Can You Treat a Toothache at Home?

When you’re suddenly struck with a toothache, floating ideas of home remedies may quickly come to mind. Whether you heard it from your great-aunt or saw it on Pinterest, at-home treatments are everywhere. Columbus dentist, Dr. Barry and Dr. Love can explain more about how to care for a toothache and when to come in for a visit.

Common causes of toothaches are infections, cavities, damaged enamel, a cracked tooth or an exposed root – all good reasons to get yourself to the dentist! Home remedies for a toothache may work for immediate relief, but they’re not likely to last long, and they may not be completely safe.

If you like using household ingredients for personal care, you may look into your own pantry for something to relieve the pain, but do your research prior to use–and before things get too out of hand, call your dentist to prevent worse pain or problems.

What Are Common Home Remedies for a Toothache?

The best-case scenario is some pain relief with a simple ingredient or treatment. Be cautious as even relatively harmless ingredients might irritate other parts of your gums and tongue. The most commonly shared tips for treating a sore tooth at home are:

Alcohol: Either in the form of whiskey or vanilla extract, alcohol can clean and kill bacteria that cause pain. It can also numb the irritated tissue. Alcohol is commonly applied directly to the sore tooth or via a soaked cotton ball left on the spot.

Garlic: Can kill germs that cause pain and inflammation. Usually applied by chewing a raw head of garlic or mashing it up and applying to the spot in pain.

Saltwater: Saltwater can rinse away pain-causing junk on your teeth and gums and can ease inflammation of tissue. Swish and gargle water with pure salt a couple times per day and be sure to spit it out when you’re done.

Herbs: Peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, and cloves are popular disinfectants that may also numb the area in pain for a short while. Do not apply herbs in essential oil form directly to your mouth because they are too strong and will only hurt you more. Try swishing a small amount in your mouth with water, or put a damp tea bag right onto the affected area.

If Something Is Really Wrong

As with many natural remedies, most of these would probably be best used preventatively. By the time you truly have a toothache, there is likely a deeper problem that needs to be fixed. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. To be relieved of pain and prevent further damage, treat the cause, not the symptom. Blood, swelling, discoloration, and persisting pain should send you to the dentist right away.

If you have a toothache, contact Dr. Barry and Dr. Love at Lifetime Dental Health in Columbus to make an appointment and get at the root of the problem. Be ready to report when the pain started and if it aches more or less at different times of the day.


Dr. Barry is part of a Columbus tradition of dental comfort and care. His outstanding education and training forms the foundation which enables him to treat all of your dental needs with confidence and trust providing the best care possible. Dr. Barry received his BS from Ohio State University in 1976, he also received his DDS from Ohio State in 1980. He is continually educating himself and his staff on the newest dental techniques and approaches in order to provide you with cutting-edge, comfortable, personalized, and antiseptic dental care. Dr. Barry is educated in the following areas – Reconstructive Dentistry, TMJ, Cosmetic Dentistry, Lumineers, Invisalign, Endodontics, Botox, Juviderm, Pediatric Dentistry, Geriatric Dentistry.

Posted in Dental Health, Patient Care