How to Tackle a Toothache at Home

A toothache can feel a whole lot more serious than its name implies. Often, a problem with your tooth can lead to pounding headaches, dizziness, a painful face, and general body weakness. So you could definitely say that it has an impact on your productivity and overall wellness. Of course, the first thing you should do is visit your dentist to have that chomper checked. But if it’s nighttime or your dentist’s clinic is closed for the weekend, then some of these dentist-approved, at-home toothache remedies can provide temporary relief.

Warm Saline Rinse

If you’re experiencing other symptoms, like a fever or swollen lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck, along with your headache and tooth pain, then it’s possible that your toothache is being caused by an infection. If that’s the case, then you can temper the bacteria by swishing a saltwater solution in your mouth.

Mix a half teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Then, swish the solution in your mouth, making sure to target the area where the ache is emanating from. Inspect the area for signs of infection. Do the gums look red and inflamed? Are there yellowish/whitish patches forming around the gums? A salt-water gargle can be effective in addressing infections involving the gums.

Pain Reliever

Of course, one of the very first toothache remedies many people rely on would be taking pain relievers. These can temporarily soothe or minimize the pain you’re feeling, letting you function without the discomfort until you can head out to see your dentist.

Experts will typically recommend acetaminophen for children. For adults, it might be better to take something like ibuprofen or aspirin. When you do take a pain reliever, do not melt it in the area of the ache. This is a common “remedy” that doesn’t actually work and may even cause further damage to your oral health. Just down the pain killer as you normally would and wait for it to take effect.

Cold Compress

Cold temperatures can help slow down the blood flow to the soft tissues surrounding an aching tooth, helping to numb out the pain and discomfort, so cold compresses are good at-home toothache remedies. If the ache was caused by a physical injury and the area of your face on the side of the ache is swollen, then an ice pack can be very effective.

Press the ice pack gently against your face over the area of the toothache. Let the cold temperature seep through your skin and into the affected area. Avoid keeping the ice pack in place for extended periods of time to prevent damage to your skin, allowing around 30 minutes between placements to let your skin adjust to the temperature.

Peppermint Tea

The aromatic peppermint herb has been used throughout the years to treat a variety of ailments. While science would tell you that herbal remedies won’t pass off as a substitute for medical treatments, there are some benefits to using them for symptomatic relief.

Peppermint is widely used for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help soothe pain, like that caused by aching teeth or gums. To prepare peppermint tea, simply steep its dried leaves in a cup of boiled water for about 20 minutes. Cool it down to a consumable warmth and soak the area of your ache in your mouth as you drink.

Another way you can use peppermint would be to take a clean cotton ball and soak it in peppermint oil. Place the cotton ball in your mouth in the area of the affected tooth or gums and leave it there for up to 30 minutes. Replace as necessary.


Just like peppermint, garlic is a popular natural remedy used for different ailments. Of course, it’s not going to resolve the reason for your toothache, but it might be able to help with the symptom of pain. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, and this has actually been found to be a potent antibacterial agent. Aside from that, garlic also contains compounds with anesthetic effects, helping to reduce pain and discomfort.

To use garlic for a toothache, ground some up with a mortar and pestle. Aim for a well-crushed texture so the chunks become small. Add a little salt to improve the antibacterial effects of the mixture, and apply the final product to the affected area. Rinse it out after 15-30 minutes by gargling clean water. Reapply the solution as needed.

Keep in mind that while it might help with pain, it will leave a strong taste and odor in your mouth. If you’re having a hard time brushing your teeth because of the ache, make sure you use some mouthwash to get rid of the odor that the garlic might leave behind.

Final Thoughts

A toothache can be a pain in the neck—and more. Try relieving the discomfort you feel by trying out one of these dentist-approved, at-home toothache remedies. But remember: No do-it-yourself strategy will ever replace the real deal. Use these techniques for temporary relief, but make sure you visit your dentist as soon as you’re available to meet them.

Your toothache will call for much more than a saline-solution gargle and a garlic-and-salt scrub, and visiting your dentist can help you receive sound dental treatment that will relieve your toothache at the root.