20+ Toothache Remedies For Pain Relief

If there’s one list to keep handy–this is the one. It never fails that a major toothache hits when it’s late at night and the dentist’s office is closed. Although only a doctor can definitively determine and cure the source of the problem, the following list of treatments & pain relief remedies should get you through the night until a professional can be visited.

SpoonI have plenty of helpful items listed, most are everyday, commonplace ingredients so there’s sure to be at least one or two in the pantry or spice cabinet available to be utilized immediately.

Important: Whether you are experiencing dull discomfort or a severe ache, there is a reason for it and it’s best to have it taken care of by a dentist as soon as possible. If it’s infected (gum area is swollen and/or face feels hot), don’t delay in getting professional medical care. These tips are merely intended to assist a person trying to get through a short period (day or two) until a professional can check things out.

Directions: Apply selected treatment directly to both the problematic tooth and surrounding sore gums unless otherwise directed.

Items instructed to chew or liquids to be swooshed around inside mouth, do so with the sore tooth and focus on surrounding area.

Take Care: Do not swallow liquids, spit out when done.

Master List of Home Remedies

  1. Salt Solution: Mix a heaping spoonful of salt in a small glass of water, swoosh around for as long as possible, spit out. Repeat at least twice.
  2. Cloves: An old timer’s remedy, rest a clove against the sore tooth until agony dissipates. Alternative: A drop or two of clove oil (careful, too much may be toxic) or make a thick paste of ground cloves and water or ground cloves and olive oil.
  3. Alcohol: Swoosh a bit of whiskey, scotch, brandy or vodka. A strong mouthwash containing alcohol can do the trick too.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide: Swoosh a bit of hydrogen peroxide. If the taste is too horrid, try diluting by adding a titch of water.
  5. Vanilla Extract: Saturate a cotton ball, hold in place. May also use a cotton swab dipped in extract.
  6. Almond Extract: Same method of treatment as with Vanilla (above).
  7. Peppermint Extract: Same as with Vanilla (above).
  8. Lemon Extract: Same as with Vanilla (above).
  9. Tea Tree Oil: Just a drop or two is all that’s needed. Also add some to a cotton swab and hold in place or add a few drops of tea tree to a small glass of water and swoosh around.
  10. Oil Of Oregano: Combine a few drops with olive oil (or water if preferred) and use to saturate a cotton ball.
  11. Apple Cider Vinegar: Soak a cotton ball and keep in place. Regular household vinegar works too.
  12. Ginger Root: Take a fresh chunk of ginger and carefully chew a bit (remember to focus on the sore tooth).
  13. Garlic: Take a clove of garlic, smash it and apply (settle inside cheek). Alternative: Mix in some salt.
  14. Peppermint Leaves: Chew on fresh peppermint leaves. Also try dried, just keep them in place.
  15. Potato: Cut a raw chunk of potato (skin off) and hold in place. Can also pound a piece of raw potato, mix in a pinch of salt and use the mash.
  16. Lime: Cut a slice or wedge of lime and apply, bite into it if possible to release some of the juice. Sensitive to cold? First bring the lime to room temperature if it was refrigerated.
  17. Onion: Slice a piece of raw onion and tuck inside cheek. The onion needs to be freshly cut (so it provides a bit of onion juice).
  18. Cucumber: Slice a piece of cucumber and hold over the sore area. If refrigerated, bring the cucumber to room temperature first (if sensitive to cold) otherwise a cool piece may be soothing. You may also incorporate a pinch of salt.
  19. Plantain: Chew up a fresh plantain leaf. If too sore to chew, switch to the other side of mouth. Once the leaf is macerated a bit apply to the troubled area and hold in place.
  20. Cayenne Pepper: Make a paste with cayenne pepper and water, use mixture to pack the area (including gum).
  21. Black Pepper: Use full strength or make a mix of pepper and salt.
  22. Baking Soda: Take a cotton swab and moisten with water, dip in baking soda (coat the swab really well with baking soda) then apply. Alternative: Make a rinse/solution by mixing a heaping spoonful of baking soda in a small glass of water, dissolve the soda then swish the mixture.
  23. Tea: Make a fresh cup of tea then take the used tea bag and tuck inside cheek. Careful not to tear the bag. The tannins naturally found in tea leaves can aid in numbing things.
  24. Ice Pack: Cover an ice pack with a face cloth or towel then settle over cheek where the problem is. Will help numb things. If that doesn’t work, do the opposite–a hot compress (not too hot that skin is burned).


  • If the discomfort is unbearable and there’s no dental office open, call the local hospital’s emergency room–chances are they have a dentist on call (for a fee).
  • Try gently brushing teeth and flossing–this might bring some relief.
  • If the side of the face is in anguish and it feels like you’re going to lose your mind (I’ve been there)–it could be a sinus infection or an allergy affecting sinuses rather than a dental issue (even though it definitely feels like it). Try a Herbal Decongestant Steam to break up sinuses, this might relieve things enough until getting to a doctor. Chances are a prescription for penicillin is what’s needed to clear up the infection.

Something I found that worked in the above, very painful, severe situation the last time it happened to me (I’ve had three occurrences so far):

  • Swoosh cool or room temperature water in mouth where the trouble is. Keep the liquid there as long as possible.
  • Once the throbbing starts again, spit out and replenish with a fresh mouthful of fluid.
  • Spit out and repeat as often as necessary.

