At-Home Remedies for Toothache Pain

A toothache is pain or soreness that you feel within or around your tooth. A toothache often signals a problem with your tooth or gums, such as tooth decay, gum disease, tooth abscess, or an impacted tooth. Tooth pain, however, can also be connected to an underlying health issue, so it's important to see your healthcare provider if you have this type of pain.

Although there isn't any scientific support for the use of toothache remedies, the following home toothache remedies are sometimes said to help get rid of toothache pain.

Woman with toothache
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

Clove Oil Compress

An oil said to possess pain relief properties, clove essential oil has long been used as a folk remedy for toothache. 

In a survey published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 2017, researchers surveyed practicing dentists in Germany and found that clove was one of the most commonly recommended plant extracts.

Some proponents suggest dipping a cotton ball in one drop of pure clove oil that has been diluted in one teaspoon of olive oil and place the compress beside the tooth. A patch test should always be done to determine if you have a sensitivity to the oil.

Like other essential oils, clove oil is very potent 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. Ingesting or absorbing 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 certain medical conditions shouldn't use clove oil. You can find out more about clove oil, but if you're considering using it, it's a good idea to consult your dentist or healthcare provider for guidance.

Garlic

A compress made with raw garlic cloves is sometimes recommended as a home remedy for toothache. In a case report published in Primary Dental Journal, 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 (skin sloughing and ulcers), according to another case report.

Apple Cider Vinegar

With its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, apple cider vinegar can kill toothache-causing bacteria and relieve pain. Simply dip a cotton ball in the vinegar and apply to the achy area.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve pain and swelling, and anti-bacterial properties that can clean the infected area. Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with lukewarm water, swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds, then spit it out.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can try chewing or sucking on a cinnamon stick, or making a paste by mixing one teaspoon of cinnamon with five teaspoons of honey and applying it to the achy area.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can help remove pain due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Try swishing one tablespoon of coconut oil around your mouth for about 30 seconds then spitting it out.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a great source of capsaicin, a compound that blocks the sensation of pain from traveling between your brain and nerves. Relieve toothache pain by mixing two tablespoons of cayenne pepper with a half cup of coconut oil, swishing it around your mouth, then spitting it out.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract contains vanillin, which has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as alcohol, an antiseptic that kills toothache-causing bacteria. Dab a cotton ball in vanilla extract then apply it to the ache to clean the area and relieve pain.

Green Tea

Green tea contains tannins, a compound that reduces inflammation. Try heating a green tea bag in water as though you are making tea, cooling the tea bag off in the fridge, then applying it to your achy tooth to ease pain and swelling.

Honey

Honey has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Relieve toothache pain and swelling by dabbing honey onto the achy area as needed.

Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is a natural antiseptic sometimes used to prevent tooth decay, and its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help relieve pain. Oregano oil is very concentrated, so you don't need a lot. Simply apply a small amount to a Q-tip and apply it to the ache.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it effective for relieving pain and healing infection. Using a Q-tip, dab a few drops of tea tree oil onto your achy tooth as needed to relieve pain.

Salt

Salt can reduce inflammation and kill toothache-causing bacteria. Make a saltwater rinse by combining a half teaspoon of salt into a cup of water, swishing it around your mouth, then spitting it out.

Using Home Remedies for Toothache Safely

Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider if you're considering trying any natural or home remedy to 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 extremely small amounts and shouldn't be ingested.

In a case report, a person used an oral rinse made of 3% hydrogen peroxide for over two minutes as a self-treatment for oral discomfort and had pain and extensive chemical burns and tissue damage on the gums and inside the mouth.

A Word From Verywell

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

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you relieve toothache pain when pregnant?

    A safe way to relieve toothache pain when pregnant is by using a saltwater rinse. Simply combine a half teaspoon of salt with lukewarm water, swish the mixture around your mouth, then spit it out.

  • How do you stop nerve pain in your tooth?

    Cayenne pepper contains a compound called capsaicin that blocks pain signals between your brain and nerves. Try dabbing a little cayenne pepper onto the ache, or mix two tablespoons of cayenne pepper with a half cup of coconut oil, swish it around your mouth, then spit it out.

  • How do you treat toothache pain ASAP?

    To treat toothache pain quickly, you will need to reduce swelling and keep the area clean. Try applying apple cider vinegar, baking soda, vanilla extract, tea tree oil, or another home remedy with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties to the affected area as needed.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sanders JL, Houck RC. Dental Abscess. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493149/

  2. Baatsch B, Zimmer S, Rodrigues recchia D, Büssing A. Complementary and alternative therapies in dentistry and characteristics of dentists who recommend them. Complement Ther Med; 35:64-69.

  3. Marya CM, Satija G, J A, Nagpal R, Kapoor R, Ahmad A. In vitro inhibitory effect of clove essential oil and its two active principles on tooth decalcification by apple juiceInt J Dent. 2012;2012:759618. doi:10.1155/2012/759618

  4. Kamkar Asl M, Nazariborun A, Hosseini M. Analgesic effect of the aqueous and ethanolic extracts of cloveAvicenna J Phytomed; 3(2):186–192.

  5. Sisson D, Balmer C. A chemical burn from a garlic poultice applied to the face to treat toothache: a case report. Prim Dent J.; 3(1):28-9.

  6. Bagga S, Thomas BS, Bhat M. Garlic burn as self-inflicted mucosal injury--a case report and review of the literatureQuintessence Int; 39(6):491–494.

  7. Rostami AM, Brooks JK. Intraoral chemical burn from use of 3% hydrogen peroxideGen Dent; 59(6):504–506.

Additional Reading

By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.