one deal with tooth pain while waiting for a dental appointment.


  • Painkillers. Common over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or Tylenol can help reduce tooth pain when used as directed. It is important to double-check the instructions if the affected person is a young child.
  • Over-the-counter local anesthetics. These normally come in the form of a gel, such as Orajel, and reduce pain when applied to affected areas due to an ingredient called Benzocaine. There are serious risks associated with benzocaine, which can be found here.
  • Garlic. It contains allicin, a natural antibiotic which can help fight tooth infection. Try crushing it into a paste with salt and applying to the affected area.
  • Clove oil. This can be bought from some supermarkets and health stores. Apply it to a cotton ball and wipe onto affected area. Clove oil contains eugenol, a natural anesthetic.

Note – It is not recommended to apply ice directly to sore teeth in an attempt to numb then. This can make the pain worse. In addition, these are not toothache cures, but may provide temporary relief.

Preventative measures

Once tooth pain has subsided, there are a number of ways to decrease the likelihood of suffering from it again.

  • Clean teeth twice a day. Ideally with toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride helps protect the teeth from acid damage, which is caused by sugars and bacteria.
  • Avoid smoking. It is associated with gum disease, which causes inflammation around teeth and subsequent pain. Additionally, smoking stains the teeth from white to brown.
  • Floss daily. Flossing cleans the gaps in between teeth which may be missed by brushing alone. Food and plaque between teeth could lead to damage if left there.
  • Book regular check-ups. Dentists may determine the frequency of these based on an individual’s dental health, but once every six months is considered the general average.

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