5-Simple Ways To Slay A Toothache

By: Rosie Torres, R.D.H.

Did you know?

February 9th is National Toothache Day! It also happens to be The Feast of St. Apollonia (the Patron Saint of Dentistry) and it is also the day that the Hershey Candy Company was founded. Coincidence? Hmmm….

We’ve all probably had it happen to us at one time or another. Suddenly, there it is…a great big “OUCH!”  If it happens during the day or in the middle of the night, tooth pain can make the most routine tasks unbearable and falling asleep impossible. The American Dental Association recommends having your toothache evaluated by a dentist, but these are the best ways to get temporary relief until you can see a professional.

Here are 5- ways to slay that painful toothache:

*Please consult your dental professional for any of the following home remedies containing herbal ingredients if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any medical condition that might be negatively impacted.

1. Ice, Ice Baby

Apply a store-bought cold pack  to the side of the face where you are experiencing tooth pain for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat every few hours. No cold pack? Use a frozen bag of vegetables if you have one handy (just be sure to use a piece of cloth as a buffer to reduce discomfort).

Why does it work?

Applying ice to the area will cause the blood vessels to constrict, which slows the flow of the blood to the affected area, making the pain less severe.  The cold ice reduces swelling and inflammation. This method is especially effective if the toothache was caused by an injury or you have swollen gums

2. Treat your Toothache like a Headache

Over the counter Ibuprofen (i.e. Advil, Motrin or Aleve) is an anti-inflammatory medication. Follow the dosage recommendations on the label and repeat every few hours. Children and teenagers should take acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead. Acetaminophen won’t reduce inflammation but will treat pain. It is milder on the digestive tract and causes no stomach problems. If you choose to take aspirin (i.e. Tylenol) make sure you swallow it. Don’t place it on the tooth or gums. It doesn’t work and it might cause more harm than good.

Why does it work?

Ibuprofen stops pain signals and reduces inflammation.

3. Swish with Homemade Mouthwash

Saltwater Rinse:

Mix ½ teaspoon of table salt with 8 ounces of warm (not hot) water. Swish around in the mouth for 30 seconds and then spit out. Repeat as often as needed.

Why does it work?

Saltwater is a natural disinfectant that reduces inflammation and creates temporary pain relief. This remedy can also be used to treat symptoms of a sore throat.

Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse:

Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with equal parts of warm water and swish in the mouth for 30 seconds. Hydrogen peroxide is dangerous if swallowed so be sure to properly rinse afterwards with plain water. This remedy is not recommended for children.

Why does it work?

Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria, reduces plaque and helps to heal bleeding gums. It also relieves pain and inflammation

Just Gel It:

If you’ve ever had tooth or gum sensitivity during a dental cleaning, we may have put some “numbing gel” on your gums to alleviate discomfort. Benzocaine gel (sold as Orajel over-the-counter) can be applied to the affected area up to 4 times daily for adults and children over 2 years of age. Please note that Orajel is only intended for short-term use.

Why does it work?

The active ingredients relieve pain, kill bacteria, and help to prevent infection. It also has a pleasant cooling effect when applied to the affected area.

Clove Oil:

Apply a small amount of clove oil onto a clean cotton ball and either dab it on the affected area or bite on it. The clove oil can be diluted with a few drops of water if it seems too strong.

Why does it work?

Like Orajel, clove oil can reduce inflammation and numb oral pain. It contains eugenol which is a natural antiseptic that can sterilize oral wounds.

4. A Floss a Day Keeps Toothache Away

Along with brushing and flossing daily, regular visits to your dentist can help prevent all tooth problems, including toothaches. Schedule cleanings twice per year and make sure to go, even with a busy schedule. Remember, the best protection is active prevention!

5. Call us!

Most times we can see you in the office the same day and we are also open two Saturdays every month, so don’t hesitate to give us a call! Try to keep a written log of how often the pain occurs, its severity and when you first started noticing it. Along with a thorough extraoral and intraoral examination, X-rays are often used to rule out any signs of infection.

Call 212.246.8700 to find out more information or click here to schedule an appointment with Gallery57Dental. Follow Gallery 57 Dental on Facebook here!

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Posted in: Dental Care, Dental Emergency, Dental Hygiene, General Dentistry


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