Best Home Remedies for a Toothache

It can be hard to concentrate on anything else when you have a toothache. The pain can start as an annoyance and grow into an affliction difficult to ignore. If the pain is significant, it is safe to say that most tooth or gum-related issues will eventually require professional intervention. Until you can make it there, though, there are effective home remedies for a toothache you can consider.

Clove Oil

Perhaps the most well-known home remedy for a toothache is clove oil. You can this relatively inexpensive essential oil in most health food stores. However, because of the active ingredient eugenol, it can have similar short-term, pain-numbing effects as over-the-counter gels. In addition, because clove oil has properties of an antibacterial, it can be particularly helpful if your toothache stems from a bacterial issue.

To use:

  1. Apply a small amount of clove oil to a cotton ball or cotton swab and place it on the painful area.
  2. Be careful not to use too much or ingest any of the oil, as there can be negative side effects.
  3. If you don’t have the clove oil, chewing on a clove itself until the juice excretes can have the same effect.
  4. The flavor is very strong, though, so many people prefer to place the oil directly on the area.

Salt Water

Growing up, my parents’ solution for mouth pain was always the same: go gargle with some salt water. As it turns out, they may have been right. The salt in the water can help reduce swelling and cleanse the area. Plus, the taste is more forgiving than some over-the-counter options.

To use:

  1. Dissolve a teaspoon or so of salt in one cup of very warm water.
  2. Swish it around in your mouth for as long as you can stand it.
  3. After you spit, rinse with plain water.


Myrrh, which comes from the bark of specific trees, has been used for medicinal purposes in various cultures for centuries. It has properties of both an astringent and antiseptic, so it can help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.

To use:

  1. You can purchase powdered myrrh at most health food stores.
  2. Place the powder directly on the affected area using your fingers.
  3. Do not rinse.
  4. If using myrrh essential oil instead of powder, combine it in equal parts with peppermint or tea tree oil and swish in your mouth.


Another common and effective home remedy for a toothache is to apply a teabag to the affected area. Because black tea is full of astringent tannic acid, it can aid in the healing process while reducing pain. This method can also help reduce swelling.

To use:

  1. Try a black tea bag (preferred) or peppermint-flavored teabag (if you can’t handle black tea).
  2. Soak the tea bag in warm water and apply it directly to the painful area.
  3. Use a little pressure without being too forceful if your mouth is already tender.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has many household uses, and providing oral pain relief in a pinch is another one to add to the list. In addition, the peroxide can help kill bacteria and make you more comfortable until you can get into the dentist.

To use:

  1. Take a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide and combine it with warm water.
  2. Swish the mixture around in your mouth for at least 30 seconds.
  3. It is very important not to swallow any of the peroxides, as it can cause serious health issues.
  4. After spitting, rinse your mouth with plain water twice.


Ice reduces swelling on other parts of the body; it works on your mouth, too. If your toothache is accompanied by inflammation, try an ice pack. An added benefit is that the cold temperature can serve as a numbing agent on, especially painful areas.

To use:

  1. Wrap a bag of ice cubes in a light cloth and place it against the affected area. (If you don’t have ice cubes, try using a bag of frozen peas or something similar.)
  2. Using the cloth as a barrier between your skin and the ice will help reduce the shock.

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