Until you can get to the dentist, one of the best things you can do is swish warm, salty water around in your mouth. A good mix is 1/2 teaspoon table salt to 8 ounces of water. Spit it out, don’t swallow it. You can also gently floss around the sore tooth to remove any bits of food that may be stuck.
Dentists suggest acetaminophen for children. For adults, take your pick of over-the-counter medicines, like ibuprofen. If you choose aspirin, swallow it -- don’t put it right on the tooth or your gums! That folk remedy doesn’t work and might harm the inside of your mouth.
If your face is swollen, put an ice pack on your cheek. It may help ease the pain, especially if you’ve chipped your chopper or knocked it loose. Swelling could also mean you have an abscess, a sac of pus and gunk deep in the roots of your tooth. This can cause serious infection in your jaw and other teeth. Signs include fever and red gums.
Apply these pain-relieving gels and liquids directly to the sore tooth and nearby gums. They contain benzocaine, which will numb your mouth for a little while. Beware: They’re meant for short-term use only.
Put some ice in your hand, on the same side of the body as your sore tooth. Rub the ice in the space between your thumb and forefinger for 7 minutes, or until the area turns numb. Why does it work? Researchers believe ice stops pain signals to your brain.
This natural remedy numbs the pain. Rub it directly on the sore area, or soak a cotton ball and dab it against the tooth and gums. It may be as effective as benzocaine, the numbing ingredient in over-the-counter toothache gels.
In this ancient Hindu practice, you swirl oil (usually sunflower or sesame) around your mouth. Does it improve oral health? A small study in India found that it can treat gingivitis, but the jury’s still out as to whether it’s a true toothache remedy.
When you crush one of these cloves, you release allicin, an oily liquid and natural disease fighter. Will it ease the ache? That’s not clear, but researchers say the oil has been used to help heal diseased teeth in children. Chew a piece of garlic, or place chopped bits on your tooth. It’s safe -- except, of course, for your breath.
There’s probably a bottle sitting in your medicine cabinet right now. Hydrogen peroxide is a common home remedy for dental problems. It’s not clear whether it will ease your toothache, but it’s a powerful, proven germ fighter. Be sure to mix the peroxide with water. It’ll harm teeth and gums if it’s used at full strength.
With a name like that, this might seem a sure bet to ease your symptoms. Different types of this plant grow all over the world, and the oil is an ingredient in many products. But it’s not yet clear if this plant really works to ease dental pain.