woman suffering with toothache

How to manage your tooth ache

If you’ve ever suffered from a toothache, you’ll know just how uncomfortable they can be. There are lots of reasons why your teeth might be causing pain, from mild sensitivity to more severe dental issues. Here we’ll look at some of the best ways to manage toothache at home.

Identifying the cause of your toothache

Identifying the cause of your toothache will be the essential first step you take. Once you know where it is coming from, you can choose the best option to help you get back to normal.

Try some of these at-home solutions to toothache and see if it subsides after a day or two. If your toothache is persistent, arrange to visit your dentist. You may have a cavity or another dental problem that requires treatment.

How to soothe toothache at home

Here are some of the most effective ways to manage toothache at home.

Rinse with salty water

A salt water rinse is an excellent place to start if you’re suffering from a toothache. Mix some salt into a cup of warm water and swill it around your mouth for up to one minute.

Rinsing salty water around your mouth can also help dislodge any trapped food that’s causing discomfort.

Apply a cold compress

If swelling is causing your toothache, you might find some relief from holding a cold compress against the outside of your cheek. Do this for around 20 minutes, then take a break and come back to it. Cold helps numb nerves, and a compress like this can help.1

Apply clove oil

Clove oil contains eugenol, which is a natural anaesthetic that can help reduce any sensations of discomfort associated with toothache.2 Simply dip a cotton wool bud into some clove oil and apply it to sore teeth and gums. You might also like to mix a drop of clove oil with some water and use it as a mouth wash a couple of times a day.

Use over-the-counter treatments

You can relieve toothache with painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen.3 You might also like to apply a pain-relieving gel. Just make sure the gel you choose is for oral use.

When to see a dentist about a toothache

If you have a toothache that lasts for more than two days, or you can see that a cavity or cyst is causing your pain, it’s time to visit the dentist. Toothache often comes from dental decay, a cracked or damaged tooth, a loose filling, or an infection,4 and you’ll need a dentist to deal with these problems.

If the area around your neck is swollen or swelling in your mouth or throat is making it hard to breathe, go straight to A&E for assistance.

Maintaining good dental hygiene

The easiest way to avoid toothaches is to make sure you’re keeping your mouth clean. Good oral hygiene means brushing twice a day with good quality toothpaste, flossing, and using mouthwash to remove any sugar and bacteria from your mouth after meals.

Last updated: 6 July 2020

Dental Health