If you’ve recently experienced throbbing, aching, or sharp pains in your teeth, you may have found yourself seeking desperate methods for relief. Over the years, many home remedies have made the rounds when it comes to addressing minor tooth pain while waiting for a dental appointment. Knowing the “why” behind tooth irritation goes a long way in figuring out if a natural solution for a toothache will ultimately work in your favor. Point blank, prior to figuring out the perfect remedy for tooth pain, it’s important to get to the root of what’s causing your discomfort and the easiest way to find out what has your tooth aching is to schedule an appointment with one of the friendly dentists at Jefferson Dental & Orthodontics.
What Are The Potential Causes Of Toothache?
Minor tooth irritation can be caused from anything from having food stuck between your teeth in the lining of your gums (popcorn is a prime culprit when it comes to tooth pain from food) to a bacterial infection. Temporary gum irritation may be easily treated with remedies at home, however, pain that lasts more than a few days may signal a far more serious issue. In the case of the latter, a dentist appointment is highly recommended to rule out dental or mouth problems.
Why Is Toothache Worse At Night?
Tooth pain is unpleasant no matter what time of day it occurs, however, a lot of people find that their toothaches flare up when they’re simply trying to get a good night’s rest. Tooth pain worsening at night can be caused for several reasons, including:
- Tooth Grinding – Bruxism, or grinding your teeth, often leads to patients waking up with tooth pain so severe that it may even lead to severe headaches and jaw alignment issues. Because nightly teeth grinding occurs when you’re asleep, many people don’t even realize they’re doing it until they wake with significant tooth pain.
- Change in Blood Circulation – If your tooth hurts during the day, you may find that the pain takes a turn for the worse when you’re trying to sleep due to the change in blood circulation when you lie down. In the lying position, blood rushes to the head, allowing the increase in blood flow to place more pressure on painful areas of the mouth.
- Late Night Snacking – Does your sweet tooth come calling just before bedtime? Failing to properly brush your teeth at night means leaving that sugar to feed plaque and produce acid all night long. Too many occurrences can lead to cavities, excessive tooth decay, and gum disease.
What Home Remedies Really Work For Toothache?
Before falling into a rabbit hole of natural herbs and oils to cure tooth pain, it cannot be overstated that scheduling an appointment with your dentist is the best line of defense against tooth pain. A visit to one of the Jefferson Dental & Orthodontics offices may seem like a lot of trouble, but it is the only way to be certain of the cause of persistent tooth aches. That being said, if you’re looking to try your hand at curing that toothache at home, here are a few of the tried-and-true home remedies that are available.
Rinsing with salt water
A simple mix of ½ a teaspoon of salt and a glass of warm (not hot) water may be all you need to clear a minor toothache. Swishing the mixture around as you would when gargling can help loosen stuck debris and food particles that may be causing irritation. Salt water is also a natural disinfectant and can help to reduce inflammation that occurs with painful gums.
Hot or cold compresses
If you’re experiencing tooth pain that has been caused by trauma, you’ll most certainly want to see your dentist for further evaluation and treatment. In the meantime, using a cold or hot compress can help alleviate pain by reducing swelling and inflammation and constricting the blood vessels in your gums.
Clove oil is a home toothache remedy that has been used for centuries. It may seem a bit odd to use one fall’s favorite spices to treat painful gums, however, clove contains a natural antiseptic which makes it rather effective for numbing tooth pain and calming gums that have become inflamed due to irritation.
Ready to reach for the pills? Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication including ibuprofen (Advil®), acetaminophen (Tylenol®), and naproxen (Aleve®) are all approved to help reduce pain and inflammation associated with tooth pain.
As previously mentioned, lying down causes excessive blood circulation to the areas specific to your tooth pain. Sleeping upright until you can visit your dentist’s office may help ease worsening tooth pain while you’re trying to get a good night’s rest.
Hydrogen peroxide rinse
There’s a reason a lot of toothpaste brands tout hydrogen peroxide as an ingredient. It kills the bacteria that’s known to cause plaque…and an abundance of plaque is known to cause tooth pain. Hydrogen peroxide is also used as a healing agent for bleeding gums. Due to its strength, if you’re using this method as a mouthwash to help cure a toothache, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly diluted by mixing 3% hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water.
When To Get Emergency Dental Treatment
As with any pain, the spectrum may run from minor to major but there are certain symptoms that signal an emergency visit to your dentist. If you experience any signs of an abscessed tooth, for example, it’s important to seek emergency treatment right away. The following symptoms are ones you should be on the lookout for when you have a toothache:
- Red, swollen gums
- A fever
- A swollen, red bump in the mouth
- Blood or pus
- Throbbing pain
- Unpleasant or salty taste in the mouth
- Swollen face or jaw
- A broken or severely chipped tooth
If any of the above symptoms seem familiar, call one of our dentists immediately.
Truth be told, toothaches are, well, a pain. Sometimes it even seems like the pain worsens based on just how long you have to wait to get to the dentist. Hopefully, one of the home remedies we’ve mentioned can be of help while you’re waiting for your appointment. Once your visit is complete, you’ll be well on your way back to a healthy, pain-free smile.