A toothache or tooth pain is a pain in and around the teeth and jaws. Dental infection, injury, decay, or loss of a tooth are the common causes of tooth pain. Tooth decay is an infection due to loose or broken fillings. Receding gums can also cause it.
Jaw pain and toothache are very common complaints. There may be a severe pain due to hot or cold stimuli. The pain may continue for longer than 15 seconds after the removal of the stimulus. As the inflammation area increases, the pain also becomes more severe. It may also radiate to the ear, the cheek, or the jaw.
Other signs and symptoms of a toothache include the following;
- Pain with chewing
- Hot or cold sensitivity
- Discharge or bleeding from around a gums or tooth
- Swelling of the jaw or around a tooth
- Injury or trauma to the area
These symptoms may be related to tooth fracture, dental decay, or gum disease. Area of redness or dental decay around the gum line may point to the cause of pain. If you slightly tap an infected tooth, it may make the pain more extreme. This sign shows the tooth problem even if the tooth seems normal.
If the pain lasts for more than 2 days, it is best to consult a dentist instantly to have it treated. Till then, the following simple remedies made from ingredients commonly available at home may provide a temporary release from the distress.
1. A cold compress or ice pack
An ice pack or cold compress can help ease tooth pain, especially if a toothache is due to swollen gums or any injury. For example, an individual can try holding the ice packet or a bag of frozen peas against the outside of the cheek. It should be placed above the aching tooth for a few minutes.
The application of this treatment causes the constriction of blood vessels, thus slowing the blood flow to the affected area. This may numb the ache and reduce inflammation and swelling. If tooth pain lasts more than 1 or 2 days then consulting a dentist is suggested.
2. Peppermint tea
It may help to soothe tooth pain because of its numbing properties. Menthol gives peppermint its minty flavor and smell. It is also known to be antibacterial.
It is prepared by putting one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of boiling water and immersing for 20 minutes. After allowing it to cool, it can be swished around in the mouth. Then spat out or swallowed.
A little warm, wet tea bag can also be used. Held it against the tooth for some minutes until the pain reduces. As a temporary remedy, some drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball can also be placed against the painful tooth.
3. Saltwater mouthwash
Mouth rinsing with warm salt water helps to release debris stuck in cavities or between the teeth. It may help reduce swelling, increase healing, and relieve a painful throat.
A salt water rinse can be prepared by dissolving 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Then swish it around in the mouth for almost 30 seconds before spitting out. This course can be repeated as often as required.
Painkillers can provide temporary relief from pain for a toothache. Some medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used for this purpose.
Aspirin should not be recommended to children who are under 16 years.
5. Aloe vera
Aloe vera gel can be found within the succulent plant’s leaves. It has long been used to heal minor cuts and burns. Some people also use the gel to clean and relax gums.
Studies have revealed that aloe vera has antibacterial abilities naturally. It can kill germs which cause tooth decay. The aloe vera gel should be applied to the aching area of the mouth and then softly massaged.
6. Hydrogen peroxide rinse
Rinsing with a solution of hydrogen peroxide is very effective. As it is an antibacterial mouthwash, specifically used if a toothache is initiated by an infection. A great care must be taken while rinsing with hydrogen peroxide as it is dangerous if swallowed.
It is prepared by mixing equal parts of 3 percent water and hydrogen peroxide. Then swish in the mouth for about 30 seconds. After spitting, the mouth should be washed with plain water several times. A rinse of hydrogen peroxide must never be swallowed. Also, this remedy is not for children.
Cloves have many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can fight tooth and gum infections. They are a spice found naturally in the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. They have eugenol, which is a chemical compound. This compound acts as a natural anesthetic.
It is used by soaking a small cotton ball with clove oil and apply it to the painful area of the tooth. Dried whole cloves can also be used for this purpose. Lightly chew a whole clove to discharge its oil. Then hold the clove in place against the affected tooth for about 30 minutes.
Garlic has been used widely for many medicinal purposes throughout history. It comprises a compound named allicin. This compound accounts for its great antibacterial properties.
A garlic mixture is prepared by using a fresh clove of garlic. It should be crushed firstly and then mixed with some salt. The mixture then applied to the hurting tooth.
Thyme is commonly known for its medicinal benefits. It is a very effective remedy for chest infections, like whooping cough or bronchitis. Thymol, which is the main component of the essential oil, has many antifungal and antiseptic properties.
Adding one drop of thyme essential oil to a glass of water make a mouthwash. Another method is to sprinkle some drops of water and thyme essential oil onto a cotton ball. After water addition, press it gently against the hurting tooth.
When to see a dentist
These home remedies can provide only temporary relief. But, when a toothache lasts for more than a day or two, it is also important to look for instant treatment from a dentist.
If the dental pain is not treated, it can cause more serious problems, like a dental abscess or gum disease. An abscess is usually caused by bacteria which infect a dental pulp (innermost part of the tooth).
The best way to prevent a tooth pain or dental abscesses is by keeping gums and teeth healthy. This can be done by following steps;
- brushing teeth for at least 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day
- cutting down on sugary drinks and food
- using an interdental brush regularly to clean the teeth and under the gum line
- not smoking, which can make dental problems worse
- having regular dental checkups