Natural Remedies for a Toothache

Ways to Ease Tooth Pain Naturally

Woman with toothache
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A toothache is pain or soreness that you feel within or around your tooth. Although toothaches are often a sign that there's a problem with your tooth or gums (such as tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abscess, or an impacted tooth), the pain can also occur when there is something wrong elsewhere in the body.

Natural Remedies for a Toothache

Although there isn't any scientific support for the use of natural treatments for toothaches, the following home toothache remedies have been used in folk medicine to reduce toothache pain.

1) Clove Oil Compress

Clove oil contains eugenol, a compound said to have pain-killing and antiseptic properties. The very limited research on clove oil for toothaches includes a preliminary study published in the Journal of Dentistry in 2006. In this study, scientists tested the pain-relieving effects of homemade clove gel and benzocaine (20 percent) gel. Results revealed that clove oil and benzocaine gels resulted in significantly lower pain scores compared to the placebo.

Some proponents suggest dipping a cotton ball in one drop of pure clove oil diluted in one teaspoon of olive oil and placing the compress beside the tooth.

Clove oil is very potent, however, and shouldn't be ingested, used in excessive amounts, or applied to broken skin.

Clove oil can increase the risk of bleeding and cause a rash, itchy eyes, or shortness of breath. A patch test should always be done to see if there is a reaction.

Large amounts can cause vomiting, sore throat, seizure, difficulty breathing, kidney failure, or liver damage. Undiluted clove oil used in the mouth can cause burning, tissue or nerve damage, and pain. Children, pregnant or nursing women, and those with medical conditions shouldn't use clove oil.

More about clove oil.

2) Garlic

Raw garlic cloves are sometimes recommended for toothaches, however, they pose a risk of burns. In a case report published in Primary Dental Journal, for instance, the use of a raw garlic poultice applied to the skin for a toothache resulted in a significant chemical burn to the face. Crushed raw garlic cloves left in the mouth overnight resulted in a garlic burn injury (sloughing and ulcers), according to another case report.

3) Activated Charcoal Compress

Activated charcoal is available at many drug stores and natural health food stores.

Mix two teaspoons of activated charcoal powder with just enough water to make a paste. Apply it to a piece of gauze and place the gauze on the tooth. Bite down.

See Activated Charcoal: What You Need to Know.

Other Remedies

Remedies that are sometimes said to ease toothaches include apple cider vinegar, baking soda, cinnamon, coconut oil, cayenne pepper, vanilla, green tea, honey, tea bags, oregano oil, tea tree oil, and salt. Be sure to speak with your health care provider if you're considering trying any remedy to be ensure that they're safe for you to use. Vinegar may cause burns, for instance, and essential oils such as oregano, cinnamon, and tea tree oils should be used only in small amounts and shouldn't be ingested.

Related: Natural Remedies For TMJ and Natural Remedies For Gum Disease

The Takeaway

While it may be tempting to try a remedy (or wait to see if your toothache improves), you shouldn't self-treat or avoid or delay standard care. Toothaches usually require medical treatment. Pain due to cavities can worsen, and some toothaches can be a sign of a condition that require immediate treatment.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

View Article Sources
  • Alqareer A, Alyahya A, Andersson L. The effect of clove and benzocaine versus placebo as topical anesthetics. J Dent. 2006 Nov;34(10):747-50.