I had to do this for about 4 hours straight one night until the dental office opened in the morning. The hurt was an unbearable, unspeakable, nerve pain. This was the only thing preserving my sanity, giving immediate and fast relief–unfortunately it lasts for only moments at a time. I ended up having a molar pulled but only after a round of antibiotics and a few days taking prescription pain killers. I’m not actually clear on what the problem was in that particular case, I think it was an abscess…I was in serious distress at the time and couldn’t see my usual dentist but I’m confident in the care I received.

What’s In My Medicine Cabinet: I now stock a box each of Extra Strength Anbesol (topical Anesthetic) and Maximum Strength Orajel in the medicine cabinet at all times. The brands aren’t what matters, both have 20% Benzocaine Gel and I found the ingredient helps dull this type of extreme nerve pain in the beginning stages before it blows up and you have to keep water in your mouth the entire time. It would also help relieve discomfort from an abscess in the advanced stages. If it’s 3 AM and nothing on the home remedies list above will work, running to a 24 HR Pharmacy is *well worth the effort* to go out driving to pick this up. They merely provide temporary relief, but there’s something about dental pain that is so intense and causes such severe distress that anything even minimally removing or easing the ache just a little bit is welcome.

I hope this information is beneficial and a quick cure is discovered that works to bring the discomfort to a halt, but please don’t ignore the issue and get to a dentist as soon as possible. Home remedies can help through the night, but problematic teeth and gums only get worse if ignored. Good luck!

Note: These are simply notes I have collected, they are not professional medical advice.

**Updated: Removed aspirin tips in case the warnings weren’t clear enough for some, better to be safe than sorry!

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    • wilma

    black pepper mix w/ salt works immediately…and even ginger too…both perfectly works very fast relief….

    • thea

    thank you everyone for such fabulous advice. After days of intense pain…taking too many useless tablets …trying benzocaine gel etc I found this site so helpful. I have tried vanilla extract…but found that mine was mixed with water and alcohol and only partially worked, then I tried lemon extract (just lemon extract & oil) and unbelievably the pain has decreased from a mind splitting 9 to a bearable 2 , fingers crossed for some sleep tonight,
    thank you all, xx

    • Lo

    Its 4:30am & this Orajel that I bought & applied about an hr ago isn’t doing me any justice at all. I’ve been up since yesterday morning with possibly the worlds most intense toothache ever. Dead serious. A cavity had came out in my lower back jaw & I have not been able to get to the dentist, & the pain just jumped from 0-98.5 within like 2 days, & was slowly getting worse.

    Taking very small drinks of cold water, swishing it around the infected area as long as you’d like, then either swallowing or spitting the water out helps to push the pain back down every time it starts to throb(if at all). Also/and drinking milk helps to soothe the pain greatly(try to avoid drinks with any amount of sugar or juice whatsoever). I did not have any vanilla extract as I see most commonly referred to, but I was fortunate enough to have the Garlic Powder. Having never had this issue or this amount of oral pain before, thankfully my last creation worked a MIRACLE.

    1) BARELY fill a cup with lukewarm water.
    2) Mix in a LOT of Garlic powder. Enough to make a thick consistency(a paste-like consistency has been recommended, but mine wasn’t quite that).
    3) However much garlic powder you used, mix in a little over 1/2 of that of salt, & about 3/4 of that pepper.
    4) Mix good with a qutip, & swab the gums & directly all over the areas of pain.
    For every time I spit that nasty sh*t out, I re-swabbed the area. Ended up completely swabbing the area a good 4 or 5 times.
    5) Dump the mix, & mix up a 2nd batch of JUST lukewarm Salt & Pepper water. (I didn’t use anything special, just table salt & pepper)
    6) Re-swab the same areas at least 2-3 times.

    On a scale from 1-10, my pain exponentially decreased from 14 to 0 within about 3minutes. Its been about an hour now & I’m still pain free, about to finally get some sleep.

    *Note- I found Alieve (1000mg blue tablets) & Tylenol 3 (in far separated portions) to help tame the pain intensity the best.

    • Molly

    Rubbing ice between the indez finger and thumb ( Fleshy part ) on the same side as the toothache for a few minutes helps greatly . I have done this before and it works . You may need to repeat this a few times but you will definetly get relief

    • Steph

    I’ve taken ibuprofen, kanka by blistex, salt water, and numerous other things that just weren’t working when I turned to google. I checked everything in my pantry and only things I had were whole cloves and ground ginger. I couldn’t use the whole cloves, but did try the ground ginger. It worked, but only for about 15 minutes at a time. It also burns (not in a bad way though). It is/was however enough to get me to sleep finally.

    • Stephanie

    I just tried the almond extract and it worked! I did the mouth rinse with an anti-septic mouthwash, the cloves and olive oil and the almond extract. The almond is about the only thing that worked. Bluh, one side of my head is hurting from migraine/trigeminal neuralgia and the other becuase of the stupid tooth. I’ll thankfully be getting some good painkillers next week, since I’m having brain surgery for the TN. I can’t take any ibuprofen though because of that. I’m miserable!

    • tara

    God bless you all! Jameson whiskey, swished it around for a few minutes and boom, pain free for the first time in 3 days. Maybe I’ll sleep now, thank you so much!

    • Cod

    I am suffering with toothache right now, I took the advice of many of the comments above and used Vannila extract and WOW can’t believe it’s working. I was going insane any if I was not bald already I would have probibally ripped my hair out. Thanks to everyone that commented and hlept me keep my sanity.

    • Jo

    I tried all of the above remedies for what seems to be a loose filling causing excruciating pain. The ONLY thing that worked for me was the clove oil, someone else mentioned it above, I have the Red Cross Toothache Medication Kit. I found it all Walgreens. When all else fails, try this, I found instant relief!

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